My therapy for depression... (The whole story by MWM)

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1)

Ok so let’s begin……

I was rather small for an eleven year old. Most of my friends were at least half a head taller than me and most weighed considerably more than I did as well.

I had a lot of friends at that time but for whatever reason I also had enemies in the school. One boy in particular, a big fat guy way bigger than me, found it funny to spread stories about me to the other kids. He would make up stories about me and then tell anyone who would listen. Soon there were so many stories going around about me (and another boy) that I did not want to go to school anymore.

If he had hit or kicked me it would have been way better than spreading degrading stories. Actually ANYTHING would have been better than that.

I decided to take things into my own hands and waited for him behind the bicycle sheds after school one day. He never knew what hit him “WHAM!” and he went down like a bag of cement. I was left standing there with a garden spade in my hands and he lay on the ground unconscious. His nose was broken and bloodied and the following morning at school proved interesting….. He had two black eyes a broken nose and a LOT of swelling all over his face.

Later that morning I was called into the head mistresses office to explain myself. I told the truth about the stories and how I just could not take it anymore.

My parents were called to the school and I was sent home. That night my father thought it best to punish me and I endured 5 or 6 lashes with a stick on my butt. It hurt so badly but I was sure the spade to the face hurt a lot more so it was worth it.

The following day I never went to school. I was taken to the local hospital where I was interrogated by a so called “child specialist” Not a real doctor but a “psychologist” She asked me all kinds of questions but seemed bent on making me say I enjoyed hitting the other boy. She kept on and on about it until eventually I agreed with her to get her to stop even though it was not true. She told my mother I had a lot of anger in me and had no control of my emotions. She referred me to a “psychiatrist” ( I didn’t know the difference between the two then. I thought it was just another “head doctor” ) This psychiatrist thought it best to put me on some “medicine” to help control my outbursts of rage???? (I had only ever hit that one boy and then only once)

The following months were mostly a blur. I had no idea what was going on around me most of the time and yes it did stop any violence or anger on my part, mainly because I was as high as a kite 24/7.

My grades at school dropped so low and I was unable to concentrate on anything at all. Everything was sort of floating almost all the time. Words sounded like they didn’t fit in my head. People’s faces seemed to change all the time and I was totally unable to ride my bike. I didn’t want to eat because all the food tasted the same, if nothing is a taste? Nothing had any meaning for me anymore. I was out of it!


2)

Some months late after many dosage changes and medicine changes my mother decided to take me to see another doctor. This time a medical doctor who worked mainly with kids.

Dr W. Was a big German woman with a heavy accent. She said to stop the medication immediately. I spent a few weeks “coming out of it” and soon I could understand what people were saying to me. I could taste food again and could even balance on my bike again. Things were looking up for me I thought.

Well at the next visit Dr W. asked me a LOT of questions. Most were okay as far as I can remember but some hurt. She asked me if I liked boys…. In that way? She asked if the stories at my school (How she knew the stories I don’t know) were true about me and the other boy in the stories…… The questions kept coming fast. Then she went on to talk about my feelings of anger and violence…. Well a whole bunch of things I don’t remember but some things stuck in my head. One of those things that stuck, was the question about liking other boys. I had told her the truth and said yes I liked other boys…… in that way! A hard thing to do but I thought if I told the truth it would be best for me.

She asked me to take down my pants and underwear and lay over the bed on my chest and letting my feet touch the floor. I will never forget what happened next. She put a little rubber glove (I know now it was a condom) on her finger and dipped it into a jar of something. Then she told me to relax as much as I could and inserted her finger into my butt. It was HORRIBLE! WHY? Why would she do that to me? I remember thinking to myself. (It was only many years later I learned about inserting a finger into a child's anus to see if he/she would dilate indicating having had anal penetration). She left me to get dressed and went out to speak to my mother. Soon afterwards we went home.

Nothing was spoken about when I got home but I knew something was up. My parents were treating me differently… Not a lot but some things just were not the same any more.


3)

After a week had passed with atmosphere as thick as syrup in the house….. It was time to go back and see the “Doctor” again…… I pleaded with my mom not to make me go there. She said I had to but I continued to plead with her all the way to Dr W’s. offices. I disliked this woman doctor so intensely I was all knotted up inside. She didn’t see me as a person but rather as a thing that needed fixing. She had no respect for my privacy. I will never forget or forgive her for doing the finger in my butt thing without even explaining what was going on. Fuck! She could have just asked me about whatever and I would have told her the truth.

Well on this visit she told my mom in front of me that I had anger issues. She totally played down the “likes other boys thing” as if it meant nothing, brushing it off with as little as…. “oh that is nothing to worry about he will outgrow it in no time at all”

On the way home I completely broke down and let it all out….. I remember crying and telling my mom how much I hated this “woman” doctor, she was even worse than the one with all the pills. I said I would no longer speak to any “woman doctors” and I would not let any of them touch me or make me take pills ever again! I remember screaming over and over again "What is wrong with me, what is wrong with me?" I felt so confused, cheated, deceived, violated and totally, totally alone! I was just empty inside.

