It might be a long boring story but I think it might need to be told so here it is brace yourselves.
August 1976: I am 20 years old, homeless, freshly out of a detox centre, more than likely highly bipolar but undiagnosed yet for another 25 years.
I spent May 1976 at Domremy in Ste-Genevieve…ended there not so much because I needed detox but more because I needed a place to live. My dad did not want me. My mum did not want me and my mom’s boyfriend at the time suggested Domremy as his son had just been there so I applied and was accepted.
It was supposed to last 3 months but it only lasted one month for reasons I have yet to really understand. Other ‘inmates’ had a proper psychologist assigned to them as their counsellor, me and my usual ‘luck’ ended up with nurse Radched, a RN named Monique Gravel.
Even though I kind of liked her, it seems to me she took a profound dislike for yours truly, a bit a la nurse Radched really.
She had read this tiny tiny little comic book about people carrying a façade and all of a sudden she had become an absolute expert in the dark recess of the minds, a professional psychologist in 12 pages with an honorary cartoon certificate.
I did have some good times though at Domremy I have to say. I won the ping-pong A tournament, the badmindton B tournament and I lost 35 lbs in 30 days eating gravy and ham all you can eat. That running around the compound and intense ping pong training must have had something to do with it. I went from 225 lbs down to 190. The trainer took a special attention to check my pulse everyday as I ran 6 times around the place with a dreadful look on his face that said not on my shift I hope.
So back to Radched here, and my lifetime fear of group therapy to this day, one experience I vividly remember is one of those therapies where Radched was in charge and she decided that my façade was going to fall off today come hell or high water. So she lead the charge and they all took turn battering my soul to the very core. I hug my pillow in silence all along and after the longest hour ever and only after the last one had left and closed the door behind him, I wept the warmest bitterest tears of my life buried in my pillow to muffle the sound of my bawling. Why me? What the fuck have I done? What is happening here?
So long story short after a month of this Radched sent my ass back home saying something like IIRC that I had become too dependent on them. And again IIRC she kind of applied her own projection and called ME manipulative
So here I am out in the world, got myself a place with a mate from Domremy on Darling Street near Sherbrooke free just before the Montreal Olympics.
Dumped the apartment in no time and took off in a wild and dangerous adventure on a whim after hearing Supertramp’s Dreamer. Hitched hiked 1400 miles with one extra pair of underwear and one extra t-shirt for total baggage, nearly died and cried and what not but wait am ahead of myself here
While I was on Darling I saw the Olympic marathon running on Sherbrooke, The Montreal Olympic stadium was just a few blocks away, and I used to visit this other girl from Domremy, I’d walked through the Olympic parking and go see her for a couple of beer and a chat. Once on my way there I met this 14 year old kid called Eric Wingender. Stopping to bum a cigarette I got a three hours sermon instead and somehow through a ‘series of unfortunate events’ which to my great dismay I mistook for fortunate I ended up praying on the hood of a car becoming “born again”. Let’s keep going with this story while we’re at it.
Feeling somewhat elated I joined the central Baptist church, one of the suggested choices of my new friend, and my first sermon was on one of my fav books to this day, Ecclesiastes Chapter 12.
A very poetic passage in fact and one that also mentions a SILVER CORD with which I was really impressed having just finished a series of books by Lobsang Rampa speaking of astral bodies and silver cords and all.
So here I am in my new life ready to move in with friends on the condition that I quit smoking of course which is primordial we all know in a good pharisaic life, that and booze have to go.
Trying to recollect all this in time now I was quite familiar by then with “La Maison du Pere”, the only homeless shelter I would trust and to whom I almost belong too, even though at the time I was a bit of an illegal alien as one had to be 25 to be a legal proper homeless hobo.
So when La maison du pere offered a $2 weekend somewhere with horse rides, board rides, bus fares and all I gladly accepted.
That encounter in the parkink lot was Thursday August the 21st, 1976 so that weekend must have been August 21st-22nd IIRC again.
So here is one of the stories I remember vividly and a very interesting one at least to me, still not completely understood to this day.
