Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tres Mojados a Wagon Burner and a Gringo - The St. Mary's Days

Tres Mojados, a Wagon Burner and a Gringo

I began to attend St. Mary’s school in 1974.  It was an “old school” Catholic institution.  St. Mary’s is located in downtown Albuquerque; within walking distance of my home.  It was a typical Catholic institution that you’d see in the 70’s.  We all were required to wear the cheap blue, short sleeved uniform.  There were angry old nuns milling about, wearing their required nun-gear.  There was the occasional priest who’d usually have grey hair and weathered face but generally much easier on the eyes than his female counterparts.  The classrooms all were complete with wooden desks; each seemed to have nasty words carved in inconspicuous places and the usual blob of Bazooka Joe bubble gum stuck under the seat.  There was the generic clock on the wall behind the teacher that almost seemed to be placed there to torture the children and of course the cross on the wall with poor old Jesus nailed to the wood.

The culture at this school could be very brutal.  In later life, I’ve often wondered if the nuns had such a nasty disposition as a result of a lifetime of no intercourse, not even the occasional oral pleasure amongst each other.  I also wondered if the priests seemed more relaxed and happy because they had the altar boys to play with.  If a student did something wrong at St. Mary’s, the consequences could be rough.  I’d often find myself being pulled about the room by my side burn while the nun lectured me.  There were also whacks on the knuckles with a ruler and the occasional spankings.   Of course, we were all damned to hell and if we didn’t follow the nun’s wishes, God would punish us horribly.  As a child, I always thought of God as the nun’s personal enforcer.  It’s a thought that’s stuck with me to this day, only it’s much more refined, broad and researched.  


Of all religions, the Christian should of course inspire the most tolerance, but until now Christians have been the most intolerant of all men” – Voltaire. “I was raised Catholic until I was old enough to say no” – John Cusack

To complete the picture of the above paragraphs, I need to tell a short story about one school morning.  I must have been no more than eight or nine years old.  I’d gotten ready for school, despite trying everything I could to stay home; the sick routine, too tired and need a break, I think it’s a no school day, I love you so much grandma – just want to spend the day with you, etc.  Just before it was time to walk to school, I felt that there was just no way that I could go.  I didn’t understand what was going on at the time inside my mind and body but now know it was depression and anxiety.  I decided that I was going to jump off the roof so that I could break a bone and not have to go to school.  This wasn’t a fantasy or an “I’m going to show you”.  This was a very real decision by a very confused and scared child.  Looking back, I’d rather jump off a roof and damage my body than leave the safety of my grandparents’ home and go to school for the day; something was very wrong.  Just as I started to climb up the roof to jump, my beautiful grandmother came out, looked at me inquisitively and said that it was time to go.  It took me over 30 years to understand this day.  
Looking back at myself, I feel pretty damn sorry for that kid.

One of my very original memories of St. Mary’s was the day I met John Alonzo.  I was sitting in one of the first classes, the first day of school.  I could feel somebody staring at me from behind.  When I turned around, there was a Native American kid with intense green eyes, Laguna Indian to be exact.  He was staring at me with a wonderfully mischievous look, more accurately, a “shit eating grin”.  We were thick as thieves from that day on.  Shortly after that, three Mexican kids by the names of Donny and Ronny Gutierrez (brothers) and Adam Chavez joined the gang.  We did almost everything together for many years to come and it was fun.
 
There was a very cute girl at our school by the name of Lesley Gallegos; we all had a crush on her.  Lesley had great hair and a great smile and I had an especially great crush on her.  I decided that I wanted to marry her and of course, my friends egged me on.  I went to the local TG&Y at the corner of Central Avenue and Rio Grande Boulevard with my grandmother to buy Lesley a necklace for our pending engagement.  I didn’t know to marry you were supposed to have a ring and my grandmother didn’t coach me, she just went along as I’m sure the scene was pretty damn cute.  Then the next day, with my four friends watching and giving me little pushes, I did the deed.  I asked the glorious Lesley Gallegos to marry me!  The magnificent Lesley Gallegos gave me a smile to die for, gently took the necklace and looked at it with adoration.  Slowly she took her gaze from the necklace and deeply looked into my eyes with such love and kindness that I felt an army of butterflies in my body.  Lesley then said to me through her beautiful red lips in her young angelic voice… “No”.  Lesley got up with the necklace in hand and ran off with her friends.  She left me sitting in the playground not knowing what just happened, nor what to do.