Something must have got through to my mom, during that drive home.... A day later I got home from school to find Dr S. sitting in the lounge drinking tea with my mom. Dr S. was what we referred to in those days as a family doctor. (I suppose today he would be a GP.) I liked Dr S., he had been my doctor as long as I could remember. I never knew why my mom had not taken me to him first when all the problems started. Anyway Dr S. was there and that was good.

After spending time with Dr S. and my mom in the lounge just chatting about all kinds of stuff……. But never mentioning my “problems” Dr S. got up and said it was time for him to go. Then he did the best thing… He wrote down his home phone number on one of his calling cards and gave it to me. He told me “This is for you my boy. If you need me I am there for you. You can call me anytime day or night okay?” handing me my very own card. I walked out to his car with him and as he was getting into his car he said to me something like…. “ I could use some help with my garden and the koi sometime.” I knew where Dr S. lived because I had been rushed to his house on two occasions, once falling from a tree and breaking my arm and the other time when I had been hit by a bicycle while crossing the road and putting a huge gash in my head.

Yup I knew where the good doctor lived alright. I planned to go visit the very next Saturday.


4)

Now let me describe Dr S.

He was an older man (to me at the time REALLY old) in reality he was well into his late sixties or early seventies. He was tall and lean. His skin didn’t quite fit properly and was all sort of wrinkled in most areas I could see. His eyes were a smoky blue like the sky with the look of many years of life experience, of seeing things other normal people just could not see. He sort of looked into me not at me, almost like he was reading me inside. He had a full head of silver hair that blew in the wind and made him look a little like Merlin the magician. His hands shook a little as did his bottom lip. His heart, although I couldn’t see it must have filled his entire chest (as I was to find out much later)

Saturday morning arrived. I was up early and had taken a shower, cleaned my teeth and had breakfast all before 6am.

Mom said I could not go to the doctors until at least 9am.... The longest three hours of my life. Finally it was 9am and I got on my bike and sped off down the road towards Dr S’s home.

As I pulled into Dr S’s driveway I saw him in the garden. He was trimming the roses and had on a pair of shorts that made his legs look so funny. He also was wearing an old shirt full of paint stains and a pair of garden gloves that had seen better days. I threw down my bike in the driveway and jumped the little hedge that was between the driveway and where he was working in the garden.

“Morning Dr S” I called out. He straightened up and said “Good morning my boy” (Funny, he always called me “my boy” even from before, when I went to see him for medical stuff, or when he made a house call when I was sick) Dr S put his arm around my shoulder and gave me a sideways hug. “Hope you don’t mind getting a little dirty today?” He asked. “No not at all” I replied feeling his hug tightly around my shoulders. I could smell his Old Spice doctor smell but it was mixed with a little bit of a sweaty smell as well…. I sniffed it in ….. This is what a Grandpa should smell like I thought. I wanted that hug to go on forever and never stop.

Both my own grandfathers had long since passed away. One long before I was even born and the other when I was seven, so I didn’t know much about grandpas.

All I knew was that hug, that smell and that man. It just felt right! I knew deep down inside me, that everything was going to be okay, I just knew.


5)

That first Saturday in the garden with Dr S is burned deep into my memory as one of the most positive life changing days I have ever experienced. It may be selective memories but everything was perfect that day. The weather was good, the aromas of the garden, the little wireless radio on the porch playing Art Linkletter and the kids saying the darndest things… Oh how Dr S and I laughed at those funny kids on the radio.

We spent most of the morning in the rose garden and sorting out a few of the other flowers that needed tending. Digging out old dead plants and trimming back others.

Lunch was tuna salad sandwiches and fresh fruit juice to wash it all down with. Now I mean REAL fruit juice that Dr S had squeezed himself on his juice machine thingy in the kitchen. He made a mix of oranges and grapefruit together. It was sweet and tart at the same time. The best part was he would take the glasses and dip the rims into egg-white and then into sugar before pouring the ice cold juice into the glasses. It made the juice taste even better.

After lunch it was time to clean the koi ponds. There were three ponds. One large pond for adult fish and two smaller ponds for the fry. I was interested to know why he had to separate the older ones from the younger ones. So I asked…. He laughed and said fish don’t see the fry as their children they just see a possible meal. I could not understand that very well but accepted what Dr S had to say as gospel. I never questioned him more about that because I did not want to sound stupid. Cleaning the ponds was a messy job and was not to much fun but it was okay. I did like it when we netted a few of the larger fry from the first small pond and put them in the next small pond. Sort of like fishing without hurting the fish.

All to quickly the day came to and end. Both of us were sweaty. I am sure I stank but that made no difference to Dr S. When I was ready to get on my bike and head for home before it got dark, I thanked Dr S for the great day we had together. He said it was him who had to thank me. (I never understood why). He took me into his arms and hugged me so tightly I could hardly breath. At the same time he dropped a shilling (Ten Cents) into my shirt pocket. Now back then a shilling was a lot of money for a kid. It was like I just had an extra birthday.

