Chapter One The Early Years

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Chapter One - The Early Years
How I Died
Around 1933-34, my mother Anne Moen was a 14-year-old Swedish drifter trying to find work for room and board. During the depression, money was scarce and room and board was about all a drifter could hope for. A Scottish lady, Marion McC took her in. Marion lived in the little town of Wapella, Saskatchewan. Anne did housework for Marion in exchange for a roof over her head and some food. Shortly after Anne moved in, Marion married an Irishman by the name of John C. At the time, they were both in their late 50s.

When she was 15, John soon took a sexual interest in Anne and raped her. She gave birth to twins, Albert and Agnes. Shortly after the twins were born, my mother threw them in the garbage and they died. She murdered them and got away with it. I often wondered how my life might have been different if my brother and sister had lived. In those days, there was virtually no law and people could easily get away with murder. John raped her at least one time when she was 16 and I was born. This time she was taken to the city of Regina, about 150 miles west where she gave birth to me in a hospital. I was born on April 7, 1936. She named me Vincent Moen. After returning to Wapella, she threw me away too and I died as well.

Wapella was a very tightly-knit community and everyone knew what everyone else did. What happened to my siblings and me was common knowledge as I later found out. My mother had actually taken me out in the bush and threw me naked into a slough. My body was in the water but my head rested on a rock. Marion who became my foster mother was part of a Scottish witch coven. She was the white witch of the family and she apparently had special powers as well as her family. She located me in her mind and sent a search party to find me.

A cowboy found me, wrapped me in a horse blanket and took me to the town doctor. Marion was waiting for me at the doctor's office. When the doctor examined me, I had no heart beat and was not breathing. He pronounced me dead and told Marion that he would bury me in an unmarked grave (a pauper’s grave). Marion said "No, I'm taking him home" and so she did. She cooked up some strange broth and force-fed me. She revived me. She brought me back to life. Marion then kicked my mother out and I never got to know her.

I believe this incident had a profound and drastic affect on my life. I know that babies can feel emotional pain and anger even though they may not be able to express it or be consciously aware of it. When a mother kills her child, that is the ultimate rejection - the one thing that everyone fears more than anything else. But I survived death, and rejection has been the common thread through my entire life.

My Foster Family
Marion had a half-sister Christy McP, and a half-brother Malcolm McC they and a group of others came to Canada when they were young on what they claimed to be a sister ship to the Mayflower. They came from Uist in the Outer Hebrides of northern Scotland. Christy was the high priestess of a black witch coven along with her brother Malcolm, another sister and several cohorts. While practicing their witchcraft, they would draw a huge circle on the ground containing a pentangle and a devil’s head. I was told that they sacrificed animals there and there were rumors that they sometimes sacrificed human babies. Malcolm was a warlock. On several occasions I witnessed first hand the supernatural powers of Christy and Malcolm.

I was now the foster child of John and Marion C. The town at that time was predominantly people of Scottish descent. The town was originally settled by Jewish people and the famous Bronfman family came from here. Highland Gaelic was now the common language spoken even though they could speak perfect English. I never understood a word they were saying, but I remember part of a song Marion used to sing. It went something like "sherm shua sherm shea har apout the rury acum. A smoongiasic meesavatin har apout the rury." There were lots of pipers in Wapella. I loved the bagpipes because they sounded so weird.

My earliest memories go back to when I was about seven months old. This is when I learned to talk. At first I had trouble pronouncing words. It was late fall and getting cold outside. I would notice smoke rising from chimneys. I remember a sentence I was trying to say, "There's moke coming out of the domy tote". I meant, there's smoke coming out of the German church.

Wapella was a primitive pioneer farming community in the 30s and 40s. The town was proud of its four grain elevators, but it remained far behind the times until at least the 50s. We lived in an uninsulated wooden shack with two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen which was like an add on. There were two hatches in the kitchen floor. One was to the root cellar with a ladder to the dirt floor. Actually, it was a big hole dug in the dirt below the floor to store food for the winter. John, or ‘Jack’ as I came to call him, had a huge garden behind the house. He grew enough food to barter for things we didn't have. The other hatch was for the cistern - a hole about two feet wide with water in the bottom. Perishables like milk, cream, butter, cheese, eggs etc. were lowered in a wicker basket to just above the water line. It kept everything fresh during the hot summers.

Jack and Marion, or "Gramma" as I used to call her, always slept in separate bedrooms. I always slept with Gramma. In the 12 years I was with them, I never at any time saw any affection between them. I never even saw any evidence that they ever had sex. In all that time I never at any time got any affection from either of them, not even a hug.

The mattresses were huge bags of straw that were refilled every spring. In winter, we slept under a thick down comforter. Gramma would heat up glad irons at night and put them at the foot of the beds before turning in. We had an old coal and wood stove for heating and cooking. On cold winter mornings, Jack would get up an hour early, start a fire in the stove and jump back into bed. Within an hour the house would be warm enough to get up. There was no electricity or indoor plumbing. For lighting, we used coal-oil lamps. It became one of my jobs to clean the glass chimneys. There was an outhouse some distance from the house which was awkward in the cold snowy winters. Sometimes we had to shovel a path to it. Later when I was around five, Jack got an indoor potty to use in the winter. There was no toilet paper, paper towels or tissues. The only paper in the town was the small weekly newspaper. It was precious and used sparingly, mostly for cleaning lamp chimneys. In the fall, we would get a Simpson's Sears catalogue. That became our toilet paper in winter. In summer, it was a handful of grass.

Our drinking water came from one of the two town wells. It later became my job to get the water. I would be given two tin buckets and fill each one half full. I wasn't strong enough to carry a full bucket. When I got home I would empty one bucket into the other and we had a pail of drinking water. There was a tin dipper in the bucket and everyone drank from it including visitors. Saturday was bath day in a square wash tub. In summer, we used water from the rain barrel which had lots of bugs and leaves in it. In winter, we melted snow in the tub and warmed up the water. It sat in the middle of the living room floor and I was the first to bathe with lye soap, then Gramma, and then Jack.

Some people in town had wells under the kitchen and had a pump beside a sink. Malcolm McC, the warlock, was the town diviner. Anyone wanting a well came to him. He used a forked stick and if there was water, the stick would point down. I was told he never failed.

My earliest memories of Gramma washing clothes was on a glass washboard in the square wash tub. Some years later we got a washing machine. A long wooden handle came up from the side of it that was attached to an agitator. It had to be moved back and forth. Then there was a ringer with two rubber rollers attached to a crank. Gramma also had a spinning wheel to make strings of wool. I also remember the little wooden butter churn. The three of us lived on Jack’s $36-a-month pension. Pensions weren't available to women then but we still lived pretty good. Gramma was good at making preserves and she did a lot of baking. The best memories of her was when a hot loaf of bread came out of the oven. She would cut off a crust and I would smear it with butter and peanut butter. It tasted so good. Peanut butter became my lifetime favorite food.

As a toddler of about eighteen months old I was already very inquisitive and getting into everything. Once I found a $5 bill and was trying to clean the stove with it. I didn't know what it was, but Jack saw me with it and grabbed it away from me. $5 was a lot of money in those days.

I remember enjoying listening to the radio. It was the only source of entertainment. Jack had a shortwave radio that was powered by a wet cell battery and a dry cell. The wet cell had to be periodically charged at the garage and it became one of my jobs to take it there. I remember the gas pumps. The top half was like a glass cylinder and the gas was pumped by hand. The three most common radio stations we listened to were in Minot, North Dakota, Wheeling, West Virginia and the BBC in London, England.

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