UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Off the Wall [Issue #1] Carnegie Learning Centre (Vancouver, B.C.) Jun 30, 1992

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/ ) l June, 1992 writings from the Carnegie Adult Learning Centre I . INTRODUCTION Off the Wall is a celebration of the community of writers associated with the Carnegie Adult Learning Centre. Community because we work together and believe in the social nature of learning, that shared experience which celebrates the joys and listens to the frustrations of people who participate in the activities of our Centre. This first volume of writings is a testimony to the dedication and commitment of learners, tutors and staff who believe that change is possible when we combine our efforts towards achieving common goals. We want to extend a special thanks to: Murray Rogers for the great photographs; Louise Bryant, Tina Taylor, Michael McCormack and Su Scarfe for the hours of typing; Herb Nikol and Debbie Bryant for the cover design; Ed Stanton for the illustrations; and Sharon Johnson for her the endless energy and enthusiasm to ensure we got the project done. We would also like to aknowledge the support of the Vancouver Foundation, the National Literacy Secretariate, the Ministry of Advanced Education Training and Technology, the Vancouver School Board and the Carnegie Community Association. Lex Off the Wall Page 1 CONTRIBUTERS Fred Henderson Debbie Bryant Mavis Brass Buck Jones Yvonne Tina Lesley Hill Mei Lin Louie Annie Herb ' ' Knee Cap" Nikal Darlene Andrew Pun Jack Callihoo Donald Parry Madelaine Noriko Kodama Dreamweaver (Werner Olschewski) Stan Cheng Ed Stanton (Mr. Ed) Maurice Savard Shiko Cyril E. Eckstein Page2 Albert Anthony Tammy Alvin Halkett George Robinson Henry Langendoen Satyavathi Chityala Judy Szonyi Tran Thuan Ellis Cheung Wince Lam Mr. Shang Carol Yan Maria T. Guilalas Jim Cheng Anita Lo Allan Ronaldson Theresa Moosuk Valerie Bachman Evelyn C. Andrew Pun Pauline Robinson Ping Li Off the Wall Freedom Thoughts that flitter through Glimpses of the past Like lights dancing in the distance Quick glimpses of light of dark An unfamiliar voice Lies within my throat The stranger that whispers I listen, remember, then forget Trying to remember forgotten things The pain that awakens The thought, the thought I'd rather be dead I look around my empty room For freedom Pressures daily crush me Yet upon the shelf I see It glistens and shines invitingly Small fearful gestures beckon I welcome its burning edge I will be free tomorrow Fred J. Henderson The Stevedore Everyday on the dock Young Joe would appear his young voice would cry out Gimme a try boys I'll work real hard Each day they'd send him away But each morning in the cold cold fog Young Joe would appear again Gimme a break boys I'll work real hard Each day they'd send him away Off the Wall J\.,,!~ r , . V . [~ ';,, . - - - · - .. _____ ,. .... i ' {J,l,~ .It .. . _,r~ :':,':... ,;;...· , \ . - -. I , . , - ., ,. ... , -:,../\ • .. . •. , • ' . ·s.,l:. 1 , ._.;; ; ,_.-, . ~. . ( ; / :~ .:!- . :J " \i.-,,",:· l , ' . . ' ' . / ~ ~; '!. ·' " '-"'V \ .,-Page 3 Till one day they were short a man Young Joe appeared on the cold wet dock Gimme a break boys I'll work real hard The shift boss was short one man So he sent young Joe down into the hold One that cold black Thursday morn Joe had his chance to work real hard The crane swung loose and dropped to the dock And the cry went up from the hold As the hatch covers fell like rain into the hold Young Joe pushed Mike out of the way The stevedores gathered all around in the hold As they lifted the hatches one by one Finally they lifted the very last one That covered poor young Joe Now there's a bum on the beach That the cops don't beat And the boys all treat While he drools and spits when he speaks Gimme a try boys I'll work real hard Fred J. Henderson The Blanket Today we bought a little white baby's bed, with hand painted flowers, and a baby blue blanket to cover our little boy. I would kneel by the side of the bed and watch him nurse greedy and noisy at her white breast. The fluorescents surrounds her sweet face, contented, and the scent of her milk surrounding the room, with heat and warmth. As if you were wrapped in the baby blue blanket. At night in our bed, not wanting to sleep, we both lay there watching our little boy sleep. Every gurgle every peep we were ready to leap. To rush to his side, to tend to his needs. He is Page4 O./fthe Wall our first, our pride and joy. We wonder the miracle that brought him to us. Late at night I watch her hand steal slowly into the side of the crib, to cover protectively the small little hand clutching at his baby blue blanket, that keeps him from cold at night. He left so suddenly, so quick he was gone. A cold empty crib, no blanket could warm. Two stunned silent people stare at bright shining flowers on the empty white crib. That seems so cold and forbidding. So still in the night, chill, no blanket could warm. We lay there in bed, she on her side, I on mine. I see the tear s stream down her pale cheeks. The milk from her breasts that nourished and fed, brought such joy to our tiny boy. Now just drips from her breast, to soil her gown. I lay rigid beside her cold, numbed from the shock, unable to comprehend. No one can hear the howl or the shriek of the pain and agony tearing, ripping within. Yet no sound escapes our tight bitter lips. We lay in the dark together but apart. Once we were one, now shattered apart. We lay in the dark afraid to speak, afraid to release the roar of the howling pain of death. I lay there and watch her quivering white hand reach between the quiet crib bars to seek what isn't there. A cold empty crib, no blankets could warm. While we lay, not as lovers, but strangers. Unable to break the emptiness that separates us from our dream. Fred J. Henderson Free Writing Time I think that I want to use my free writing time (which we are all supposed to do weekly here at the Learning Centre) for two things. The first thing is to get used to composing on the computer keyboard, or at least to try it our way for a while to see if it's a way of writing that works for me. I have always Off the Wall Page 5 written things down longhand, and then re-typed them on computer .• So for the meanwhile I'll try this way. The second thing I will use this time for is to make notes in writing the way I make visual notes in my sketch book in the form of little drawings and little fiddly bits of colour. I am a visual artist, and have used a sketch book for years as a way of recording thoughts, impressions, ideas, little pieces of miscellaneous information that strike me as interesting. Sometimes it takes a long time for me to understand why I recorded a particular bit of information. What often happens is that I will look over years of sketch books and find that I have gone back to a theme several times, without even remembering that I've drawn it before. One time I found myself doing a whole series of paintings of fire, house fires, forest fires, people burning up. I rummaged back through my old books and discovered dozens of images of fire to use as a reference. I had been gathering these images for years without being aware that they were amounting to anything. What I think may have happen is that I go through a long, slow unconscious process of absorbing an image that catches my attention. Maybe that process includes some directed, deliberate study. I