I rode home with my head up in the clouds, proud of being able to help Dr S in his garden, happy that he had hugged me twice in one day, happy he called me “My Boy” many times during the day. Oh I was happy so very happy.


6)

Many happy Saturdays came and went that summer with Dr S. He made me feel whole in many ways but I was still “missing something” I needed more than hugs I needed more than just a really good friend that understood me. I needed love of a different kind….. Not the warm caring platonic love Dr S gave me. That was good as well but I needed, I yearned for, another kind of love from someone who was not like a much loved grandfather to me.

I never told Dr S about these feelings welling up inside me more and more every day. There were some things I just could not talk about, even with him. (How I wish now that I had because I think he would have known how to deal with it in a better way)

I had made friends with a local kid who had an adult friend who was a mechanic. I loved all things mechanical so I asked if I could go along the next time he went to visit.

Although I was interested in the mechanical stuff I was more interested in the boy. Now this boy (who I shall call Bob) was a year or so younger than me and he was very good looking. Not handsome like the manly guys in the cigarette adverts, no he was soft and gentle. He had blond hair and blue eyes. His skin was pale white, almost see-through at times if the light was just right. His hands were delicate and he had unusually long thin fingers. This boy made me feel very strange. I wanted to hold him close and maybe kiss him on his lips. I fantasized that he was a doctor and he would invite me into his garden……..

Well time passed and I was finally invited to go along to meet the mechanic guy.

Bob and I started out on our bikes. We rode slowly through the streets at first, chatting and doing “bike tricks” trying to out-do each other. I found myself staring at his legs all smooth and white. What a beautiful shape they were as well. His calf muscles were not big but perfectly formed. His shorts seemed to be too small for him by a season or two but he filled them out very well as far as I was concerned. I rode behind him much of the way saying he should lead because he knew the way. Not the whole reason but reasonable I thought. Actually I just liked riding behind him so I could stare at him. I could watch his legs pumping those pedals and his butt cheeks tilting from side to side on the saddle. I think I wished I was that bicycle saddle that day.

After a good fifteen minute ride we pulled up to a house. In the driveway was a motorbike, a “triumph bonneville” I was told by the mechanic guy as he walked toward us in his blue overalls, covered in oil or grease or something. Bob said “Hi Dan, This is my friend M” (Okay so I will just use my nick for this story) “Hello Mr. Dan” I said. He laughed out loud…. Who is mister Dan kid I am Dan no mister no nothing like that just Dan okay….He stuck out a hand to shake mine. I took it and he almost shook me off my feet.

Dan had a very loud laugh coming from deep inside his belly and his whole body shook when he laughed. He was always laughing now that I think of it.

Dan asked about my interests in bikes and cars and metal work…. The questions flowed freely from him and the answers from me as best I could. Bob chipped in when he could but it was quite clear this Dan guy was more interested in me than he was in Bob right then.

We spent the day hanging around the garage and even got a ride on the back of his triumph, one at a time though. It scared me a little but Dan said I should hold tightly around his waist and pull myself close in to him then I would be safe. I did exactly as he said and it felt good. The ride wasn’t bad either. The funny part was that the bike engine vibrated the saddle a lot and I soon felt myself “growing” The vibrations went right through me. When we got back to the house I felt a little embarrassed because you could see “it” standing up in my shorts. Dan laughed and said “don’t worry kid it happens all the time, damn bike is better than a woman sometimes.” (Things like that seem to stick in my memory) {Years later I would own and ride many motorbikes. All kinds and all sizes but I always had a special place for the ones that vibrated the saddle in that special way}

Soon Bob and I were visiting Dan regularly once or twice a week usually on a Wednesday after school and on Sundays (He fixed peoples cars at his home so never had to go to work) Oh and I never went there on a Saturday, those days were for Dr S. his garden and his koi.

Bob and I helped out in the garage sometimes, cleaning tools or cleaning out the oil drain pans…. It was a lot of dirty fun. Dan would let us shower at his house before we went home. Bob and I showered together. It was fun and we experimented with a bunch of stuff.

One day while in the shower Bob told me that Dan also liked to shower with him sometimes and had asked if I would mind him showering with us. I laughed and made some smart-ass joke about how we would all fit in….. don’t remember the joke. What I do remember is the following visit to Dan’s place he did join us in the shower after work. Things developed into all kinds of “shower fun” just the three of us, our secret.

(Or so I thought)........


7)

Dan, I found out a little later, was not very choosy who he showered with and even enjoyed “special games” with. Both Bob and I felt like fools. We had been taken in thinking we were the only ones. We thought we had a special secret part of our friendship with Dan.

News travels fast and bad news REAL fast……. Soon a bunch of the local kids knew of our “special friendship” with Dan and the teasing I had endured from the fat kid at school was starting over again, not by one kid but by a bunch of kids that seemed to grow in number almost daily. The worst thing is that this time the stories were true.

