Story 1977-02-12 Ottawa, ON
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12.02.77 Ottawa, Canada, intro to “It’s My Life”
“I grew up in this small town, it was about ten thousand people, it was about…twenty miles inland from the coast and I lived in this two-family house on this main highway in town…and my mom, she was a secretary, she used to work downtown in one of the office buildings and my pop, he was, uh, he was a guard at the jail for a while and he worked in a plastics factory for a while, sometimes he drove trucks…a lot of times he was just home…and I remember in the summertime…off my room there used to be this little room, I used to pull my mattress out onto the roof, sleep out on the roof when it was hot…and next-door to our house was this gas-station… it used to close up about one o’clock…and all night long just different guys pulling in (?) pulling off…I used to lay there thinking …soon as I was old enough…to get out myself…when I hit sixteen, me…me and this cat, we started going to New York City, looking for some jobs…used to work downtown, sometimes out in the Village… I’d stay up there till we ran out of money or till the cops proofed us in the Port Authority, sent us home on a bus…and I remember, I remember my pop, he used to…he used to shut off all the lights in the house around nine o’clock, he’d sit in the kitchen, drink a six-pack of beer, smoke cigarettes, my mom, she, my mom, she’d sit in the front room with just the TV on, watch the TV till she fell asleep, get up the next morning, go to work…and my pop, he used to lock the front door so that, so that me and my sister couldn’t come in around the front, we used to have to go in around the back through the kitchen…no matter what time we’d come home, he’d be sitting at that table in the dark waiting for us…and I’d get off that bus from the city, I remember I’d walk through the town…I’d walk through town again…I’d just keep walking around till I found myself standing in the driveway…and I could always, through the screen door I could always see the light of his cigarette in the dark, I remember I’d stand there and I’d slick my hair back real tight so he couldn’t tell how long it was…I’d step up on the porch and try to make it through the kitchen…if we didn’t come home, if it wasn’t too late, he might let us by, if we came home past midnight, three or four in the morning, or if I’d been gone for a few days, he’d wait till I hit the bottom of the steps till he’d call my name and…come back and sit down at the table…we’d be sitting there in the dark and he’d be telling me…telling me…as long as we sat there, I remember I could always…I could always hear his voice…but I could never see his face…he’d started off talking about nothing too much, how things was going, what I was doing at school…pretty soon… he’d be asking me where I was getting my money from…and what I thought I was doing with myself…pretty soon we’d end up…we’d end up screaming at each other, my mother’d end up running in from the front room and trying to keep him off me, trying to keep us from fighting with each other, I’d always end up running out the backdoor, running out the backdoor, screaming at him, telling him, telling him, telling him…how it was my life and I was gonna do what I wanted to do…”

Compiled by Johanna Pirttijärvi

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