may draw carefully, trying to record as much information as I can. Or I may doodle or play in a very unfocussed manner. Either way, I am getting to know the image. I begin to understand what it looks like, and I begin to understand it as a symbol. So I think I'll use this free writing time like a sketch book. I'll try to record, explore whatever little bits of thought and idea emerge spontaneously as I sit at this keyboard. I can make notes of the things I think about while I'm working at the Carnegie Centre, but not edit those thoughts, or worry about how much sense they make. If I write for an hour or so every week, I should have a quite a bit of unstructured writing by the end of June. Maybe that writing will be as useful to me here as my sketchbooks are to my artwork. That's it for now. Debbie Bryant Page6 Off the Wall A Life in the Day of Mavis I went to court this morning at 9:00 a.m. Then I came to school after court at 2:00 or 1:00. Then I went down to the women's drop-in centre and talked about going to school at Carnegie. They had a movie camera to go on the TV. They asked how we got our support, what we learn, what we do. They asked me where I was from. I told them I went to school at Carnegie. I asked for a bus pass because I lost mine. Welfare wanted a receipt for the bus pass, but I didn't get one. I don't know if they will take the money off my check. If they do I'll have to fight for the money. Mavis Brass Drugstore Cowboy in '61 The Calgary Stampede brought out the drugstore cowboy in me when I was ten years old. I well remember the highly polished cowboy boots, the perfectly blue bluejeans, cuffs rolled neatly and flawlessly at the ankles. Then there was the cowboy shirt, white with black swirling applique, and the ivory snap buttons, tucked tightly inside the strapped waistline of my jeans. Then came the thin cowboy tie with the brass hanger weights and the crossed Winchester rifle neck tightener slid up to my neck. This was topped off with the crown, my pride and joy. The Calgary White Stetson. Much time would be spent in front of the mirror trying to figure out how best to wear my White Stetson. Shall I tilt it forward left? Or right? Tilted forward or back? I found all ways looked great. All in all I had to admit, I was a sterling vision of Cowboyhood. Mom would give me 20 bucks (a lot of money in 1961), and off I'd go strutting up the street to get my buddy, Pat. He was Catholic and his parents were much more restrained with him. He had no cowboy stuff, which was great, because I looked so much better. My vanity was boundless. My pal Pat was big for his age, both in height and girth, especially girth. This came about by having a father, very tall and slight and a mother, well, not slight. We became pals Off the Wall Page 7 through a religious fight. He insulted us Protestants and I insulted Catholics and the fight was on. After some time of wrestling (we were four--we didn't punch) we got tired and became pals. He was allowed something my parents tried to deprive me of--TELEVISION. Catholics were looser in some areas than us Protestants. After this discovery, I practically lived at Pat's. Television was more powerful than my young faith. Pat and I cut quite a pair. He, close to twice my size and in knock-abouts, and me, small, super-dressed, and very cocky. We were sort of Mutt and Jeff in reverse. on the bus, going to the Stampede grounds, excitement building--Wow!! The ferris wheel, the salt-r--and-pepper shaker, the whirl-o-thon, great!! The chuck wagon races? The buckin' broncs, the bull ridin'? Naw, too boring. More rides. Pat runs out of money. That's ok, I have lots. Yet more rides. We need food. Open grill hamburgers and hotdogs, corn on the cob, popcorn, cotton candy--Stampede food, we ride all and eat all. A few hours later I'm broke, Pat's broke, and we have no bus fare home. My boots are scuffed, my jeans have lost their press, my beautiful cowboy shirt has mustard, ketchup, and relish stains on it. But worst of all, my White Stetson is scuffed, dirty, and battered. What a mess I'd think. I wonder what a real cowboy would think? Buck Jones Page 8 Off the Wall Yvonne's Story, May 12 I am 27 and a half years old and I am going back to school. My dream is to prepare for my GED to get off Welfare one of these days and get me a good job. That's all I can write for now. I would like a chance. Yvonne A Success Story My name is Tina. I am a tutor at Carnegie Learning Centre . I've been involved with the centre off and on for a few years. I've volunteered in different areas in the centre, but the most satisfying job is working in the learning centre, because I see so many people trying to make a better life for themselves, and you can see that it's a struggle for some of them, yet they're still hanging in there. I can relate with these people, because I was there myself. Until I took it upon myself to go back to school, and now I am working full time, and now I am out of the welfare system. I want to say to the students here at Carnegie Learning Centre, ''Keep up the good work, because you can make it with hard work.'' Tina I Love Learning About school I l ove school because I love to learn about reading, arithmetic , Eng l ish, and computers, and good things in school. I love to learn and I do ok. Lesley Hill A Day at Crab Park On Tuesday we had the class at the park. It was Crab Park. Burrard Harbour surrounded three sides of the park. We stayed at the wharf and enjoyed the scenery. Facing to us was North Vancouver. To the left hand side, there were many high Off the Wall Page 9 buildings, and there was a white building called the Five Sails Hotel. To the right hand side, there was a container wharf. Two high cranes stood at that wharf. We saw a seal swimming in the inlet. It was wonderful. While we stayed at the wharf there was a seagull which accompanied us. It looked very friendly. About half past eleven we went through the path leaving the park. The park was so quiet. There were a few small trees and chairs, and the grass was beautiful. Louie Mei Lin ' Lissa Lissa Millitech is a young adult who really cares about people. She loves to meet people, socialize and drink lots of coffee. When Lissa comes to Carnegie, she learns how to use a computer to learn how to read and recognize letters, pictures, etc. Lissa has cerebral palsy. She can't talk like everybody else, but has a communication book which is easy to use. She moves her head to the right when she wants to say yes and to the left when she means no. In the book there are pictures of food, drink, places to go, feelings. She can talk without problems. Lissa asks you not to be afraid and encourages you to know people like her. She is a happy young lady with a good sense of humour. Annie Page 10 Off the Wall My Future Hi, my name is Herb, I'm from North-Western BC, a town call Kayha-Wiget, known as Moricetown. It was named after a Roman Catholic priest, Father Morice. Moricetown is located right in between Smithers and Hazelton BC, about nine-hundred-fifty miles from Vancouver, BC. I am from the tribe Wetus•wet'en, people, better known as Carrier Native nation, and belong to the clan house of Whale, Owl, Grouse, Fire-weed, and very much involved in teaching my language and other activities of the culture, like singing, dancing, praying, etc. I myself have lots of skills, and trades, like truck driver, heavy equipment operator, and involvement in different activities in the community. I