On the path to reconciliation

Sandra Hayes-Gardiner’s (l.) memoir recounts her upbringing in a racially divided town in Manitoba and her journey from ignorance to understanding the impact of systemic racism.” FULL STORY

Straight talk about straitjackets

September 21st, 2015

Born in Seattle in 1947, of Finnish heritage, Ernest Hekkanen has waited until his 47th book, False Memories and Other Likely Tales (New Orphic $18), to describe a pivotal event in the Seventh Grade, at Lynnwood Junior High School, which would strongly influence him for the rest of his life. His condensed version is:

“I found myself in a block class full of misfits, underachievers and emotionally disturbed children. When I surveyed my fellow classmates, I couldn’t fathom what I was doing among them. Our teacher, Tiny Thorton, ruled the class with an iron fist. He began the school year with an illustrated lecture, one that necessitated putting a ‘guinea pig’ on display. That year the role of ‘guinea pig’ fell to me. He strapped me into a straitjacket and proceeded to lecture us on how our bad attitudes had come to straitjacket our lives. According to him, most of us would end up failures of one kind or another, if we were unable to shirk the attitudes that had come to confine us. My role was to demonstrate how difficult it would be to get out of the straitjacket each and every one of us had come to wear. Were I to get out of it I would be allowed to smoke in class for the rest of the school year, but were I to fail, the other kids were given permission to throw spit wads and crumpled balls of paper at me… Needless to say, I didn’t get out of the straitjacket, and needless to say, I swore I’d never be put in one ever again.” 978-1-894842-26-6

One Response to “Straight talk about straitjackets”

  1. Blaise Enright says:

    No wonder Mr. Hekkanen is such a creative person …I would love to have had a teacher like that to set me free on life’s journey being that I had the antithesis of his experience being the only so-called and didn’t know it – different” person in grade school. I thought everyone else was strange….love the story.

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