As Desmond traversed through that Time/Space Continuum, he ramped up his training satisfying his obsessive compulsion thereby channelling his restlessness, today deemed ADHD. Luckily, his earlier missives weren’t adequately labelled including those erroneously stereotyped onto his ethnicity. Naively, in ignorance, he paid little to no attention to the biases; exclusions, omissions and/or blatant dismissals he experienced amidst the majority, which was unrecognized by all not being a part of his consciousness, as yet. All he surveyed was perceived according to his limited life-learnings of which he was duly unaware. And not solely to the North American restrictions levied by political ’n social populist constructs, via racial biases.


What was before him was properly managed without the benefits foreknowledge might have improved. He was able to train/practice 6days/week; unless, on the weekends where he and a growing group travelled to compete in open martial arts competitions! He continued to work nights, and took temporary side-jobs when/where offered, until time came for him to return to university which would take him away from his training base he had made his 2nd-home. He was also to take a similar job on weekends to supplement his cash flow, also returning to his training-base every other weekend.


Synchronistically, he was introduced to an affiliate of his instructor who resided in the university town where he was to relocate. He was able to study, train and keep the part-time job and visit his home-base for training. That repeat 1st year seemed to have flown bye, with the studying ’n campus life, martial arts training and part-time work. 


Desmond return upon successful completion of that school year and resumed the tournament circuit, train ’n work with some semblance of social interactions centred around the martial arts circuit that summer. He returned to where he’s won his first place as a novice martial artist, it being an annual event, and came away with another 1st place honour as top intermediate ranked fighter. This win was added to a growing number of honours to which he paid little attention of accompanying implications.


His mind was focussed on self-defence. His quiet ’n alone times spent visualizing as many variations of attacks with many multiple-defensive response options. He ate ’n slept scenarios to overcoming the assault that had caused him 2months in recovery. He hadn’t spoken much about it to anyone. He knew no other way but to fight through ’n minimize the after-effects of that near death experience. That experience was untoward and a novelty, and as there were no overt signs of ant outward injury lingering that time ’n rest would fix. Desmond was on his own in recovering in a world of which he was a microcosm. His intense training regimen, its successful results and transient manner gave no cause for alarm, as observed in the world he navigated. Miraculous was the aspect of his recovery, considering the extent and life-threatening aspect of the survived assault. 


While experiencing his summer processes, he prepared to return to the university for a second year following a similar routine of study, training, part-time work fitting in socializing/dating where possible, as his daring allowed. What he added were improvements in training and fighting experiences, noteworthy attempts in dating. Again, unaware experiences from his youth went unnoticed affecting all he processed. Expressed impressions among others, being alone within his own mind void of caring counsel, went bye affecting unknown dispositions of biases with unknown agendas.


Every experience was a groundswell of accumulated data to be excised decades hence. The university years of ’71~‘73 offered much requiring elaboration in spite of his accommodating sentiment amidst unknown environs.






11a. Bicerin at SOMA





Time came when Desmond enthusiastically decided to make Tae Kwon-Do a lifelong endeavour. Practicing suited his solitary personality, unknowing that it was in keeping with his childhood wanderlust nurtured in transiency. He looked forward to his learning and training sessions interspersed with his nightly duties at the night club and its goings on. He sought other jobs fielded by his mother and her connections founded on his late-stepfathers efforts to assist his growth.


Months later, during the summer months, Desmond was made aware of another tournament a 5hr drive north of the city. A contingent departed to arrive Friday night for an early rise to compete. Two or three cars of competitors of all ranks, he being a senior orange-belt at the time, accompanied by his instructor. Arrival and overnight hotel stay was without incident. All arose early to register, warm-up and begin competition which involved Form, specialized imaginary fighting movements routine, as well as face2face Fighting with a combatant from another fighting-style school. 