moved to Vancouver in April of 91, and would like to up-grade my education, and help others some day to achieve their goals, and to help myself by up-grading my education, and make doors open for my future employment. Herb ''Knee Cap'' Nikal HI Had To Do It Over I was born in Northern Manitoba on an Indian Reserve called Norway House. I grew up with 8 sisters and 3 brothers. I left the Reserve when I was 15 years old to go to high school in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. I only went to school for about 1 year. When I went back to the reserve, I did not go back to school. I stayed on the reserve and found baby-sitting jobs. I got pregnant when I was 17 years old. I kept my baby and went back to living with my parents. When I had another chance to go back to school, I went to my grade 10. The problem was I had to leave the Reserve again and leave my baby behind. I went to The Pas for one year and to finish my grade 10. Then I went back to the Reserve for about a year and then moved to Off the Wall Page 11 Winnipeg to my sister's. My parents did not want me to take my baby with me, so they raised my son for me. I started going to school taking a secretarial course which did not last long. I ran into problems like drinking. I dropped out and went back to the Reserve. Looking back it seems like I kept running back to my parents. I should have stayed in school instead of running away from my problems. But, then I did not know I had a drinking problem. So for a few years I stayed in Norway House where I found some babysitting jobs and worked at a Nun's residence. I made pretty good money. I liked staying with my folks, besides I had my son with me. I left Norway House when I was 27, I was pregnant and I was going to give up my baby. But I changed my mind. I kept her and I am ' glad I did. My baby and I stayed in an apartment in Winnipeg, but I left my son in Norway House with my parents. Then I started drinking a lot. After a while, I lost my baby girl to Children's Aid. I wanted my girl back, so I put my self in a treatment centre. I stayed there for 4 months. A month later, I got her back. We left the treatment centre together. I found a place for us to live in Winnipeg, where we stayed until recently. She was going to go north to Norway House to go to school, but when I left Winnipeg to come to Vancouver she decided to come with me. While I was in Winnipeg I was doing my adult grade 10. I would like to continue to finish my grade 10 and 11 here in Vancouver, so I can take a course in the fall. I would like to take Social work courses at the University. If I had to do it over again, I would have finished my school a long time ago and maybe I would have had a good job somewhere. Darlene Getting Ahead What should people do to teach children work and the value of money? Page 12 Off the Wall All parents in the world always care for their children and worry about the future of them. They occasionally pay special attention to those deeds which would affect the future of their children. The father and mother would teach their sons and daughters to understand that they must work hard before they can get better living and enough food otherwise they would suffer from starvation and poor accommodation. The parents should tell the stories of what they have met or seen in the past. They should also supply their children with the real and actual happenings of the people who suffered from famine. All parents should continuously encourage their children to work hard in their studies as well as in work. It is because that when people are young and they should have to get higher knowledge in technical so as to secure their better living in the future. Let children help doing some house work so as to make them to understand that they are the important bodies in the family. They must take responsibilities to improve the situation of living of the family. Beside~ the above-mentioned suggestions all parents should give the children the habit of saving when they get surplus to reserve for the unexpected or accidental events. Let them to be prepared to face their future. Andrew Pun A Lemon That Ford cost me a lot of trouble. I'll be glad to drive it to the boneyard. Jack Callihoo Off the Wall Page 13 A Binge I went out for 3 or 4 days celebrating. I went to the Mar Pub. Then I trucked around, drinking beer. So it was a good 3 or 4 days. I went home drunk. Donald Parry Good and Bad Times My name is Madelaine. I was born in Germany, and came to Canada in 1954 when I was six years old. I spoke no English when I started school but learned quickly in only three months. The teachers in grade school were too impatient because they didn't take time to listen to me. When I entered high school one teacher didn't give me time to give me answers. She then threw the globe in my face and also sent me to the principal many times because when she abused me, I spoke rudely to her. There was one teacher I did like however. He sat down beside me and helped me with my subjects I had trouble with. He was more patient, kind, and caring than the others. Some classes had as many as 30 students and some only 15. My favourite subjects were science and history. I like the past better than the present . Sometimes I just like to be left alone so I can think about life. I feel nervous about coming back to school because I feel too old. I feel that I am too old to learn new things and feel that I can't learn what I forgot when I was in school in my younger days. I hope I'm wrong. Madelaine My Short Visit My name is Noriko Kodama. I come from Fukui City, a small city Page 14 Off the Wall in Japan. I studied Mandarin for 4 years in Japan and two years in Beijing. I taught life skills to Chinese students for three years in Japan. I came to Canada nine months ago. Soon I will return to Japan. Noriko Kodama Self Image Everyone has an image that they project on the world. These images contain all possibilities. I'm tired, I'm cute, I'm handicapped, I'm a genius, I'm stupid, I'm rich, I'm poor. Each of these images gives us a certain feeling in our emotions. When we walk through this world we have many lessons to learn about life. The most important is protecting our self image. If I walk down the street and someone trips me (I didn't see his cane) my self image falls down and I look foolish in the eyes of the world. I then yell at the person that tripped me and if he talks back, I hit him. In this way I have had vengeance for the insult to my self image and I can feel good about myself again. This is the way choice to make. I let the light drawn. that the ego works in everyone. I now have a Do I want the ego in me to drive my body or will of consciousness drive. The battle lines are If I let anger, hatred, racism, and judgment rule my life then I will have a lifetime of misery. If on the other hand, I let love, acceptance, and joy rule my life then I will have a lifetime of peace. The image is not important, the truth of my heart is. Dreamweaver (Werner Olschewski) How to Survive a Flood About noon on Saturday, Trixie came to my first floor room and rattled my window. She tried to wake me up for lunch, but after Off the Wall Page 15 celebrating most of Friday night, I wasn't in the mood. She banged on my window a half hour later to tell me about this flood. ''Great,'' I thought, ''six inches in the basement, she calls a flood.'' I put my shorts on and stumbled outside. The backyard was a raging pool, two feet