I had fallen in love with Bob but the only time I got to “play” with him was at Dan’s house while we showered. Dan by this time showered with us every time and showed us all kinds of games to play. I enjoyed those showers so much and didn’t mind Dan demonstrating all the different games on me that we could play. It seemed every game had lots of variations but they all ended the same with me almost collapsing in the shower with my knees turning to jelly and tingles all over. Bob enjoyed it just as much I think when I demonstrated on him.

Now this may all sound great and it was, to a point. The problem was not with the showering or with the games. It was with other much older boys knowing about it and teasing Bob and me endlessly. Again I found myself feeling badly about how and what I was after all I must be a bad person if all those boys said so. I didn’t think I was a sissy or a homo. I didn’t think what felt so good could be so bad. It was all so confusing.

The following Saturday I wanted so much to speak to Dr S about all this but I was afraid. I was afraid he would not understand. I was afraid he wouldn’t like me any more. I was afraid he would chase me away, after all I was a bad person.

That Saturday wasn’t so much fun and a few times Dr S asked me what the problem was. I said I just wasn’t feeling well. Dr S took me into his arms and hugged me tightly as he always did, telling me not to worry to much about things and that everything would be fine. I remember so clearly thinking to myself that I didn’t deserve his hugs and his care. I was a bad person….. I wondered how much he really knew about me and was keeping secret. Suddenly it didn’t feel so good him hugging me. Maybe he was like Dan. Maybe he wanted to play games in the shower as well and then the other boys could tease me more. I loved Dr S so much but like a Grandpa not someone I wanted to play with me like that. I loved the way he smelled and the way he hugged me and how he understood so much, he seemed to know everything, but I didn’t love him like that not like that.….. How much did he know? When was he going to chase me away?

I wanted to just shrink down to nothing and disappear forever.

That evening as I rode home on my bike, there was no pretty sunset, there were no birds chirping in the trees, there were no sweet aromas from the magnolia trees I liked so much… It was all wrong! I was wishing that a car or truck would drive into me and just stop all the pain. I didn’t want to be a bad person….. I wanted to be loved….. I didn’t want to be teased….. I wanted to be happy….. I didn’t want to be so sad….. How could I be loved…. I was a bad person….. I had let Dr S down…. I wanted to play those games with Bob and Dan…. But that was bad! I hated those big kids. I hated myself My mind was spinning around and around trying to make sense of it all. I just wanted it all to STOP!


8)

For the next two weeks I went to school as usual but once home I just stayed in my room most of the time. My mom asked me what was going on but I just didn’t feel like talking about it. I shrank deep inside myself.

One afternoon while sitting in my room staring out of the window at nothing in particular I heard a knock on the front door soon to be followed by a loud “Where’s my boy?” I knew that voice so well, It was Dr S. How I had longed to hear his voice again calling me his boy. The warmth in his voice just made things feel better.

The knock on my bedroom door mad me jump even though I was fully expecting it. I so wanted to run to the door, open it and jump into Dr S’s arms. Then everything would be alright again…….. I held back. What if he was just coming to say good bye or that he didn’t want me to come over anymore? I was full of doubt and at the same time excited he was there.

Dr S slowly opened the door. “Can I come in?” he asked softly. “Yup” I answered. He came in and sat down on my bed. He motioned for me to come over to him.

I sank into his arms as one might into a favorite easy chair. It was so natural and inviting It felt so good I sank deeper as he hugged me like he had never hugged me before.

“Now I know you are hurting” He said “ but I don’t know why or what it is about” I cracked and broke into tears. All the teasing and hate towards me came flooding out. I could not speak for a long time. Dr S just sat holding me tightly in his arms. He was in no hurry and knew it would all come out when I was good and ready.

Eventually I had cried out all the tears I had in me to cry. I felt exhausted but relieved.

“Okay my boy….. now we can get to the bottom of all this worry” I started to talk and told him, almost, everything that was going on, about the teasing, but held back about the part that Dan showered with Bob and me. I didn’t lie about Dan, I just left out some of the stuff. I told him how Dan and Bob and me would work together on the cars and sometimes go for rides on his motorbike. I told him I liked going to visit with Dan but that some big kids were teasing me about it, saying I was a homo boy hanging with a man…. (Yup I changed a few things when explaining to Dr S) but in general the story was mostly true.

I told him how I felt about Bob though and he seemed to take it all in. I told him how I liked to be with Bob in a special way sort of like a girlfriend but a boy. (Man it was hard to explain to an adult even one as special as Dr S) After a few more prompts I was able even to tell him what Bob and I liked to do together in the shower (still I left out the parts about Dan).

Dr S seemed to slow down for a while, he was rocking back and forth with me in his arms, it was soothing for me. He was thinking deeply for the longest time. It was as if time itself was waiting for him to say something to me.