The competition began with lower belts, before going on to the higher belts that included the black-belts. All of Desmond’s fellow students were felled by their opponents from other styles and clubs leaving him the last one to be defeated. He fought 7 fights in the Yellow2Green-belt rank, before suffering a blow to his back, floating-rib area. The competition broke for dinner to resume the Finals in the evening. He ate and laid on the grass in the setting Sun with his adrenaline still numbing the injured area, which was a bonus.


The Finals resumed with demonstrations the likes he has never seen, in-between lower to higher belt competitions. Unbeknownst to Desmond, a fighter who went to the hospital was allowed to return in the semi-final round, and he was selected to fight him instead of another fighter. It was suspected, he being the under-dog and Tae Kwon-Do stylist, he would be easily routed and the Open Competition would remain Karate style dominant. That was not the case, as he routed the interloper. He felled the following two fighters to take the first-place trophy, remaining undefeated after 9fights and becoming his school’s first champion fighter in Open Competition. 


The results of that experience became the start of something for him as well as the school’s training method, as his instructor became aware of what had made Desmond’s application of his input result in his victorious day. This did not dawn on Desmond’s psyche, being only aware of maintaining his training regimen in going forward. The next morning there was a tightness in the lower left-side of his back, while they all readied for the 5hr return drive into the city, the school’s 1st-place trophy in tow.


On Monday, Desmond entered the school and readied himself to train. During the day his limited movements gave no indication of the severity of his injury, save for a slight tightness. Warm-up routines began without incident, until the side-stretching routine ensued. He dropped like a sack-of-potatoes, accompanied by a painful flash-of-light, unable to lift his arm and/or move. He excused himself from the rank in file, bowed off the training area, gingerly dressed himself then slowly limped home.


He was 2weeks healing, doing partial-training in the laundry-room next to his basement apartment, until such time as he ascertained his proficiency to be acceptable and would be welcomed back in his return to the fold. He ‘licked his wound’, recovered in solitude as he had done almost a year earlier after the assault that led him into this martial arts realm. 


The World at-large went about Its business, and Desmond knew he had to navigate the flow of Its currents however he might get caught up in It going forward. He needed to increase what he knew, learning through The Way …










And so it began. Desmond blindly entering into the next phase of learning how to survive. He felt sufficiently recovered to return to the job from which he received a trouncing, only to face a double-edged reception. Higher pay with attendant staffing amidst increased clientele. He had not considered connecting the dots from what was to what is. Nonetheless, he got into step and went with the flow catching up as best he could with the lead character who replaced him. Fact of the matter, he was replaced by three, one of which was scheduled only on weekends as the need arose.


Desmond was now one-of-three, and they were functioning like a well oiled machine when he crossed path the karate champion who set him on his next route. The Korean master instructor was accepting, cautioning him about his current choice of employment as being dangerous. He heard the caution but was undeterred given his living conditions, which included being unaware to the extent his ethnicity was plating a role in the job market. He was always able to work being willing to do anything unknowing these jobs were aligned through the efforts of his mother. She would make connections through her daily goings on then present him with the information.


On one occasion he foraged through the classifieds finding a job which resulted in him being one among many who were scammed out of a day’s wages. Being told at the end of the day, “This was a trial run, come back tomorrow.” Since he was told he’d be paid daily, he requested transit fare to return home and was told, “That was on him.” He walked what seemed like hours to get home, and never did return. Especially, since he was not informed where to meet. Word of mouth and his mother’s input was his guidance to employment, henceforth.


His training in Tae Kwon-Do began to which he was quickly enthusiastic, training six-days a week. Three within the dojang and three days on his own, reviewing and improving on previous days lessons. Unknown to him, the instructor must have seen his capability because in eight weeks he was to accompany a senior of his class to a open competition in Ottawa. The experience was an eye-opener. He had never been in such an environment. A multitude of martial artists from far and wide, all intent of competing by fighting and displaying their prowess from the varying styles in which they trained. He rediscovered a nervous trait from his childhood waiting in the wings to perform in a stage-production. He felt the need to pee repeatedly.