deep. Everyone in the house is running around screaming, flood warnings were coming over the radio saying 17 feet of water is coming. That's higher than the roof, nothing to worry about. The flood dike was 15 feet deep and there were a few feet left over, the flood was not coming, it was here. Several people were on the back stairs, getting very worried, and yelling like chickens with their heads cut off. I went up the back stairs, grabbed the closest one, hucked them into the raging · flood, yelling, ''let's have a flood party, this may be the only flood in our lifetime, let's enjoy it.'' I managed to dunk three, who were all wet and laughing, and tried for one more, but Trixie had made good her escape. I spotted a small fibreglas tub floating lazily around the corner of the house. I was ih it as fast as greased lightening, grabbed a board floating by and paddled madly around the back yard. Peter came over and wanted a ride, but he wasn't wet enough so I dunked him instead. Peter got up, grabbed the tub, picked it up, and turned it over, with me in it. The tub sank out of sight, as we both went in. The tub was raised, but now we had a problem, the plug was gone. Trixie watching from the safety of the stairs, ran to find one. Perfect fit, our boat was seaworthy once more. I had lost my cigarettes in the flood, so I volunteered to go get some. After I collected the orders and the money, I was ready to launch into the flood and head downtown. Trixie said sure, as long as somebody goes with me. Quickly, another fun loving character jumped in, and we were on our way. We tried to stay in the middle because of parked cars and other debris on the sides. People watching us float gently down the stream cheered and hollered, from the safety of height. As we hit the first corner, I felt a tap on my shoulder, ''watch out for that car,'' was recommended by my navigator. I only saw the top 1 inch of the roof of a brand new, pure white leather upholstery, and matching paint job, Cadillac. One of our Page 16 Off the Wall neighbours had bought it the week before. As we drifted with the tide, the water got deeper. Local stores were all flooded to the ceilings. When we reached the main drag, the water was very shallow, and the police constable was upset. ''What are we trying to do, rip off all the stores?'' he yelled. ''Where are you from?'' he asked my pointedly. I explained about the white boarding house, 4 blocks down, and around the corner. Why did we do this in the middle of an emergency, with helicopters rescuing people, boats searching, police, fire, ambulance units all over. I calmly told him I was only going downtown to get cigarettes, we had run out, you see. He turned purple with rage as he told us to get that contraption out of the water and get lost. We both grabbed an end and parked our vessel right on the corner, then we split, laughing. If you don't believe me, go to Galt, the city is using it as a planter. It's one block up from Water Street, and looks like a small bathtub. That was the wildest, wettest, flood party ever. Imagine the cleanup after that one. Dreamweaver (Werner Olschewski) The Last Step I know the way, yet will not walk The door is open, yet I will not enter The road is before me, yet I refuse to see A voice calls me, yet I answer not I have the strength, and heed it not I have the legs, and use them not I have the key, and use it not How stupid is my pride So the road of life is a little rough The way is strewn with pitfalls And here I stand, at the very gate And refuse to budge an inch Off the Wall Page 17 The reason why, I know it well The reason is excuses Dear Lord, say I, the road was long And many were my problems I faced them all And overcame But this last step is the longest I have to give up everything My hurts, my pain, my sorrow My worldly goods, my pride, my wants And even the big one, Will I have glimpsed what lies on the other side The Freedom, The Truth, The Love The Beauty, The Power, and more The gifts that await me are many, that's true And they are Eternal, that's true My Life for once would be complete I want for nothing more The Lord would guide my every step And show me where the rocks are But if you think That I will Move No way, my friend, no way You see, because, well, here it is I'm stubborn as a mule Dreamweaver (Werner Olschewski} My Two Fair Ladies Besides my wife, there are two other women in my life with whom I have been very intimate. The elder one I met very early before I married. She was very beautiful and charming with bright and limpid eyes. She had a slender figure that was ever so slight and graceful. In retrospect, I can't remember that her weight had ever been over 100 pounds. Page 18 Off the Wall During war time she had experienced a long period of dark days with me. Fortunately, after the war we were able to spend a number of good happy years. We lived together and flew across the Pacific Ocean and North America several times together. All these happy things that we did together she wrote them down in more than ten diaries. She was really a . very bright, intelligent and capable woman who always had confidence in whatever she wanted to do. The other woman, whom I met later, was eight years younger than the first one. In contrast, she had and still has a somewhat corpulent body. To my knowledge she has never weighed less than 140 pounds. Her face has always been as round as a pearl and as smooth as jade. This facial feature made her exceptionally beautiful. She has always been a docile woman as meek as a lamb, always humbling herself before everyone. Moreover, she has always been undemanding but generous towards others. For example, she likes to distribute candies or toys to the children and always gives more or better things to the neighbours. She is held in great affection by everyone. One day in 1983, the elder lady, who was my mother, left me forever. She was 94 years of age. As life companions we had lived together for over 60 years. I still miss her very much. The younger lady is my mother-in-law. Since 1954, in Hong Kong and in Canada, she has consistently lived with us in the same place. She is 93 and is right now still in good health. Stan Cheng Mr. Ed's Writing We can write up a storm if we put our minds to it. Man has patterned his life after the beaver. Off the Wall Page 19 The Children of the Future The adults do not worry about the environment as much as the little people. I believe that the little people should be in office and the politicians should be in play school. If politicians had any understanding of the environment we would not sell the water to the damn Yankees!!!!! I do not know which way I should go, up or down, north or south, east or west. Today Ed is doing a good job on his reading. He will do even better on Friday. Ed will do his laundry tomorrow. This laundry work can be tough. My bread dough can be tough. Do not cough in the dough or I will throw you through the window. Playing the Angles Ed and Vince play pool for fun. Vince likes to play the angles. Vince plays pool in a smooth way . When Ed has his turn his ball is left in a tough spot. Vince plays like a molasses fox. Care The planet needs help. We are out of the step with our world. If we do not take better care of the land, the land will not take better care of us. We must listen to the music of Mother Earth. Colour Ed Today Ed brought some coloured pencils. The colours are green, orange, red and purple. These pencils should