Now to make matters worse, Lesley had a friend who followed her around quite a bit.  This friend, I’m sure, grew up to be a hairy, Harley riding, butch man hating bull dyke professional wrestler.  After Lesley walked away with my .99 cent TG&Y imitation gold necklace, I got up to walk over to my friends who were already giggling at the scene.  The next thing I know, the hairy, Harley riding, butch man hating bull dyke professional wrestler girl walked up to me and said “she doesn’t like you”!  She then proceeded to kick me in the testicles so hard that to this day I still believe that she split my left ball in two.

On the spot, I projectile vomited all over the hairy, Harley riding, butch man hating bull dyke professional wrestler’s pants.  She ran away screaming and I was down for the count, gazing up at the St. Mary’s steeple with the world spinning around me.  I could hear my friends mercilessly howling with laughter in the background.  When I was able to get up, it seemed that the entire school was standing in a circle around me gawking at the boy who just had his gonads assaulted.  And yes, my friends were not only still howling with laughter but the jackasses were now reenacting the scene for everybody’s pleasure.

I never, ever, ever asked Lesley Gallegos to marry me again.  Didn’t even ask her out when we were attending high school together.  To this day, every time I see Lesley Gallegos, my left “balls” throb as if I were an old man whose joints were hurting from an oncoming storm. 

One our favorite pastimes was to seriously fuck with people.  The five of us had a way to taking it to new levels.  At St. Mary’s, we had some pretty horrible food.  I think that’s why they gave us all the milk we could drink.  The milk came in small red containers and was placed at the end of the food line.  John came up with the brilliant idea of sneaking a bunch of the milk containers out of the cafeteria.  Then, we’d take the containers home and put them somewhere, well hidden, in our yards.  We’d leave them there for at least a week, then sneak them back to school.  At lunch, we’d put the rotten milk containers back in the cooler but would be sure to place them in the very back so nobody would drink them that day and they’d be nice and cold the next.  On that day after when the lumpy milk was cold and in front of the cooler, we’d rarely be able to eat.  The five of us would be sitting in the expensive seats so that we had a clear view of the entire cafeteria.  Whenever some poor innocent kid would take a huge gulp of thick rotten milk, we’d tremble with laughter.  There was always snot blowing from our nostrils and tears flowing down our cheeks.  I can remember Adam falling out of his seat laughing when one of the kids began to vomit all over his tray.  I don’t know how but we never got caught doing this.  I’m sure the milk company, whom by the way my great grandfather was one of the founders of, got an earful from those nasty uptight – under sexed nuns!!!

I’m just now realizing that some of the most brilliant ideas that got us in terrible trouble came from John.  Early on at St. Mary’s, he somehow talked two of our female classmates into getting into one of the huge tractor tires in the playground.  He then convinced them to lift their skirts, drop their panties and show us their lovelies.  I think it was the first time in my life that I’d felt that special tingly feeling down below as my little friend popped to attention.  I’d entered the world of vaginas!   Anyway, as I sat there in awe at the wonderful sights in front of me, I was shocked into reality as a stream of hot liquid hit me in the side of the head.  There was goddamn John, with his pecker out and in hand, hosing all of us down with urine!  The little bastard became so aroused that he peed on us!  I’m sure that being so young and seeing those little girls’ hoo-has, he became instantly aroused but had no idea what to do.  So my damn friend just started peeing on everybody in his excitement.