He joined the ranks of novices, some like him getting their first experience in combat in unfamiliar territory, under unfamiliar conditions. Fear filled, and desiring not to get hit by combatants much larger than he, there was no weight class during that juncture, Desmond faced the challengers as presented. He fared unsatisfactorily, in his estimation, since he lost his third fight and could no longer continue. Disappointed, but without injury, he returned to Toronto to resume his training with practical insights as a New Year began.





Snowed Walkway




Desmond began the second year of his intended return to university with the task of how to be employed so as not to unnecessarily burden his single mother coping with being recently widowed, two children entering adulthood and everyone still getting accustomed to each another in a foreign country. He’s had to deal with the mantle of responsibility from an early age, of necessity, while being inexperienced in the ways of maleness due from an absent father. However, he was not totally ignorant having gleaned behaviours through lessons in Christianity in tandem with insights garnered from the silver screen. He may not have understood their nuances and intricacies of goings on, but his unsullied mind absorbed what he felt was the role of the ways and means of being a good man.


Desmond was allowed the freedom to comprehend and interpret the teachings in the Scriptures, especially that of the role of Jesus Christ. Through those lens he chose to see, select and interpret what he considered the best characteristics of being male. The screen added good biblical male characters. Of course, those whom he felt were less than favourable in accordance to lacking kindness, gentle-manners and honour he chose to let go absorbing into his mindset. There were numerous personality types, some he recalled as he grew while others he simply subsumed into his demeanour. Many characteristics were modified according to reality and context, even into his adult years.


A major characteristic he had to modify occurred after his untimely, unexpected assault. During the two-months recovery period he reflected on what occurred. The most daunting was the fact he felt at a loss as to what inspired/motivated his attack? The known excuse of him getting hired to replace his attackers, and them calling him the ’N’ word overheard on the telephone, did not make any sense. 


What his mother said in response to his query while driving from the hospital’s emergency room kept replaying in his mind during his recovery.


Desmond had asked her about the rationale of his attackers? She in her calm way replied, “They didn’t go to the same Sunday School as you”. It gradually became clear the values he placed on his human exchanges were not in synch with others, especially that of friendship. He recalled an assault a year earlier with two other companions who disappeared into the gathering crowd during his attack and his subsequent encounter with a police officer. The experience was made worse, but not critical, learning their Jewish heritage was a factor of non-involvement being the 70s. His “Tale of Two Cities” model/principle of friendship, albeit admirable, was idealistic. He was being taught the actuality of the biblical parable, “of not throwing pearls among swines”, actual empirical data.


Desmond returned to work, informed of changes which included an increase in salary and having two stalwart doormen as support. His ‘bouncer’ moniker was upgraded to ‘doorman’, although the function remained the same. These fellows were bigger and stronger, but he was the essential resident diplomat. His skillset was decidedly needed the way these fellows conducted themselves. He was the scalpel and they the hammers, according to their overall conduct. The crowd had grown massive, a selected few in the line were accorded ‘favours’ to circumvent qualifications on entry which he elected to ignore being unwilling to participate, in spite of being a practice accepted as the norm.


One a fateful night an entourage of martial artists were in the lounge and he was asked to survey the atmosphere, in case trouble might be feasible. As it turned out in the centre of the group was a martial arts champion with whom he was familiar from his earlier school days, as well as being friends with his sibling. On discovering this, and observing the way the club scene was evolving, Desmond inquired as to where this active martial arts champion would recommend he begin training to develop a similar skillset, since he was to continue working in this venue. To his surprise, the champion suggested he see a Korean stylist with whom he had recent exchanges. He interpreted the recommendation to be based on admiration. The back-story to this recommendation Desmond was not to know until a later time.

Two attempts failed; but, eventually, Desmond met with this instructor and told him of his desire to develop a skillset motivated by recovering from his assault and of current employment status. His occupation being at night, it was agreed his training was to occur during the daytime, three times per week. This meeting was pivotal for the two of, but each were none the wiser. The benefits incoming were to be reciprocal in unexpected and unusual ways.