make it easier to read. Ed Stanton Page 20 Off the Wall Maurice's Writings The Parking Meter Kid I took care of thirty parking meters I knocked their heads off and took the pennies. I should have knocked off the telephone boxes. I would have got more money. Every one thinks I'm so shy, that probably know nothing. I fought forest fires at seventeen years of age for 75 cents and hour. That was years ago. I fought in Fernie, Trail, and Rosslyn, BC. I am French Canadian. I speak French and English, but I don't write in French. I've been in some jams. If I wrote a book it would be an interesting one. I DO NOT LIKE THE RAT ..... AT BAT HAT CAT RAT BAT SAT TAT THAT MAT FAT THE FAT CAT CHASED THE FAT RAT. THE CAT CHASED THE BIRD. I LIKE THE BIRD. I LIKE DOGS AND CATS. I AM INTERESTED IN LIFE AND THINGS LIKE THAT; I AM VERY SLEEPY THIS MORNING. LIFE IS GREAT IF YOU DON'T WEAKEN. TODAY IS A BEAUTIFUL DAY. Off the Wall Page 21 The Portland Hotel The Portland Hotel is a very interesting place to live . Many people live there from many walks of life. One girl was a bank robber. She robbed three banks. There are quite a few addicts, cocaine and grass. One person has AIDS, sad case. Another girl had a baby. Today is the first day of the rest of my life . One day at a time. I am a good person. I am getting stronger every day. I deserve love and understanding. My Confession to Sharon: Maurice is a good boy. First of all, I feel guilty about being so innocent and the only reason I knocked off the jewellery store was because I thought I was a geologist looking for rocks. Confession is good for the soul. I took care of the parking meters. I did a good job. It cost me seven years in North Battleford Mental Hospital in Saskatchewan. Then I thought I got a bum deal, so I escaped. I stole a government dump truck in the middle of winter in North Battleford Maximum Security Ward. They said no one could ever escape, but it was a challenge. I got bored with all this petty crime, so I dealt in marijuana, hash and heroin. You never got me unless you went through someone. I'm a smooth one. I didn't get caught until a few years ago. I feel I have to confess my sins, because the end of the world may be coming. Believe it or not, I was an altar boy for seven years in the Roman Catholic Church. I wanted to become a monk. I'm in a 12 step AA program. I've been sober sixteen years and I was a model student in school. I specialized in crime. Would I lie to you? Why would I lie to you if I'm Roman Catholic? I believe in a higher power. I wanted to be a trapeze artist. I wanted to swing up in the air. Page 22 Off the Wall They say the good Lord will forgive me. Pray and all your sins will be forgiven. Repent ye sinners. The plane is ready to go I'm waiting for clearance at the border. Before I go, I just want to make love with my girlfriend and say goodbye to my mother. I love you all. God bless. You can phone my lawyer. Carnegie Centre I like the atmosphere, the people , and especially the Learning Centre. It's nice to go to the Senior's lounge and watch TV, and have something to drink. Mainly I like to come in and socialize. Sometimes I come to the Centre at night, but most of the time during the day. I usually arrive at 9:00 am. I go up to the Learning Centre on the third floor. When I get there I write, read and talk. Lately I have been reading a lot of different magazines. This gives me new ideas. Mainly I want to practice my writing. I would like to write every day. Maurice Savard ----Off the Wall Page 23 We Are Different In general, U.S. companies take a severe stance against illegal payments such as briberies and kickbacks. Headquarters in the U.S. sometimes check even into gifts traditionally exchanged in Japan, suspecting that they might be intended to influence business decisions. Particularly difficul t to explain to an American is ''Koden'', obituary gifts. Occasionally, hundreds of thousands of yen are presented when an executive of customer company dies. But there is not such custom in the U.S., and it is quite inexplicable to Americans. In addition, it is not possible to verify the amount of Koden; you cannot ask for a receipt at a funeral. If one writes 100,000 yen on a payment slip, some people might suspect that he or she has only donated half the amount. Shike My Anger! Today I'm angry. No I'm not angry but I'm furious at the way I saw one race put down another. It was most disturbing the way I saw people being a bunch of hypocrites by pointing their fingers at one individual and they were probably saying ''Look at that drunk in the middle of the day. standing in public making a fool of himself.'' There is another way I hate racism and that is when the people who call themselves the law. I have so much bitterness towards them. The reason why is that they keep stopping me and hassling me to see if I have drugs or they are looking for a weapon of some kind. They even look in my bag and they have the nerve to look in my tin of cigarette tobacco for the slightest hint of drugs. They ask where I live and ask for my ID and if I have no ID they hold me up even longer. Sometimes I think it has something to do with the colour of my skin or maybe I don't look like a person to have a place in that part of the city. It hasn't only happened here but all across Canada and I think we all should, put it in writing that we have sat on our / asses far too long. Let's stand up and say ''The hell with you. Enough is enough.'' Cyril E. Eckstein Page 24 Off the Wall It's Too Hot to Think The day is so hot I can't think. The only thing I have is a good mind -to leave my class and go to the beach and say no more teachers, no more books, no more teachers dirty looks . '' But the united negro co l lege says '' A mind is a terrible thing to waste,'' so I'm sitting in class and all I can do is sit and complain because it is so lovely out there. Cyril E. Eckstein My Visit to Prince George One day this year I went on the train for a holida y to a lovely place that is Prince George, BC. And when I got up there I stayed on my brother's farm. And they have some nice cows and one calf bull and a mother bull and two horses and I was talking to the cows. And the country is so nice up there with the green trees and grass. It was nice to hear the birds singing in the woods. And the train ride was lovely going up. We saw Brandy Wine Falls and a place that is Number 1 Downing Street. And we came to a small place that they call Darcy. And another town that is Pemberton. And i t is a nice town. But I like Prince George. I took the children for walks in the woods near their place and one of the boys said that there was a Off the Wall Page 25 bear in the woods. But I said if I saw the bear I would talk to him and tell him to take off or I would get a gun and shoot its eyes out. Then I would put his head on my wall at home. The children sure like Uncle Albert and we try to find some berries so their mother can make a pie. Then they have an old car in the yard. So they got in and I pretend that I was a . taxi driver. I got them laughing we were having a lot of fun with the old car. Then one day, I went to my other niece's. Then I took her children for a walk in the woods. We saw some people riding on horses. Then the dog came with use. He started to bark at the horses and scared them. One of the riders was knocked off. Then the horse ran off down the road. My niece ran after it so fast trying to get the dog. My young niece Sammy