You're just a lost boy, never keep your feet on the ground, You're always gonna fly away, just because you know you can... You're never gonna learn there's no such place as Neverland You don't understand, You'll never grow up.. You're never gonna be a man
Peter Pan. (Kelsea Bellerini https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmU0b8bxlG8)
[[ Pre-Note on the Video introduction: The "Tell" introduction was assuming that I was doing my usual exciting humorous adventure tale. This is Not that. This is instead a more serious - deep - reflective and search inside my self through the eyes of the little Peter Pan. Though there is humor, We are who we are because of the wonder and excitement and FEARS of child hood. ]]
The first Day after 4th grade was out, my Dad and Mom made me wear a "TIE AND JACKET" and i was Angry! They draged me into New York's Grand central TRAIN station, ... its chaos scared and silenced me, the shoving yelling people, women crying everywhere,
Dad pushed me up onto this train car. The car was full of -- boys -- just boys - no adults. I was probably the youngest one there, none were much older than me, at 10. I suddenly realized that we were moving, Turning and looking down, my Dad hadn't come on board. So I went and sat in the corner across from a boy with one dead white eye, i tried not to look. He was quiet, staring at me,
till he said "I stabbed my eye out with a knife".
.. I was terrified, abandoned, scared, alone, We pulled away from the station.
...... what had i done
What had i done
My mom used to say that I'd shake my crib, till I could take the bolts off of the rails and push off the side of the crib and escape...
That I hid my dad's bills and mail in books on the book shelf,
And I had an invisible Dog named Prince that would break lamps in the living room.
My mom thought that I was a cute little boy, but my Dad was a military type, executive at a large New York international firm and I was his first born Son. So he had GOOD INTENTIONS for me, and was probably a little worried about his little criminal..
I soon started breaking other more important things, bones, lots of bones... but not these bones...
.... in my defense we were the lost boys of Peter Pan, feet off the ground, head in the clouds and indestructible.
Playing knights I stuck my joust into the front spokes of my brothers horse (substitute bike), "oops there goes cracked a collar bone", , carving my sign in Tarzan s vine, snap oops crack there's a broken arm bone.
as Peter Pan I was dueling with a pirate up in the rigging of the ship when the branch broke, and down he went. But again in my defense he didn't know his leg was broken till he fell the next time.
Then one night my Dad took me to some meeting, middle of the week. There where tall men there talking to dad about how to "make men of boys and leaders of men" and that at the oldest boys camp in America they taught the principle of the "other fellow first". But I said I didn't care, didn't really want to go. But Dad had good intentions in mind.
Getting back to the neighborhood and my woods was what I wanted, I would run head down into the woods till I got lost, and then get home very very late to my worried parents..
Or maybe because i Chopped down a tree with an axe
... on church property
... with my friends still in it!
------ scared TERRIFIED ... ABANDONED
So HERE I was, COAT and TIE as The train rattled on out of the city, across the suburbs, and over the Hudson river and forests, on and on and on, After hours and hours on the train I fell asleep, then woke up, the train had stopped moving. Then the sound of the train engine pulling away.. leaving this one lonely car, scared boys Looking out the window, all I could see was a huge corn field in every direction.
I was Abandoned twice in one day,
Then in the distance we heard a low growl, or a grinding, something, something was moving .. our .. way,
I was scared.. again
Soon we were all herded onto an old school bus and driven down to the camp on the shores of Lake Champlain. When I was numbered "10077" we were walked across a huge field with brown log cabins that surrounded and overlooked lake Champlain.
It seemed a wonderful place,
But it was 8 weeks long, there was no time for home sickness though because we played sports all the time, ate lots, and had vespers and hymn sings, had to make our beds and do choirs. but there were no calls, no going home.
I was quiet and watched and studied the others, there was the leader who was on my case for it seemed like everything, a guy who jerked open doors and cabinets with a gusto/macho power. When one morning I was unusually fast at waking up and getting out of the cabin he slumbered over to his stuff and jerked the door open, and was crushed to the floor by the door which came totally off the wall on top of him. My name "OSTBERG!!" soon seemed to become a common camp cheer....
There was the opposing team in row boats that always beat us. We were loosing again till i winked at that a curious boy I had noticed in the opposing boat, smiled and nodded at the string tied next to home, he pulled on a string tied to the gunnel next to him, it pulled out the drain plug that had been substituted with a sticks, half way across it began to sink... and we began to win... "OSTBERG!!!"
And there was my favorite, a line of saved up bacon grease, from the woods up into our competing boy's cabin attracted a family of SKUNKS, when I slammed the door pinning them all inside it was great fun watching them all jump out the windows "OSTBERG"!!!
My Dad's good intentions did pay off though, 8 weeks each summer over the next 5 years, at camp...
- I grew up, grew more confident, and less angry.
- and knew that my friends, and God loved me for who I am.
But I never told my father before he died ...
that his young little Peter Pan, became a man.
- A young man who raised a family of 5 kids,
- has been married for 40 years,
- and who became a leader at the worlds largest robotics company.
I grew there at camp, and loved, fondly those camp experiences. Loved it so much that I sent my son there, not for 8 weeks each summer, and not by train.
I dropped him off and showed him:
- the archery and sports fields
- the boat house, swim point and the best fishing spots,
- The cabins I slept in and the places I played tricks on the other boys.
I promised to be there for all camp parents weekends...
And I hope that some day
... probably also after I've died ....
... he will be able to say "Thank you Dad for your good intentions"
(Told at Fugitive Productions, The Gallery, W. Acton Ma. 12/3/2017)
Thanks again to Byron for being my friend and Lost boy pirate, and all of the adventures we had in the tall ships in his back yard. I will never forget you.