This was Desmond’s introduction into the world of International Tae Kwon-Do Federation martial arts. It began with two noon classes per week, a Saturday practice session, with him adding three days per week at-home review sessions to cement what he was taught on previous days. Of course, added motivation came from the life-and-death experience occupying private/intimate moments, waking and sleeping …





23. The View Above the NM




Nothing ever stands still, even what’s apparent entropy. Desmond experienced the withdrawal of his father’s presence after his 2nd birthday, which was followed by a necessary 5yrs absence of his mother around his 8th birthday. The formative years continued his transiency in dwellings, different locations within five years. The fifth and final year was unexpectedly spent in his father’s family home. At the end of that year he and his younger sibling emigrated overseas, his first time aloft in an aircraft where he noticed there were no dividing lines below on the earth’s surface, as marked on geography maps in his textbooks. 


He survived certain Life Lessons, navigating by Chance and Good Luck, to spend his emergence into adulthood addressing other Life Sentences by the seat of his pants unbeknownst to onlookers and family alike who were in similar boats on the roiling Sea.


His occupation was affording him some financial support while acquiring his bearings with the loss of his step-father, the onset of his mother’s mourning and his younger sibling’s living conditions to which he was mindful semi-consciously. They had lived together all her life, except the year away at university, and they were coming to terms going forward through growing pains, under-prepared.


They were simply sharing in the Life they were gifted figuring out what to do in Time. His portion of Life saw his decision to forego the seminary, albeit a choice, landing him in an environment without the necessary tools of the street. He did possess a sense of being which accommodated his populated environment kindly. This is not to say every inhabitant reciprocated his sentiments. The lads whose jobs he was given had a debt-to-settle.


After months of a 6day week, without a day off, he was allowed to unwind with a night-off while a larger built bus-boy took his place. He did not know this could have been his swan song, but Life had other contributions. While he was away, those fellow with a debt-to-settle came to set him straight on what the business of ‘bouncing’ was all about. Sad to say, he had his night off and they were not to be denied their desires. They proceeded to ‘tune-up’ the bus-boy/bouncer of which he was apprised the following Monday night.


The social/cultural group to which the bus-boy belonged were tightly knit, kin in sentiment, to which Desmond did not belong. Not only did Desmond not belong, the society placed him and those like him as secondary, historically sub-human. What occurred with the bus-boy deserved redress by their psychology. This was an unknown to Desmond, who went blissfully about his duties while being set-up for an fateful encounter which took place on a specified evening after closing.


Going up the stairs, his mind went blank and he faltered; feeling a loss of breath. It was an odd sensation which was doubly strange upon exiting. Out on the street a crowd gathered on both sides of the street. He ignored them getting onto the back of the motorcycle of his newly hired partner-bouncer, after the bus-boy tune-up. As the bike took off he was grabbed from behind and punched in the face by one of the two whose job he took.


They were banned from the premises for their tuning-up session on the bus-boy, but this didn’t preclude them colluding with the enraged staffers needing payback for what had happened on his night off. They were told of the night they were to find Desmond unaware and unprepared that he may be ambushed, as was the bus-boy.


Desmond kept asking for what reason he was being attacked between the 5punches to his jaw. Getting no satisfactory answer he decided he ought to fight back, at which time his first attacker appeared to no longer be interested in continuing his assault. However, by this time Desmond was ready to have at it as he was backing off. This was not the case with his companion, who Desmond learned later had brought two others, just in case they had misread his capabilities of the crowd-control. Turns out one of these others was armed with a knife.


As luck would have it, the one who attacked from behind caused Desmond to slip hitting his head upon the curb rendering him unconscious. Desmond was to learn that a stranger tried to intercede and received a crushed cheekbone for his efforts, while he was being kicked in the head, in his unconscious state. It was during this continued attack the staffers interceded fearing he could be killed and they were unwilling to deal with possible legal fallout. The crowd dispersed, and Desmond was left unconscious just shy of the middle of the street. 