“My boy” he started “We need to have a long talk” He explained all about the birds and bees. Also about the bees and bees. He explained that sometimes boys fell in love with other boys and experimented with sexual things…. Normally he said they grow out of it but sometimes they don’t. He explained to me about how some boys were attracted to other boys and that would never change. He went on to warn me of the pitfalls and dangers involved with loving another male. Dr S just knew how to make me feel better, even about this sex stuff and homos and all that.

After some time sitting together in my room talking about serious stuff and some not so serious stuff Dr S got up and said it was time to go.

“So I will see you on Saturday my boy… Yes?” “Yes” I answered as he closed my door behind him.


9)


I hadn’t seen Bob for weeks. I missed him. I also missed Dan. I liked our showers I liked what the three of us did together but I hated what the big kids were saying. It made me feel bad like I was doing something very wrong and sick. I could deal with it better when it was lies like the fat kid back at school. Then I had the right to be mad…… but these stories…… were true and that made it all different. How could I fight against the truth?

Well Saturday morning arrived and I was eager to get to Dr S’s place. I took the back roads to avoid the big kids. As I was riding I was praying they would not see me. If only I could be invisible I thought.

I pulled into the back yard of Dr S’s house through the lane behind his property. No one had seen me, I made it.

I stood my bike against the garden wall just inside the back gate and walked down the path next to the house leading to the front garden.

As I turned the corner into the garden I stopped dead in my tracks. I could not believe what I was seeing. Bob was standing there talking to Dr S. My heart sank so low It was hard for me to breathe. Panic set in. What if he had told Dr S about Dan. Oh shit, no, no, no! Bob turned and saw me standing there…. “Hey M” he said almost musically in his sweet gentle voice. “Hi Bob” I replied walking nervously toward the two of them.

My heart was pounding in my chest so hard I could feel it in my ears and my finger tips.

Dr S pulled me into his arms for my usual hug. “What’s all this” he said “I can feel your heart thump, thump, thumping in my arms… you okay?” The best I could do was nod my head indicating I was okay.

“I have been speaking to young Bobby here about a few things and he has filled me in on some of the problems you are having with those horrid boys. I will have to see what I can do about that.”

Nothing was said about Dan. I was confused and relieved at the same time. I looked over to Bob and he was just standing there smiling…….

Dr S, Bob and me worked together in the garden for a while. It was a hot morning so Dr S went inside to get some of his special fruit juice for us….. I took my chance and asked Bob about Dan, What he had said to Dr S. What was it all about….. A hundred questions came tumbling out of my mouth and Bob tried to answer as many of them as he could….. Eventual he said “HOLD IT! I never said anything about you me and Dan. That stuff is private okay?” I looked deep into Bobs sky-blue eyes and I saw love. A love all for me. He had not betrayed me. He truly was the one I wanted in my life in that special way.

(Saturdays were about to get a whole lot better. Dr S had invited Bob to come with me on Saturdays to visit him but did tell Bob he would have to okay it with me first. Of course I okayed it in an instant. I was even prepared the share Dr S and his hugs with Bob.)

Dr S came out onto the porch with his magic juice mix with the sugar along the rim of the glasses. We sat there drinking the juice in silence… Just the three of us. Because it was so hot that morning Dr S told us to take off our shirts and shoes. He put the lawn sprinkler on for us to run under and cool off. Bob and I ran around like little kids under that sprinkler, squealing with laughter. Dr S sat on the porch and watched us. After an hour or more under the sprinkler Dr S turned it of…. The lawn was a soggy mess of muddy water. Both Bob and I were covered in it. Then the really funny stuff started. I tackled Bob and brought him down with a huge splash of mud. The two of us rolled around in the mud wrestling. It was impossible to get a grip on each other. The mud was just so slippery.

“Okay you two that’s enough now” said Dr S. He told us to stand on the driveway and he hosed us down from top to bottom, washing away the mud and a lot of worries with it. Dr S went into the house and came back out in a minute with a couple of towels for us to dry off. “Lunch will be ready in 10 minutes boys” he said turning back into the house and leaving us standing there wrapped in towels.

Bob and I lay on the sunny part of the concrete driveway and spoke about everything that had happened in the past two weeks. I asked again about Dan but all Bob would say was that was private stuff not to be spoken about outside of Dan’s house. Bob had not been back to Dan’s for the past two weeks.

Bob looked at me and finally asked me if I thought what Dan me and him did was bad? I didn’t really know how to answer him but I did manage to whisper “no I don’t think so”

After lunch Dr S said it was way to hot out to do anything in the garden and it would be better if Bob and I went home. Why didn’t Dr S want us here I thought to my self…. Then Dr S finished saying what he wanted to say…. “The two of you need some time together to work things out a bit”.

Dr S hugged Bob first and then me. We said our goodbyes, got on our bikes and pedaled to my home together to spend the afternoon listening to records and talking about stuff.


10)


Now they say all things will pass. In my case the big kids in the area that had been ragging Bob and me, mysteriously and abruptly stopped. It seemed very strange at first but I knew in my heart that Dr S had something to do with it. He never told me he had done anything and I never asked him but I know he did, so it was left at that. It was just the kind of thing Dr S was so good at, just getting things done, no worries no drama, just taken care of, period.