got lost in the bush so her young brother and I went back to tell her mom. then I went back to the house and told her husband. They all went to look for her. I was so glad when they found her because I don't want the little ones lost in the forests with bears and moose around. They can hurt a person. She told me that she was sorry she ran away from me. So that's my story of my trip to the North. After all that my brother and his wife came to get me and we went back to the farm because that was Sunday and the next day I was coming home to Vancouver. But I had a lovely holiday with all the family at lovely Prince George, British Columbia. So that was my trip on the train for the first time this year but I will go back in the summer for fishing and get a big one. From Albert Anthony. Have a good day. Albert Anthony Story No. 2 Happy Birthday One day I went to school on my birthday and was surprised because they started to sing Happy Birthday to me. I thought that it was nice of them to do that. I'm so happy in school. I will never ; forget that and when I get home I will take a pill for my sore tooth. And when I go on the train I will think about them. Page 26 Off the Wall That is my story. Albert Anthony Priorities I think my favourite possessions would have to be l} my hair, 2) my phone, 3) my TV, 4) my Nintendo. My hair is the one thing, that when it is fixed, I feel good about myself. My phone, because I can talk to anyone, and my TV because when I get bored, just turn it on. My Nintendo because I love playing it. Another thing I forgot is my boyfriend Tony. I'd feel really lost without him. Tammy Off the Wall Page 27 Granny The place and time that means a lot to me is Kitimat, B.C . , 4 years ago. The reason for this is because my Granny was still alive. I was fifteen at that time and I lived with her. She was my whole world. I loved her more than anything. But, when I lived with her, she ended up in the hospital and the day before she was supposed to get discharged, she had a heart attack. That was the worst ·time in my life. Tammy Take the Time Alvin Halkett is my name. I am from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. I am going to school in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the Carnegie Centre. My least favourite subject in school was computers because I had problems with my instructor. I had a hard time understanding him because he did not speak English well. I like to learn from other peoples' experiences. It helps me to become more independent and gives me a better view in life to teach the younger generation. My favourite teachers were the ones who took their time in teaching me the right questions to my problems. The worst teachers I had were those who spoke of the answers once and would sit back and sigh. Those were the kind of teachers that would have no time in understanding a student's thoughts and were too busy thinking of their own problems in life. I would like to finish off my education so I can have better opportunities in life. I was hoping on finishing my education at BCIT, but have no way of getting around and no way of going about it. I like to see other people when they are in a happy mood. When people have no difficulties in life, and are always working hard, it makes me feel better about myself. Alvin Halkett Getting Over Hi, my name is George Robinson. I was born in Prince Rupert, BC. My dad and mom moved out of Prince Rupert. We all moved to Page 28 Off the Wall Greenville, BC. This is where I grew up for a long time until we moved out of Greenville. My dad was a preacher for a long time on the reserve until he started preaching in Prince Rupert for some time. He turned to alcohol; this put an end to his preaching. During this time he started abusing the family. I started running away from home. I ended up in foster homes, residential schools, and prisons. I realized going to prison was just a waste of my life. I now spend my time doing positive things. I like to play sports, read and learn all I can. Right now I attend classes at the Carnegie Learning Centre. I'm feeling good about myself for taking this positive step. George Robinson Untitled My name is Henry Langendoen. I was born in St.Catherines, Ontario. I left st.Catherines October 1, 1986 and arrived in Vancouver October 4th. I am at the Carnegie Learning Centre to get my Grade Twelve diploma. Miss Craig was my favourite teacher in school. She praised me a lot and I had a crush on her. I liked Mr. Cameron the least. He was too serious and authoritarian. Nobody liked him. I like to learn about Native and Viking history, geography, math, and science. I enjoy football, hockey, blues music, walking around Stanley Park, and hiking sometimes. Henry Langendoen Struggle My name is Satyavatha Chityali. I came to Canada February 16, 1968. I came from India. MY husband came to Canada in 1965. He went to school in Calgary to be a mechanical engineer. After he got his degree he got a job at a private company. My husband Off the Wall Page 29 ··-'- .. ,_ .... _ ....  sponsored me. I · was a housewife with no children . My husband didn't like to go out anywhere so I was lonely. I left my husband in 1982 to come to Vancouver. I hoped my life would get better. I feel my life is worse than before. In 1984 my husband got throat cancer and asked a friend for help. The friend made a false will and took all my husband's money and furniture when he died. I have had many problems trusting people. Many people borrowed money and never paid me back. I am hoping that God will help me make my life happier. I am learning to read, write, and speak English better at the Carnegie Learning Centre. Satyavatha Chityala Thanks and Apologies You were the closest one We trusted because we could not trust We knew each that the other knew why So the barred gates of frozen eyes and tight lips Were relaxed for what time We could allow ourselves We were always wavering never sure and easy like most friends But as with each meeting we let the pain loose let it force its way into the view of another It seemed less horrible I felt less alone Page 30 Off the Wall I needed you more than any other I think because I liked you less We were hard enough for all the hate Sad there had to be so much pain When I felt the need to hurt You were the closest one Judy Szonyi Bloody Knuckles Time taps through my blankness With some trivial trouble And the walls creep closer Nausea and frustration grapple my senses I become the enraged lab monkey Clawing at my cage The surrounding bars are background--not source Confusion pierces my thin control I cease to exist in a flare of response Once swallowed and now resurfacing I slam my fist in an expulsion Every muscle's desire to destroy the wall Plaster and paint crumble The rising of pain is nothing It is absorbed by the need to feel The snarl is gone but even in my blank face I am proven There is blood on my knuckles And you know that a heart beats through me Judy Szonyi Spring Poems The whole year we have four seasons Off the Wall Page 31 But we like Spring the most Everybody knows Spring is a wonderful time I hope that Spring lasts longer this year It is a wonderful time in my life Most people like the branches bearing snow This season reminds me that I miss my country It goes by very fast We have to wait until next year Tran Thuan I know it's spring because snow is melting Spring is coming quietly Spring is like something which is alive Spring smells like fresh air