Regaining a semblance of consciousness as he was being lifted into the back of an automobile by two good-samaritans, he was taken to the nearby hospital emergency for attention. The police came and took his statement, while his mother was called, she being a nurse at another nearby hospital. Prognosis, severe trauma, massive concussions requiring lengthy bed rest and observations for the next 72hrs.


Desmond was bedridden for one-month, adding being housebound for another month. He was a while getting his bearings and mobility on track. Undaunted, not to be dissuaded by the ambush, he returned to retrieve his previous employment ready to resume the position which had quite a few changes instituted during his absence.  


Desmond had surpassed, in retrospect, what may be deemed his initiation into the Life he desired to know if he was to resume his abandoned path in the clergy.









Desmond had no idea his life was to journey down the path he was on. He was surviving what was labelled a ‘broken/dysfunctional home’, as well as ‘neglect and abandonment’; now, for its time, a monuments failure that was to tailor how his future would proceed. His saving grace was his mother, the one who had to bear the brunt of her choice to leave him to the elements of Life in a colonized land of the 50s. If the choice was deliberated for too long he would not be where he was, with the challenging opportunities that abounded.


Here he was, at the ending of the 60s, and incoming 70s, without a clue of how to plan a path, save one of surviving day-to-day. He departing for a place of higher learning only to return unsuccessful to reside in unfamiliar territory, and with a step-father. All were welcoming, and he went with the flow as he had learned during childhood.


Through the fortunate connections of his step-father, an inheritor of colonization making his way forward with the opportunities afforded him, he was to secure jobs with very little opposition. The phrase, “It’s not what you know but who you know”; better yet,  “Not who you know, buy who knows you and will speak on your behalf” is most beneficial in Life. There is another part, but later for that.


During that first year, Desmond, because he was industrious and willing, was able to pick and choose jobs secured by his step-father. Of course, being ignorant of the Workings of Life through his transient past, he never truly clued into the wherefore and whys of these opportunities. Unfortunately, before he was able to learn such things Life threw another curve. His step-father began and lost a battle with the big ‘C’, and succumbed to it within the year after he’d returned from his university experiences. The path down that road was unexpected and unfamiliar, but he adapted supporting his family, as best he knew, doing what was required until his step-father’s Life passage ended. 


Thus, began the grieving phase for his mother and sibling, and the way forward in the Canadian diaspora if the 70s.


Needless to say, the intended return to university was delayed for another year finding work as best he could, possibly with atmosphere remaining of his step-father’s reputation aded to his mother’s aptitude for survival along with his. Desmond gained occupations that had potential for careers into the future, but his penchant for ‘change’ at the slightest hurdle saw him quitting and moving on. Fortunately, he was willing to do anything that would pay-a-wage. Even if it was taking on two part-time jobs to keep going, it wasn’t a problem. What benefitted him was the fact there were folks about unwilling to do jobs they felt was below their qualifications which allowed him access. His only qualification at that juncture was his willingness to do honest work!


After a set to at a good paying job as a surveyor, he noticed and accepted his one weakness, at the time. He was unwilling to work outdoors during the Canadian Winter! The job’s set to was mollified, but he felt the sting of Autumn flowing into Winter and submitted his resignation before that Christmas Holiday. He recalls looking out onto a crisp blanket of freshly fallen snow at Zero F, while cozy and warm on the inside of the family home. However, his job status had never left his mind. He needed to secure a job that would bring in some money, and not let the full load fall onto his mother.


He was able, through unforeseen circumstances, to acquire a job obfuscating the truth, just a little. He became the doorman, euphemistically called a ‘bouncer’, in an establishment now extinct. He became the sole law-keeper, as he was called. Actually, they called him ‘Sheriff / Marshall’ being the lone peace-keeper, which was required since it accommodated bikers, civilians and university students. One rule, “no fights on the premises”! This rule went over well, since no one wanted to be barred from ‘The Embassy”, a place which had a unique ambience. 