Well, it was tough as hell to get out of that tire.  The girls and I were pushing, shoving and scratching our way out of there while John giggled as he squirted the last shots of pee on us.  Unfortunately for all of us, one of those nasty old nuns saw the ruckus as we scrambled out of the tractor tire.  When she came running over, she could see that we (me and the two girls) were all wet, and then she smelled the urine. I think that was my first time ever in detention.  It was a bad detention.  I had to sit after school as my grandfather waited outside in the car, watching the pruned face of an old nun as she glared at me and the three others.  To make matters worse, as I sat in the hard wooden seat, reeking of John’s urine, I was still feeling the butterflies in my stomach from what I’d seen in that tractor tire.

Almost every day, I’d walk home with Donny, Ronny, Adam and John.  Those four lived to the north of St. Mary’s in a barrio called “Wells Park”.  Wells Park was and still is a gang territory and predominantly Hispanic neighborhood.  I lived to the west in the Albuquerque Country Club neighborhood which had no gangs, other than frequent groups of golfers roaming the streets. I’d walk home with my friends because I enjoyed them.  I enjoyed the culture and the freedom.  And of course we had a lot of fun.  Usually being the only white kid in the group, I often found myself in some precarious situations but I’ll save that for a later chapter.  We’d always walk by my grandfather’s office which was located half way to John’s house.  It became a wonderful ritual to knock on his window.   No matter what he was doing, he’d come to the window and wave to us.  We’d then be off some sort of adventure. 

Before our teens, our adventures were usually pretty innocent.  We’d listen to lots of Monty Python and Cheech & Chong on vinyl and do our best to memorize the skits. We became masters at the art of firecracker making and marksmen with our slingshots. John came up with the idea of making a gross mixture of eggs, flour, dog-food and jelly.  We’d then mix it and roll it into a wet paper towel and form it into a ball. We’d go out after dark and throw the goo balls at passing cars and hope they’d chase us.  If we were lucky, we’d hear a loud thud/splat, then tires screeching and lots of cursing.  Now and then, after we’d throw our ordinance, we’d realize that our target was a cop car or worse, a lowrider!  This generated the most terror and fun imaginable as the police officer or Chicano chased us through the neighborhood.  It was our neighborhood; we knew it well and never got caught.

One afternoon, we came up with the idea of bottling farts.  One of us would hold a jar and its cap while another would drop his drawers and fart in the bottle.  It was very important to quickly cap the bottle after the last bit of fart was squeezed out.  Now and then, somebody would push a bit too hard and some unwanted results would shoot out.  Of course we’d laugh like Hyenas.  We’d then hit the neighborhood to find some unsuspecting victim to sniff our home made cologne. 

We loved to have sleepovers.  Back then, there was no internet, cable TV, XM stereo or cell phones.  After midnight all the TV channels would go off the air.  We had to be creative to entertain ourselves.  One night the entertainment scheduled was competition fart lighting.  We were all pretty good at it if I do say so myself!  Deep into the competition, there were 5 boys in their fruit of the loom underwear, taking turns dropping on their backs, lifting their knees to their shoulders, placing a match to the general area of the butthole and letting it rip.  The key was to only let a small amount of fart out at a time.  This way you’d produce a large and long lasting flame.  Well, John won the competition hands down.  He shot a massive flame out of his ass, it was impressive, and we all cheered and whistled.  Then the mayhem began.  During Johns’ gold medal performance, he actually lit his underwear on fire.  We all started laughing hysterically.  Unfortunately for John, he thought we were laughing at the fart he’d just let when we were laughing at the flame that had already spread from his anus to his upper testicles.  Johns’ anal region was already hot from the fart he’d lit so he didn’t immediately notice the heat from the underwear fire.  The fire had created a hole in his underwear as it spread and just about the time one of his balls fell out of the opening, John realized what was happening.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life at the scene of John flopping around the floor like a fish out of water while smoke and sparks came from his behind.  It’s a sight that I’ll never forget.