Bob and I could now go and see Dan without any worries of being attacked on the way there or back. Bob and I continued working on cars together and cleaning up around the garage during our visits to Dan. There were still rides on the back of Dan’s motorbike………. But Dan just never showered with us any more. (Was that Dr S’s doing as well?) I remember Bob saying something to me in the shower about it but I don’t remember what it was. I loved those showers with just Bob and myself, even though I missed Dan being there showing us “new games” to play. Both Bob and I were quite capable of making up our own “games” and we did often, okay ALL the time….

Bob and I spent much of our free time after school and on weekends together including my favorite day of the week… Saturday at Dr S’s house. We spent just about every Saturday there, helping in the garden and with the koi, playing under the sprinkler and wrestling in the muddy water afterwards.

One Saturday morning Bob and I arrived at Dr S’s house to find him packing a picnic basket with sandwiches and his magical juice in a thermos to keep it ice cold. I noticed a shopping bag on the table next to the basket but said nothing. Dr S scooped up the basket and bag and said “C’mon, let’s go boys…”

We drove away leaving the garden and the roses and the koi behind on that Saturday morning…. After about an hour or so of driving Dr S pulled off the main road and on to a small dirt road. It disappeared through the fields and into the trees in the distance.

The end of that dirt road, through the trees, it opened up onto a secluded area and in front of us, with a river flowing gently by. It was like another world. I had never been there before. Both Bob and I jumped out of the car and ran down to the river bank. I remember how excited we both were and were acting like little kids. Dr S came over to us and asked me to get a blanket out of the trunk of the car. I ran over got the blanket and ran back. “Now boys…here is a little gift for both of you” Passing me the shopping bag. I opened it to find two pairs of swimming trunks and two towels with picture of ships anchors on them. Both of us stripped naked right there and then, put on the trunks and made for the river at top speed.

We spent the morning playing in the trees and swimming in the river. All the while feeling totally safe and happy knowing Dr S was sitting on the blanket, watching over us and making sure all went well with no worries.

“Come and get it…. Lunch is ready” Dr S had set up lunch, with sandwiches and his special juice, even with the sugar around the rim of the glasses. It was perfect. Life was perfect, sitting there eating a picnic lunch with my two best friends in the whole world.

After lunch it was right back into the trees and the river for us like a pair of monkeys. I climbed out on a limb and jumped off into the water. When I emerged from the water my trunks were down around my thighs. Instinctively I pulled them off and threw them up onto the bank. Bob saw what I had done from his perch in the tree and followed my lead. He stripped and threw his trunks down, they landed on the ground next to mine. “Good shot” I shouted up to him. Now the two of us were totally naked and really acting like wild monkeys. Dr S took it all in his stride. He watched us acting up for a while then his whole body shook with laughter as Bob did some silly jump from the tree limb into the river.

Being totally naked out in the open felt so liberating and, well, it just felt right. After a long time playing around Bob and me ran up to Dr S lying on the blanket. I thought he was asleep as he lay there. Then he said “Had enough yet boys?” “NO” we both shouted in unison, flopping down on the blanket next to him. Bob and I lay on either side of Dr S with our heads on his chest that went up and down slowly as he breathed. His arms over our shoulders and gently tickling our chests.

Dr S was telling us a story, nothing important just one of those stories all good Grandpas knew how to tell. (I don’t remember what it was about) It was just good laying there naked under the trees by the river, free and safe.

The shadows started to grow long and Dr S said it was time to go home. After making him promise to bring us back again sometime soon we loaded up everything into the car. Bob and I got dressed, got in and off we went.

Soon we were turning into Dr S’s home driveway and that very special Saturday at the river had, all too soon, come to an end.


11)

My special friendship with Bob grew very strong over the next months and we loved going to visit Dr S on Saturdays. It seemed we did less and less work with Dr S and more time with him going out somewhere or the other. Sometimes it was to a movie (there was no TV in that country back then) or to our favorite swimming place at the river.

The Christmas holidays were coming up and both Bob and I were looking forward to being able to spend the whole day every day together, except of course for Christmas day.

One afternoon in my bedroom Bob asked me how much money I had saved up. I told him I had about thirteen bucks. (That was a lot of money back then) He said he had almost eleven and together we could buy something nice for Dr S for Christmas. I agreed and we decided to go into town and look for something really special.

We spend ages looking at all the things on show in the windows of the shops but came up empty on knowing what to buy. Then we saw it……. An electric one at that…. A shiny silver juice extractor. It was perfect for Dr S so he would not have to squeeze juice on that rickety old Juice squeezer of his that he had to press so hard on every half orange or grapefruit. This one you can just put whole chunks of fruit into it and out came the juice. The pulp was collected in another part at the back….. It was a perfect gift. We put our money up on the counter and the lady counted out the 18 bucks needed. She pushed the change back towards us on the glass top. “Can we have it Christmas wrapped” I asked. The lady called over a young girl and instructed her to wrap the gift for us. We took the juice machine, now all wrapped up for Christmas over to another counter where we chose a card. (You got a free card with every gift you bought) Then it was off home on our bikes. It felt so good that we were going to have a nice gift for Dr S for Christmas.

