Some Things We Didn’t Know

 

That smoking is bad for you. In fact we went from stronger to stronger brands: Black Cat, Sweet Caporal, Export A and finally Old Port Cigarillos, even though they made us sick. Once we even smoked punk wood that we found growing near the lake.

 

That X-rays are dangerous. We used to stop at the shoe store on the way home at lunchtime to put our feet in the x-ray machine and look at our feet bones, and once I had a Planter’s Wart that was removed by a huge x-ray gun operated by a man in a lead suit. The wart fell off within a day.

 

That the CIA had murdered Patrice Lumumba, President of the Congo.

 

That some children in our classrooms were often seriously harmed by their own parents

 

That the last Lake Ontario salmon was caught in 1898, after which they became extinct.

 

That the RCAF firebombed Hamburg and Dresden.

 

That Duncan Campbell Scott, whose poem beginning with the line ‘Last night a storm fell on the world’ was in our reader, was also the Deputy Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, who was the main architect of the residential schools policy.

 

That some kids in our class were being taken away from their families by the government, and sent to residential schools.

 

That we were in someone else’s place, and that their descendants were among our classmates.

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