I know it's spring because sunlight is shining Spring is coming naturally Spring is like plants which are growing Spring smells like fresh vegetables I know it's spring because the new year is coming Spring is coming happily Spring is like a new-born baby who is smiling Spring smells like baby powder Spring brings happiness but sadness Ellis Cheung Spring is the season I like the most I look at the calendar Today is February 19 The spring semester started already The spring break is coming soon I look at the temperature gauge The temperature gets higher every day My blood follows the temperature I look at the outside through the windows of my bedroom Page 32 Off the Wall There is no snow There is no rain Flowers and butterflies instead of them Nothing can compare to spring Wince Lam The bright spring approaches every year It brings us unaccountable happiness It makes us active Unfairly, it cannot stay long with us. When it goes away, we have a heart sad mind Supposing we could keep it longer our lives would be bright as spring Oh how wonderful it is I love it forever Mr~ Shang I know it's spring because I hear the birds singing outside my window It looks like spring I see the cherry trees dressed in pink outside my backyard It smells like spring The air is so fresh and clean over the mountains It feels like spring The girls are dressed in shorts dancing in the streets Carol Yan Nineteenth of February, 1992. 2:20 in the afternoon Off the Wall Page 33 The clouds are so clear and the sun is high Children in the park are playing and laughing The streets are busy with people walking You can see in their smiles that it's spring again Oh! My favourite season is here. I can smell the fresh air Beautiful flowers have started to bloom People are planning what plants they should grow And I'm happy because it's spring again Winter seems so long, I almost cannot wait But now I'm happy, because it's spring again Maria T. Guilalas What season is it? I smell fragrance coming out from the beautiful flowers I see butterflies flying around I hear birds singing The sun smiles in the sky The grass grows rapidly Squirrels are dancing in the field I feel I'm melting in the natural What is it? Oh, it's wonderful spring Jim Cheng What is the symbol of spring I don't know Yellow, pink, red tulips are blooming and charming Lovely daffodils are laughing and dancing Page 34 Off the Wall Very warm feelings occupy my mind and let me jump into the sunshine Chill and winds hide themselves somewhere Everything is fresh Everything is fine! Anita Lo Spring is here the snowballs are gone grass and plants shrubs are sprouting night and day the sun is high frost and ice are gone for this year until next Allan Ronaldson Oh spring, you're my best friend of all seasons Being with winter was sad and dreary How much I wanted my hair to grow Spring, you always leap happily after winter marches away When winter was here, I had to spend two hundred on warm clothes Spring, now that you're here, I am going to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned so that I can smile even more for the next season to come Theresa Moosuk Off the Wall Page 35 The Passing of Moments To see a star with a single glow light up the heaven. To watch the earth revolve around the sun. To see a bird soar to success. Or a turtle crawling solidly along the ground. can time be stopped by holding the hands of a clock? Can time fly? Or is it just an illusion. Can a world be caught and held under our feet or end in a split second. Is this life or just a lie? A fiction, not reality at all. What is life but the passing of moments? Valerie Bachman Sex Education I think people should teach their children about sex. People should never be afraid of talking about this topic. It should become part of the learning process. But most of the time, parents do not think so and have trouble discussing such a topic with their children because they think it's kind of early to talk about it. Therefore, the only way for children to satisfy their natural curiosity is by video tapes through friends and some pornography. However, we all know that this misinformation about sex can really affect children's aspects of expressing love. In general, parents usually think that it is no use putting such ideas in children's heads. It's better to leave them innocent as long as possible. The only advice they would give is to stay out of trouble and not to get involved. But they never think ahead of how the lack of sexual knowledge can influence their children's minds. Believe it, there are a few horrible effects which can cause death, for instance venereal diseases and AIDS. Such diseases are far more dangerous and powerful than we think they are. In order to prevent the tragedy, children must be aware and recognize the danger of various diseases and unexpected results. Also, the teenage pregnancy, child molesting and rape are serious stuff too. These problems can cause teenage victims Page 36 O./fthe Wall to become unable to love or to be loved. These can also bring bad results such as emotional stress and psychological trauma. After all these reasons I think parents should reconsider sex education as important as anything. The meaning of sex is what makes children and expresses love. Evelyn c. A Walk in The Crab Park On April 21st, 1992, I was asked to take a walk to Crab Park, I was much astonished with such an invitation at such an early moment. As all my friends knew that I was suffering severely from gout which caused me pain when walking. Could I stay behind in the classroom or follow them out? It was a problem for me to choose, but finally I made my decision to follow them to go out to see the world. It took me to walk on foot from Carnegie Learning Centre to the Park about twelve minutes. When I was approaching our destination, I found that the scenery moved me much. It is situated in front of the sea water facing North Vancouver. Behind the Park, it is surrounded by a railway line and some high rise buildings, such as the Vancouver Place, the Water Front Centre, the newly built Pacific Hotel, etc. On the eastern side of the Park there is situated a pretty large container wharf and a sea-food canning factory. Some motor cranes which were busily removing the cargoes to and fro, were occasionally seen. The ferry, which we call ''sea-bus'' in Canada, is busily carrying passengers across the water front. After a long admiration of the scenery of the Park, I felt a little too much burden for my legs to support, so I took a seat on the bench by the side of an old man. The old man was wearing an old cloak and was holding a can of beer. He sipped the beer occasionally and glanced at the waves of the sea or looked at the sea-gulls perching on the pillars of the wharf. He seemed to meditate of what was in the past of his life. Off the Wall Page 37 After a long period peeping at the old man, I began to talk with him. He told me that he was a seaman when he was young. Most of his time in the past he left his family behind to struggle for his living in the wide blue sea. What he saw in the past were waves of the ocean and the seagulls following behind the steamer. He felt lonely after his retirement. He had nothing to amuse himself but to sit alone on the beach facing the sea. After we had chattered for a while, I said good-bye to him and left for my lunch. Andrew Pun The Life of My Family - Pauline's Writings My Father Comes to Canada My father was born in Beijing in 