Once back home at my house I wrote on the card “From your boys! Happy Christmas” and we both signed it. I taped the card in its envelope to the gift and put it up in the top of my cupboard where it waited for the big day.

Christmas morning bright and early.

I ran through to the lounge hoping to see the new bike I so desperately wanted. There were lots of gifts but no bike. My spirits fell a little, I had my heart set on that bike. My brother joined me in the lounge. He was a year and a half older than me but still got excited for Christmas even though it was just for the gifts. Mom and Dad followed a few minutes later.

We all sat around and I had the privilege of reading the cards and handing out gifts to everyone. My brother even got one from me I didn’t know about and I got one from him I am sure he had no idea about either. Strange that… and mom making like she knew nothing about it either.

Christmas Dinner (at lunch time) was a huge affair. There was everything one could think of to eat, from turkey with stuffing to ham, vegetables and steamed Christmas pudding covered in brandy and set on fire before pouring on the white sauce that covering the sixpence pieces my mom had cleverly pushed into the pudding with a knife. The coins were supposed to be lucky but I always laughed to myself over that. I believed that all the luck had been long cooked out of the coins as mom boiled them for ages in a little pot of water on the stove to sterilize them.

After lunch and way to much pudding I sat in the lounge looking over all the gifts now unwrapped and laying all over the place. Wrapping paper torn and scattered (except for moms. She always un-wrapped her gifts carefully and neatly folded the wrapping papers to be used again)

The phone rang and mom picked up. She called through to me “Its for you M” It was Bob to wish me a Happy Christmas and to ask if I felt like going over to see Dr S I checked with mom and she said okay so I told Bob to come over and we can ride together. “Did you get your new bike?” He asked. “Nope you?” “Nope”

Now I had asked my mom if Dr S could come over on Christmas for lunch with us but she said she had already asked him and he said he had other plans for lunch. (But he told my mom, unbeknown to me, he would be home in the afternoon if she could get Bob and me to go around there.) I knew Dr S had no family. I knew there was something fishy about all this. I knew there was something going on….. But what?

Bob arrived at my house around 3pm and we rode out to see Dr S with his gift hung in a big canvas bag from my handle bars.

We got to Dr S’s place to see he was not in the garden where he normally was on a Saturday…. But this was Christmas and not Saturday.

We knocked on the door. After a few seconds the door flung open and there was Dr S in a Santa hat with a bell.

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” He bellowed. “Come on in boys………” We followed him into the lounge and there propped up either side of a couch were two brand spanking new bikes.

“Happy Christmas boys” He said again.

Bob and I stood there with our mouths open for the longest time. The bikes where “cruisers” they had three speed shifters on the crossbar, a banana saddle with a sissy-bar and ape-hanger handle bars……..Just the best bikes ever and EXACTLY the ones I was talking about with Bob for ages. (So Dr S and Mom had been up to something I knew it I knew it!)

In all the excitement I almost forgot Dr S’s present.

“Oh! here Dr S…. this is for you from Bob and me… Happy Christmas” I said And Bob echoed “Happy Christmas”….. and it really was a happy Christmas.

Dr S opened his gift saying “Really you boys shouldn’t have… Wow! What the heck? A tear rolled down his face.

“It’s a new juicer” Bob and I said in unison.

“Thank you boys, Thank you so much” He said with a crack in his voice. I think it was the only present he got that year for Christmas.

Dr S rinsed out the bowl as per the instructions and then plugged it in and cut chunks of fresh orange and grapefruit. He made his special juice and on this day it tasted even more special then ever before…..


12)

Those bikes made Bob and me feel like we were “so groovy” It was like nothing else mattered for a while. Bob and me riding like crazy on our bikes with banana saddles and three speed shifters mounted right on the crossbar. The ape hanger bars made us ride with our chests pressed just a little further out than normal and our hands way up there……. Man it was great.

The December holidays were coming to and end now and it was time to start getting ready for a new school year. I was really scared because I was not just changing from a junior school to a high school, the high school I was going to was a boarding school and I was to live there. My brother was already a student there but that only made it worse for me… I won’t go into why though….

Mom took me into town to buy the new uniforms and equipment needed for school. I hated shopping for clothes but shopping for school uniforms during the last few days of the school holidays was really the pits.

Dr S told me I would do fine there as a boarder but I was not so sure. Deep inside I was really scared about the whole boarding thing. My brothers teasing of how they were going to initiate me frightened me even more.