This was a successful turnaround for his employer, and the clientele’s comings and goings. For the two previous employees whose job he now occupied for less than their combined pay, not to mention creating a more cordial atmosphere, this would not stand. Something had to be done!





Peaceful Co-Existence?




Upon graduating high school, before leaving for his probationary higher education setting, Desmond  felt painful leaving behind what he felt was the beginning of a loving relationship. This was a pattern throughout his life into his present. Either he was left behind, or he was leaving another behind never to be seen again. There was a lack of information filling the gap between the parties and neither was aware of the reasonings involved that was to enlighten them both.


So, off he went into another unknown to navigate the conditions wending his way forward. It was on campus his eyes began to open about so many things his life thus far was unconcerned, and/or left for Time ’n Circumstance to illuminate. One such illumination, which was to have impact later on post-graduation, was his introduction to First Nations peoples. Upon meeting his a ‘Canadian Indian’, his first, he was tasked with realigning his construct formed by comic books he’d read during his formative years. He was unaware of the racial divide shared in spite of the incident where his recent acquaintance was carried back across the border to the university, with a knife stuck in his back!


Not being one to favour any particular ethnicity, Desmond found himself among many groups who favoured their own, yet accepted pioneers among them so that they learned and expanded their construct amidst their academic learnings. Cafe entertaining, bridge ’n chess, and attending a few select courses augmented what was coming-of-age amidst the sexual revolution in a naive fashion. Being mild-mannered, he was found to be approachable and non-threatening to those who felt the urge to adventure off-their-reservation, outside their cultural boundary. Of this he was unaware. There was an occasion when he’d spent an entire evening with an amiable paramour, who afterwards sobbed woefully refusing to tell him what moved her so?


It was a costly, yet wonderful year that he felt was worth the price of admission. But, this was the tip of the iceberg in a sea of icebergs yet to be discovered! The year ended, time for him to return to his home. Surprisingly, his home had been relocated during the time of his absence. A step-father as well as a new dwelling were additions to navigate and comprehend. This he accepted in stride, nothing new in the grand scheme of things the way Life has treated him. He had much to process, and this occasion he added to the sack he’d been carrying with the others.


What was an immediate concern, with this addition? He was unsuccessful in the completion of the terms of his probation and was to spend one-year out-of-school before being allowed to return. He was also on the hook for the student loan he’d amassed, so finding a job amidst the melee of goings on was a priority! What to do, and how to do it going forward?





Kissimmee Stn.




Desmond overcame a few obstacles in getting into first year university, but that just a continuation of what he was unaware ongoing and oncoming. Fortunately, he was surrounded by kindly folks who buffered harsh realities he hadn’t noticed nor had he learned. He was ‘playing in the fields of the lord’. He was getting a Life education amidst an academic setting. Although, he was often unaware of female attention his libido was not averse to approach his interests in spite of shyness. Being under the influence of alcohol, of which he was an initiate, his efforts fell short of acquisition and was accepted with humour, by reactions he witnessed the following mornings on those occasions.


The cultural/ethnic diversity of that small university made his goings easy in spite of being across the US border. He had made new friends of First Nations and those of other geographic regions who had more unfortunate experiences.


The world around had a way of being most unkind, and he had chosen to find out, learn of its ways after turning eighteen. He had made a mental note which he had not known was to materialize in ways that challenges Faith as well as surviving. One morning when his mother entered his room announcing it was time to go to church, he went under the covers while responding his refusal to go. Her action was as surprising as his response. She turned about and left, closing the door behind her. He wondered what was in his tone that made her not argue or debate his reply? Laying there, he mused on his decision in keeping with his reasoning for not going into the ministry she had expressed as a desire for him. He felt before leading a congregation he had to know about Life, and It was something he had little to no knowledge considering his earlier life.


