Chapter Twenty- Five:
The trip from Winnipeg to Aunt Meg’s in Kelowna, British Columbia was a tiring but enjoyable one for John Richards and his son and daughter. John drove long hours to make it to Meg’s in two days. Fortunately, both Stephanie and Ryan had their driver’s licenses and took turns spelling their father off when he became tired from driving.
The truth was that John, Stephanie and Ryan were all having the time of their lives. When you’re in the car for ten to twelve hours each day you have a lot of time to talk and catch up on what’s been going on in each other’s lives.
John asked his son and daughter what they planned to do after graduation from high school.
Ryan responded first,” Well, I’d like to continue my hockey and football careers after I graduate from Elmwood High. If you can make the pros that’s where the money is. Heck, you can make more than a surgeon working in a hospital.”
Ryan was a dedicated athlete who possessed both the passion and natural ability for athletics.
“Yeah, that’s great,” said John. “You’re very athletically gifted Ryan, but a lot of kids at your skill level still don’t make the pros.”
“I know that Dad,” responded Ryan.
“Also, you would have to make a choice between football and hockey. You won’t be able to make the professional ranks in both sports,” said John.
“Well, how about Gerry James who played for both The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and The Toronto Maple Leafs?” asked Ryan.
“And who else can you name who was able to go pro in both sports? Also, Ryan, Gerry James played in the nineteen-sixties,” said John.
“Are you trying to rain on Ryan’s parade, Dad?” joked Stephanie.
“Of course not. I believe that people should follow their dreams, as long as they’re being realistic,” her father responded. “What about you, Steph? What would you like to do after you graduate?” asked John. John kept his eyes on the road, resisting the temptation to look at Stephanie.
“Well, if you didn’t think that Ryan’s goals were realistic you are sure not going to like mine,” said Stephanie.
“Go ahead, try me. You might be surprised,” replied her father.
“Okay. Here goes. Back in Toronto me and a few of my friends have started up our own punk band. We’ve only had a few practices so far but things are starting to fall into place,” said Stephanie.
It was early July and it was summer vacation for Stephanie and Ryan. Both of John’s kids worked odd jobs during the summer months so that they would have some spending money and to help pay for tuition . Stephanie and Ryan both had paper routes and also did chores for some of the people in their neighborhood.
Stephanie was the first to arrive home. She had been doing some dog walking for a couple that lived on their street.
Stephanie had medium length natural blond hair streaked with bright, red hair coloring. She had a gold nose ring and a piercing in one eyebrow. Stephanie wore a black and gold Nirvana tee shirt that had a few holes in it. She wore stone washed blue jeans with a tear in one knee. Stephanie was part nineties Seattle grunge and part punk rocker. Her favorite band was Nirvana. Her other favorites, in no particular order, were Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Hole, The Plasmatics and Motorhead. Stephanie also liked The Ramones and The Sex Pistols. She owned a large collection of CDs.
Like her brother, Ryan, Stephanie lived with her mother during the majority of the year. She had a strained relationship with her mother. Stephanie’s mother did not approve of her daughter’s style of dress, her friends or her lifestyle. Stephanie’s mom, Susan, was very concerned that her daughter might be using street drugs. Her brother Ryan got along much better with his mother and often smoothed things over when Stephanie and Susan got into intense verbal disagreements. Both kids were very upset by their parents’ break up but had their own ways of dealing with it.
Prologue To Lake Mariposa:
I have recently re-read my novella, Lake Mariposa. I was delightfully surprised by how much I still enjoyed it several years after writing the original draft.
If the reader grew up in the mid to late nineteen sixties this story will likely be very nostalgic. I believe that most of us tend to glamorize our youth as we grow older. We often tend to romanticize those years as being almost a golden age. The nineteen sixties are still glamorized by the media today.
There can be little doubt that the sixties were a very unique time in which creativity, art and self- expression flourished. What many people forget was that it was also a potentially dangerous time period in which experimental, psychedelic drugs were easily accessible. Lake Mariposa takes a look at the dark side of the sixties as well as its positive attributes.
On the positive side of the ledger the music of the sixties was more experimental and creative than the music of any other decade. Most people in my age group find it difficult to get interested in the music of the seventies, eighties, nineties and two thousands to the present. Much of the creative spark appears to have been lost somewhere along the line.
There are exceptions, of course, such as nineties Seattle grunge bands like Nirvana and the punk genre/heavy metal stylings of The Ramones and Motorhead.
I lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada during my adolescent years. We were very fortunate to have a very strong local music scene that featured some great home grown bands and musicians. During one summer, several local rock festivals took place in Manitoba. If one had easy access to a car or was not afraid to hitch hike, one could attend one or even all of these local, outdoor rock festivals featuring a dynamic collection of Canadian talent.
As this was the ‘hippie era’, it was not difficult to connect with a diverse group of strangers as there appeared to be a shared, almost communal philosophy of life. Young people went to these rock festivals not only to hear some great music but also in the hope of making some new friends preferably of the opposite sex.
Lake Mariposa also deals with the different segments of youth such as the straights, the jocks and the stoners.
One of the themes of Lake Mariposa is the burning desire that young men of that era had for female companionship and hopefully, a girlfriend. The novella deals with the intense challenge that this posed for many young men of that era. Lake Mariposa is concerned with young, romantic and immature love. It is also about how to make sense of a changing society and the difficulties involved in making the necessary adjustments.
I hope you enjoy reading my novella, Lake Mariposa. It can be read for free at Wattpad.com, WordPress.com, Typepad.com and on my own web site, kendavidstewart.com
Thank for your time spent reading this prologue.
Ken David Stewart