1950. When he was a little boy he lived on a boat. They called it a junk. They were not rich people. He left Beijing to find a job but there was not work in Hong Kong for him. He left Hong Kong by boat and came to Canada. He found a job working in a kitchen as a cook in Victoria. He worked a seven day week from 8am to 12 midnight. The owner of the restaurant asked my father if he wanted to buy the restaurant from him. My father asked my mother if she wanted to go half on the restaurant. He kept it until 1965 when they sold it. Then my parents headed to Vancouver to buy a new restaurant, they looked at all different kinds of restaurants to buy. Most of them were very expensive and not in very good condition. My Grandmother My grandmother likes to help other people. When she was four years old she went to the Mission School for four years. She used to always tell us about the old days, when she was in the Mission School, she wasn't allowed to speak her language. She had to speak English or she would get punished. They forced my Page 38 , Off the Wall grandmother to speak English in Residential School and she had to wear the uniform in the school every day. They weren't allowed to talk at the table, and also you had to have good posture. When We Lived in a Lighthouse When my parents came from Victoria we all lived in a tall white lighthouse. It was in the east end of Vancouver. There was my brother Morgan, and my four sisters. My dad made four bedrooms on the top floor of the lighthouse for the girls, and also made two bedrooms on the main floor for my brother and my parent's room. On the bottom part he made a cooking area and a living room too. He also made a railing that went up the stairs. When my mother and father came to Vancouver, they couldn't afford to own a place. All they found was a lighthouse so we lived there. Some of my friends couldn't understand my parents because we were living in a lighthouse and not in an ordinary house like them. At night we beautiful. thing to go lighthouse, On The Street When I was at home it daughter. family. could see the whole of Vancouver. It was very You felt like you were in space. It's an interesting through. If somebody asked me to live in a I would. a teenager, I ran away from home. When I was living was bad. My father thought that I wasn't his My family treated my like the black sheep of the I lived on the streets for about two years. ever I could lay my head, sleeping under the friends. I used to go to all the food lines free meals. I used to live where bridge with my and the churches for When I was fourteen I started to work on the streets. I met Off the Wall Page 39 these two guys. They took me in for a while, but they said for helping me that I had to work for them, or they would throw me out on the street again. I was so afraid of going back to living on the streets that I did it for them a little while. I made about three hundred dollars a day on the street. If I didn't make that, the guys would beat me up or throw me out. I used to go to sleep for a couple hours, and than go back out again and stay out all night. Then one day I didn't feel well, and I didn't feel like going out to work. One of the guys beat me up till he broke my arm and gave me two black eyes. He threw me out on the street. I went to the police station. I told them what had happened but the police didn't believe me. Then I tried to go home to straighten things out. After a few weeks my parents sent me to the Welfare office and they put me in a group home for a year and a half. I went back home, but it didn't work out. How I Met My Street Sister, Ann I met my street sister Ann, when I first was living on the street. I was fourteen years old. She wondered why I was always walking late at night. One early morning my street sister found me sleeping between two buildings. So she woke me up and asked me if I wanted something to eat with her. My street sister Ann asked, why I lived where I did? My family didn't want me anymore and they didn't care for me. When I need money I worked at nights. Sometimes if I had the money I'd get a hotel room and sleep. But not all the time was it a good day for me. Ann asked if I could find a better place. My street sister Ann tried to explain to my parents about me, but they didn't want to listen to Ann. My street sister couldn't believe how they were about their daughter. Then, one afternoon, my oldest sister Hazel came back from Ontario. She heard what my family had done to me. She came to the street sister's place, and took care of me till I was old enough to take care of myself. Page 40 Off the Wall POTATOES PANCAKES 6 potatoes 1 onion 1 cup flour 1 egg Grate the six potatoes, than add chopped onion, egg and flour and stir it together . Then wait for five minutes, then put the frying pan on and add vegetable oil or lard. Then get a tablespoon and put four pancakes in the frying pan for at least five minutes each side. Make sure that they're brown. My father prepared it for me when I was a little girl. My father made it for me, and he was very special to me. When my family was having our dinner we used to have it once a month. And it tastes good. Pauline Robinson The Reunion Day Celebration in China on September 15 More than a thousand years ago, an angel left heaven. She weaved every day, every year .... One day, she suddenly thought to go · down to earth. So that she sunk away to go down to earth and to get married to a young peasant. Two years later, they had two children. She weaved Off the Wall Page 41 nice things for sale. Her husband worked at the field, year after year •.•• They were happy. One day, God found that his angel was missing from heaven. He asked his guard, ' ' Where has she been?'' The guard replied, ' ' She went down to Earth.'' ''I want her back!'' God angrily said. Then the guard went down to the angel's house, caught her and brought her to heaven. Her husband, the young peasant rode after her on a bull with their two children. When they got to the door of heaven, the guard would not let them in. He burst into tears with his children at the front door. God had punished her violation. God allowed her to see her husband and children only once a year . • •• From this time, on people remember this old line orphean story. When this day comes, the moon is very nice and full. All husbands, wives, children, and lovers get together and look at the nice full moon, eat moon cake, and celebrate the reunion. Ping Li Page 42 Off the Wall Off the Wall Page 43 The UBC Library and UBC Learning Exchange would like to thank the following participants for their contributions to digitizing this community-generated document: Wilson Liang; Joseph Sparovec This community-generated work was digitized and deposited to cIRcle, UBC's open access digital repository, as part of the Digitizing Community Memories project of the Making Research Accessible in the Downtown Eastside initiative (MRAi). In collaboration with the UBC Learning Exchange and UBC Library, the project provided training and support for community members in the Downtown Eastside to digitize and make openly available community-generated materials.  This project aimed to increase access to historic Carnegie Centre publications and preserve these unique materials for years to come.  For more information on this project and the UBC Learning Exchange, please visit learningexchange.ubc.ca  September 27, 2017 


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