Well, he was getting a fine introduction into the goings on of Life from an insular environment, a good thing too. The first of his getting wet was an on-campus sit-in protest. Desmond has been pulled into a scenario to support a very popular professor who being let go just before acquiring tenure. Desmond heard, and agreed with their position, then found himself in a barricaded building where the protest was actuated. The City police was kept off-campus understanding the Campus Security would manage the situation. 


What exacerbated the situation, and was a curiosity to Desmond’s mindset, was that fellow students fell into camps of opposition and support. The campus was divided! It was jocks against liberal arts. The jocks were willing to take up arms, baseball bats ’n clubs, break into the building and bash heads. How this erupted was beyond him, but the occupiers were determined in their belief of support for someone being mistreated, while the jocks saw it simply as a contract negotiation. Both having their perspectives, Desmond thought, but acts of violence was not the Christian Way, this being a former religious college and the major belief of its population. Something for his religious positioning, as he had inadvertently spoken as a learning point.


Fortunately, conservative and intelligent minds prevailed. The jocks were obstructed, a compromise was attained, the sit-in ended and we exited the building no worse for the wear save a mental note of irrationality of those around you considered friendly, who easily and quickly turn into enemies. Luckily, Desmond still had his a cappella gig at the campus cafe, along with the odd social events. One occasion saw him over-indulging in homemade Italian wine drawn directly from barrels in the resident’s basement, and him attempting an amorous engagement with a willing co-ed. 


Alas, too much wine averted coitus and cuddling into slumber resulted. The next da in the campus cafeteria, he received endearing appreciation from onlookers giggling, patting his shoulder and stroking his neck on passing. Mutual affections abounded that year in spite of missed coitus opportunities. The news across the border kept things in perspective, the plus side being the Tiger’s winning the Pennant. As Sinatra once sang, “It was a very good year”.






In the Park




During that auspicious 1st year attempt at higher learning in the University of Windsor, Desmond was to drift through many cultural, social environs and experiences he never knew existed, which began to take shape upon registration.


Having eventually secured adequate residence, his social life ventured into various arenas beginning with co-eds willing to teach him the basics of bridge and chess. He couldn’t get enough of these games playing them every chance he got form during classes he no longer attended, as well as before and after classes he did attend. He took advantage of the newly built sports arena, attempting to make the track and field team for which he was under-prepared. Having spent the previous 5yrs in high school without adequate coaching, going only on raw talent.


Most days he could be found on the track running, then in the sauna ’n olympic-size swimming pool which occupied 3 – 4hrs of those days. Little did he know he was being observed by others, co-eds of various ethnicities taking a liking to him. This was the sixties, the onset of the flower-power movement and open-sexuality. He was to experience adventures for which he was unprepared, not to mention did not recognize or realize had a bearing on his ethnicity. There was also that incident of his accidental entry into the swimming pool with his bathing suit on his shoulder!


He did have his eye on one he had no chance of being with, except taking advantage of the Valentine’s Day Kiss offered. He made certain to get a kiss from his secret-crush, yet missed out on one who wanted him which he realized only after passing by her, and was too shy to return to make amends for the slight. There were many such oversights of which that Valentine tradition was one.


Desmond had unexpected, intimate encounters biased by fantasies watching Hollywood Movies. He entered into each encounter feeling he’d met a life-partner only to experience confusion and clumsiness, both feeling uncomfortable in not knowing what was to follow. Nothing! Each encounter was never repeated and neither party crossed paths again. Upon discovering the coffee shop, he expressed his longings in song which the audience felt and appreciated in reference to their own longings.


On one occasion he took it upon himself to venture into the on-campus pub. There he proceeded to drown his sorrows in gin ’n tonic. How many he consumed is still a mystery; suffice to say, he was unstable as well as unsteady. Solo, he proceeded to the bathroom and proceeded with a process most unexpected. He threw up and defecated in turn, and was unable to exit the stall. So, there he sat leaning against the side of the stall and fell asleep.


