It was 37 years ago last week that I first made the walk from my house on Chopin Ave. in Scarborough to my new high school.
I remember the day well. I was nervous about being a grade niner, but my sister had gone out with me to buy back to school clothes and I felt comfortable in my brown wide cord bell bottoms, bright red long sleeved T-shirt and Grebs.
It was that summer that my parents had finally allowed me to grow my hair long and it was dancing on my shoulders. Chicago was my favourite band at the time and 25 or 6 to 4 was the big hit.
It was 1970 and about the only thing you had to worry about at high school was whether you were going to fit in, be accepted and be able to handle any razzing you might take from the older kids.
I was lucky. When I entered grade nine my sister Nancy was in grade 12 and she was a bit of a babe so all the older guys treated me especially nice.
There was the odd fight at school after class but nothing extreme. A few punches would be thrown, a winner would be declared and everyone would be on their way, but never in a million years would it ever have entered our minds that someone could be stabbed at school, let alone be murdered. The closet thing to a weapon back then would have been the steel toes in your work boots but nobody would have had the stomach to inflict that kind of pain on another human being.
That's why I was so bummed out yesterday when I heard about the stabbing and murder outside Winston Churchill Collegiate Institute in Scarborough.
Churchill was my school, the school I described in the first few paragraphs. It's where I spent grades nine and ten before moving on to an arts school, Stephen Leacock in grade eleven.
But Churchill has and always will have a special place in my heart because that building represents a few benchmarks in my life.
It's where I met some great friends, friends I still have to this day. It was on the football field that I failed to make the football team but succeeded in getting drunk for the first time. It's where I gained the reputation for being a jokester by pulling prank after prank in Mr. Saba's math class and it's where I met my beautiful wife Delyse.
Winston Churchill was a wonderful place with wonderful people but most important of all, it was a safe place. It was school, so it was expected to be safe.
At this point I could go on and on about what's gone wrong with our society and how the profile of the people who commit these crimes are so consistent and how parenting has gone into the shitter and how teachers are supposed to perform miracles today, but I won't.
I can't be bothered. I'm too pissed off at what happened at my school yesterday.