Freeze Flame Productions Inc

Monday, July 19, 2010

Setbacks & Milestones: The Rizes and Falls

Part 4: The First & The Next

Let's take it back, in time to the old school... sort of, it was the end of the 80's and entering the 90's.  We were ten years away from the end of a century, back then nobody really thought about it the way we do now.  It had now been close to 5 years since my family had moved to Ontario from Alberta, I remember back then how my parents were and what they allowed me to do, in comparison to today's children and their parents, many of which happen to be of my age group.  Back then we earned our freedom, by doing well in school, or chores at home, etc... this allowed us to get away from the parental supervision and explore life in the neighborhood(s).

From the time we moved to Ontario we lived in a rented home in Mississauga, but we were very close to our grandmother on my dad's side, who happened to live in South Etobicoke, Mimico... right off the Lakeshore in fact.  When our family moved from Alberta, both me and my brother were sent in a plane back to Toronto to live with our grandma until the new house was ready, we also spent a short time with our cousins in Markham.

It was in Mimico, and being the older brother, that I was first introduced to the feeling of being unsupervised, although close to home.... I learned very quickly that I would have to fend for myself at times like this.  I learned that if I ran from a fight, they followed, and when you stand up for yourself many people will back down, or at least give you the respect you earned.  There was times, shortly after I learned to ride a bike that I and other neighborhood kids would disappear into the back alleys of Edmonton's West End, not knowing how far from home we really were, or remembering how to get back... it felt like hours, it was a taste of freedom, but also safety in numbers even for a little kid.  Mimico was probably the first place that I was able to get that taste for myself, Mimico similarly has many back alleys which I learned to navigate early to find my way home, out of trouble, anywhere I wanted to go.... the neighborhood felt huge for a little kid running around in the streets.

For those first few years in Ontario, Mimico is where I spent many weekends and holidays, where I learned how to defend myself and learned my way around... I learned the streetcar of Lakeshore/Queen, is was a long trip from one end to the other, and the first time I got off at the wrong stop I found myself in the middle of Parkdale... don't remember my exact age, but I paid a token my grandma gave me, somehow I got back.

It was in 1990, that my dad finally bought a new car, our first VCR as well as our first road trip, all the way to Florida - St. Augustine, Daytona, and Orlando, including Disney World.  Probably the first memorable trip into the US for me, it took about a day and a half to get to Florida... I don't think I slept much in the car. 

When the First Gulf war broke out, I found myself glued to the TV watching war reports...  we had traveled to Pittsburgh, PA for a hockey tournament with my brother's team... I found myself hanging out with the older kids for one of the first times that I can remember.  A few guys had invited me to the Mall, so they could have some fun, and shoplift a bit.... back then it wasn't even considered a crime, you'd get a slap on the wrist and they might have called your parents.  I was actually pretty good at it, I even learned some tips of how to pick pockets which was much more challenging... the real deal was yet to come.

Late one night with some of the neighborhood kids we were playing street hockey, when some guy pulls up in a dark car and asks the guys if anyone wanted to "pull a quick job" that night, not really knowing what they meant, I ended up tagging along for my first burglary, I had a good time, strangely enough.  It was both the first time and probably one of the last times I did anything in a group, we took all kinds of sports equipment and what not that we could find, I found my first small gun, wasn't loaded, but I kept it and didn't tell anybody.  The rest of the stuff ended up with other people to my disappointment.  I guess you could call that the first time I got ripped off. 

When I got back to Mississauga, I wanted to do it again... this time on my own to see what I could find.  We lived in quite an open door neighborhood for the first couple years, but people started getting more private and started putting up fences and changing the area to prevent the kids from doing much... By this time, our Grandma had moved in with us, she was getting close to 80 and starting to forget things.

In early 92, my family moved again.... closer to the school we went to.  They bought the house, so they owned it.  It was near the end of Elementary school for me, and we now lived in an older neighborhood around other people that we already knew from school and sports. With this move, I became more independent than ever, my skills at breaking and entry got really good, and I had a brand new area to practice on.

We lived in a little area, not really well off, but nice... this area was surrounded on all sides by really big houses of pretty rich people, they became a target for a whole new generation of criminal....  I wasn't really taking anything seriously at that point, I kept playing sports, but we were growing up and attitudes changed.  My grade 8 teacher was said to be one of the coolest teachers in the school, but there was a few instances where he was a complete dick to me, and turned me right off further education. 

It was late 1992, in November when my grandma passed away... it was a tough Christmas for the family, and one of my last.  I think it was a Setback for the whole family, but it really set me off in another direction.  I think I just shut off and started a crime spree, outside of my organized sports, it was an everyday thing by that point.

About a year later, I was in my first year of High school.  New group of friends, new school, and a sense that I could get away with anything I put my mind to... Sort of another fresh start...  

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