He was awaken by a recognizable voice, a source who also recognized him by the tennis shoes he was noted for wearing. “Desmond, is that you?” Desmond replied in the affirmative and was told to open the cubicle door so they could retrieve him. This they did, and he washed his face while they allowed him to adjust, adopting his surroundings. They agreed fresh air was paramount and decided a stroll down by the river was in order. Along the way, Desmond fell into despair and began bawling uncontrollably. His associated told his partner to let him be, because he’d been there and the cry was what was required at that time.


Emotionally spent from the crying time, Desmond was accompanied to his dwelling. He bid his rescuers a good night/morning. They departed, and he went in downstairs, and slept into the day energizing for upcoming experiences. One of which had implications he was not to realize until decades later!









Desmond, having survived his truculent childhood, emigrated to Canada of the early 60s to reunite with his mother and other matriarchal relations. He made it through turbulent adolescent years and transitioning into adulthood arrived in university inadequately prepared, but open to whatever laid ahead.


He acquired suitable lodging with the aid of a classmate, discovered he was in the wrong program to study and obligated to a Student Loan Program, he thought. Working through the panic which assailed him he elected to stay in the program he believed to be a life-sentence, not knowing options available. His year began by attending classes he felt manageable, two being Religious Studies and Drama.


He made friends easily, it being a small university recently being renamed from its previous nomenclature of Assumption College. A few of his new mates were from Toronto, others from Quebec, Kirkland Lake, Chatham-Aylmer and the other surrounding areas of Windsor, Ontario and his first Nigerian. It was during this time he took to learning two new games which were to be mainstays going forward. These games were Bridge and Chess, and learning to play them kept his mind from his calamitous situation.


Being shy he had haphazard forays into sexual intimacy that he’d not considered because of his religious upbringing. He had been influenced throughout early childhood by the institutions of Anglicanism, Baptist, Catholicism, Church of God Saints of Christ, Methodist, Seventh Day Adventist, being christened a Protestant in the Presbyterian sect. His immortal soul required saving, and the matriarchs saw to it there were ample opportunities for that to occur. His propensity for art and interest in aviation, it was suggested he consider being a flying missionary.


Long before attending university, had had been a member of his high school’s religious club and was seen to cruise through 60s Yorkville Village with a bible under his arm. Of course, this was not visible in his demeanour save giving him a calm facade that co-eds may have found attractive, because the opportunities abounded and he missed more than he was able to allow himself to experience. One of his school mates was a fellow football player who made it onto the varsity team, while he chose track and field. His choice was based on the belief his size made him unsuitable. As it turned out he may have saved himself from harm, in spite of there being no attention given him by the varsity coach of track and field for the same reason. 


There was one asset he hadn’t counted on which gave him notoriety and calm, which was his ability to carry a tune. This skill he’d discovered during his senior year in high school, with the initiate of a classmate and musical director. He attended a coffee house on campus and was supported to going up sing a song. This he did, ‘a cappella’. To his surprise all his solitary teen angst expressions gave way to applause and call for more. He became a sought after regular with requests because of his crooner song choices.


A highlight of Desmond’s unsuccessful academic year occurred when visiting students from Wayne State University in Detroit heard him sing and requested he visit and perform a set in their campus coffee house. He agreed, they came and picked him up and took him across to their campus. With the exception of a Custom’s Officer making an issue to make certain he wasn’t a draft dodger attempting to sneak back int the country, the evening went well and he was returned unscathed to his residence on campus.


The year came to a close with only the aforementioned events giving him time to sort his emotional and mental state going forward. What was ahead was beyond the scope of his imagining, except he was preparing to tackle having acquired a debt, being unemployed and having failed at his attempt at higher education. He was venturing into a domain no one had done, being the first born in a foreign land and under-prepared. There was yet another twist of fate welcoming him. He was to reside in a different dwelling than he had the prior year, reasons for which he was to learn upon arrival.





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