Here I am at 190 lbs I assume, 20 years old, had one girlfriend in my whole life so far and it was well over with. Sitting on the bus, minding my own business, and this girl got my attention as she was well errrrr right up my alley, dark hair, petite and that’s about all I remember, faceless and nameless for ever … She stares at me and walks to me and says your name is Leo Caissy. I am quite impressed so far, I would have loved to think that I would certainly have remembered such a face but apparently not. She says she was a friend of Manon D., my first girlfriend and she met me once at another friend of hers, called Claudette?, and she thought I was the cat’s meow, the kindest man on earth, for loving and caring for a pregnant 16 year old girl when I wasn’t even the father of the child. (Manon and I went out together during her whole pregnancy, and I got dumped shortly after the baby arrived mainly due to a drunken MIL who hated my guts tremendously in her delirium tremens, we got back together shortly after that but it didn’t last and this time I ended it, there is a pattern here btw)
So back to my bus ride, we get off the bus and all the others go their way and all I remember is hours of being lost in each other’s eyes but there was a hick. It had been two years since we met and in the meanwhile, she feeling a little low self-esteem (on the fact that she was a little flat chested according to her) she picked up the first good man with a job that wanted her and married him but if and if and if blah blah blah life could have been absolutely awesome.
So at the end of a long day, we exchanged phone numbers and parted. I had quit smoking for 10 days by then. So I spent the longest 2-3 days of my life in some sort of a gigantic dilemma and “spiritual” battle. I had been attracted to her first because of that little brown wooden cross she was wearing or at least it sure was a good conversation opener but to my mind she wasn’t Christian and moreover she was definitely married. So my three days in the desert even though there was no sweating of blood here there was actual physical pain chest over the huge dilemma and temptation..
Having asked my new friends in vain (Jean O. and Cie) I somehow thought that I had won this battle and came to the very hard and I mean very hard decision that it was NOT going to happen and that it was not right and I should tell her so too.
By the time we met I felt pretty proud of myself and smug and let’s say it self-righteous too but I never had time to show off like I planned because SHE TOLD ME. She had been reproved by all of her friends, what are you doing talking to this man all day, neglecting your husband, don’t you remember you ARE a married woman and blah blah blah so she sent me away asking me never to contact her again before I could say a single word and I was absolutely floored and devastated.
Having prepared myself for a front attack on my balls and lust and feeling proud for winning it I got hit in the back right in my pride that took a huge hit and I said “well if that is how cunning the devil is, Christianity is a little too much for me” and out the window it went and into my mouth popped the next cigarette.
It does sound childish in hindsight but back then it was extremely serious. It was much more than lust too, so much more. In fact lust wasn’t really in the mind, just a very silly romantic notion of love I had been carrying all my life with me and that was much too often unreturned, unrequited.
So cig and tshirt and knickers in hand, well the last two in a very small plastic Cojana bag, here I am 700 miles away from home lost and crying, that story is written once or twice somewhere.
Finally got back home, we are now in September 1976 or so and I got a new job and a new room to live in, in Ville St Laurent. I lost that boring job at Trans Canada Music in two weeks, wasting way too much time in the bathroom, having too much time on my hands if you know what I mean. J
I had my room paid for 2 more weeks but I had no money for food so since it was the same 50 cents that covered the meal and the bed at La maison du pere I often staid in while I was there anyway, being used to the place by now and lining up with hobos who were having long conversations with their invisible mates. (I always wished I could have heard the other half of the convo too).
One night on the 12th of October 1976, an infamous Tuesday, I had my meal and was ready for bed but the authorities came to me and told me they could not keep me for that night since there were visited by city inspectors and the law said no one under 25, so they kindly kicked me out. I was going to go back to my room in Ville St-Laurent but this other young bloke, a redhead, who also had been kicked out said, I heard of this place called La Porte Ouverte would you like to come? I thought well I do have a room but in two weeks it won’t be there anymore and if they start tightening the noose here I better start hunting for a new acceptable place soon, so there I went.
There was a yellow bright sign and some verses on it which I quickly checked. A fat sleepy man opened the door and send us on the second floor in the men’s dormitory where I ended up in a somewhat special bed all surrounded by curtains for privacy, from an eccentric Alain Pelletier I heard, the only one with privacy on this whole floor.
We got there late but I remember vividly being wide awake and full of energy at 7 AM (a certain sign of absolute mania, hindsight is 20/20) and I had to ‘convince’ these guys that I belong there.
The rest might be too boring for now,
a long tug of war of cult tactics and mind breaking that lasted for years.
So here it is for now I threw my last cig for the next 12 years in that toilet on Adam Street, 4488.
Richard Bujold, Alain Pelletier, Elaine Durocher, Yves Alarie you were all there.
I still am not close to the part where ‘he’ became a ‘she’ but that is another long story.
Léo Caissy met Léo Caissie on October 12th, 1976
Ecc 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
Ecc 12:2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
Ecc 12:3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
Ecc 12:4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;
Ecc 12:5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
Ecc 12:6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
Ecc 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.