Diary • 22nd October 1993
• I was four when we left Brampton. I still refer to that apartment complex as the “red buildings”. My cousin Roman and friend Laco Dobis lived in the twin building next door. Taci worked in the local Veterinary office while mom was studying at Guelph University. At night Taci and I would go to Judo. As a second degree he would teach the students, and as a white belt I would participate in the warmup and then play at the back of the dojo. The summer before turning five we moved to Burlington. We slept at the Animal Hospital while our house in Tyandaga was being built.
• In September 1974, and it was my first day of school at Holy Rosary. Mom was with me, and our first stop was the Principle’s office (A room I would frequently visit during my elementary years). That first day of Kindergarten was traumatic. When I walked into the classroom all the kids were playing. But, I felt as though everyone already knew each other – as if I was entering the class in the middle of the school season. I was very shy and it took me a while before adjusting to the new setting. My first friend was Patrick Pongetti. He was quiet like me. Neither of us were interested in following the alphas. Our friendship lasted until we graduated.
• Soon enough I became a trouble maker. Partly due to befriending Danny Berris, who got under my skin on several occasions. I’m sure I pissed him off just as often. All kids fight and I was no exception. Kids can also be very nasty, and I didn’t take that lightly. My first report card said, “Gabriel is still hitting the other children”. Budding in line, and name calling were dealt with five-year-old violence. A receptionist at the Animal Hospital – and seventh grader at the time, Michele Cieslik – once told me that she watched someone bud in front of me in line, and I punched him.
• Mom told me that that I was a real trouble maker for the first few years at Holy Rosary. Most of those memories have faded but I do remember one event that ultimately put closure to that behavior. It was grade three and I was in the Principle’s office with Danny, and our teacher. Principle Butt lectured us on our bad behavior, and all the while I was wonder if the pending strap would be on our bare bums, or not. So the time had come, and Principle Butt did me the honours, and Danny got his beating from the teacher. While getting the strap I was surprised how lightly I was being hit. It didn’t hurt at all. When it was all over, Danny was whimpering as we walked back to the classroom. I remembered vividly thinking how stupid it was for him to cry, because it didn’t hurt. So what was he crying about? It was the first and last time I got the strap. And from that point onward Danny and I were separated in our seating arrangements. Anyways,… the pants stayed on.
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