Boarding school was every bit as frightening as I had imagined it to be. My brother was right about the initiations and stuff. For one I had to stand naked on the lockers in the seniors dormitory and sing a nursery rhyme while they ( the seniors) shot at me with elastic bands from “ruler guns” stretching the elastics over the length of a ruler then using a thumb to release it and “fire”. A few of the shots found their mark on my ever so small “little guy” down there. I had never felt so humiliated in my life up until that day but there was a lot more to come and I was not alone in this. All new boys got the same.

I made friends quickly with a few of my dorm mates (we slept thirty to a dorm back then) The dormitories where huge rooms with lots of windows. Lockers lined the end-walls and the beds were set about two feet apart down either side along the longer walls. I even managed to find a few “special friends” in just a few weeks of being there.

Slowly I got used to the place and actually got to like it a bit. It was like a permanent sleep-over with a bunch of friends. The food wasn’t bad either but the actual school was not so good for me. I really did not fit in well as far as that went. I was never a sheep and had a lot of my own ideas. I would much rather be doing something on my own or with one friend than just being one of the bunch. The problem with that was I got into a fair amount of trouble….. but that is another story.

I missed Dr S terribly, (even more than I missed Bob and way more than I missed Dan). I could hardly wait for mid-term break to go visit with him again. Mid-term was still a long way off though so I had to tough it out…… I tried my best to fit in and be happy there but never actually got the hang of it. I was doing okay with my schoolwork and got heavily involved in sports as well. That made the time go by quite a bit faster.

Eventually mid-term came along and I was looking forward to being at home and going to visit with Dr S. I wanted to let him know how well I was doing at school just so he would be proud of me. (even though it wasn’t quite true)

Mom came to pick my brother and me up in her car. On the drive home mom told me Dr S had taken ill and was in a “special hospital” “ Dr S has cancer” she went on “ and he is very sick right now”.

“Can I go and see him” I asked as tears streamed down my face, I was tying not to break down completely. I could feel it all welling up inside me…. I was only gone for a few months and Dr S got sick….. It was hard for me to breath as the shock set in……

“How sick? Can I see him?” I eventually managed to get out. “No M you can not see him. I am sorry but only his family can see him and then only adults” “BUT HE HAS NO FAMILY” I burst out….. “ I am all he has. I am his family”. Having said that it hit me hard and I broke down completely, crying uncontrollably. After some time I was all cried out but feeling very sad I never said another word all the way home.

Mid-term came and went in a blur. I never saw Bob. I never saw Dan and I wasn’t allowed to see Dr S. I felt like shit!

The following half of term came and went as well…..

End-of term break.

I got home to hear that Dr S had been released from the “special hospital” and was at home. I asked, no, told my mom I was going to see him no matter what. I jumped on my bike that Dr s had given me for the Christmas past and pedaled as fast as I could to his house. The garden was a little overgrown and had obviously not been tended properly for some time. The koi ponds were empty. That was a shock.

I knocked very softly on the front door. A lady all dressed in white answered it. “I’m M” I said. “Oh M come on in, the doctor is in his room. He has been telling me all about you and how you are like the son he never had. He will be so pleased to see you” She said.

I went into Dr S’s room and saw him lying in bed. He was pale and looked very old. His eyes were clouded over like he had lost interest in life. When he saw me he sat up in bed. “Come and sit here with me my boy” He said. I went over to the side of the bed and leaned over and hugged him. We both just stayed locked in that hug for what seemed to be halfway to forever. I just did not want to let him go for fear I may loose him. I was whimpering again “Now, now what is all this” He asked. “There is no need for tears”.

We spent the day together in his room. I told him all about the new school and how everything was great and I was happy (I lied to him a bit just to make him feel better) He sat there and listened to everything I had to say like it actually mattered to him. For lunch the nurse had made sandwiches for me and creamed chicken soup for Dr S. There was no “special juice” in glasses with sugar all around the rim, just sandwiches and a glass of milk.

I spent all of my end-term break at Dr S’s house. I did the garden as best I could and cleaned out the now empty koi ponds. Dr S had explained to me that he let a friend take all the koi because he would no longer be able to look after them properly. I slept on a couch in the lounge only two rooms away in case Dr S needed me……….


Final)

End-term break was over.

I didn’t want to leave Dr S but he insisted I go back to school. He said it would be best for both of us. He seemed to be doing a lot better as well so that made it a little easier to leave.

Back at school I used up all my phone privileges phoning Dr S every week. Most times I phoned he was well enough to speak to me but sometimes I would phone and the nurse would answer. He was either asleep or not well enough to talk. I hated those calls when the nurse answered.

Well into the second month of that term, just two weeks before mid-term break I got called to the phone. It was the call I was dreading, from my mom. Dr S had passed away. Mom said he went peacefully in his sleep but I know how much he tried to hide his pain from me. I thought the world had just stopped turning, well my world at least. The following day mom picked me up at school. Back home I just stayed in my room thinking about things, trying to work it all out I suppose. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t, the tears just did not flow. I just felt numb inside sort of like there was nothing in there to feel anything at all. There was a horrible sickly feeling in the pit of my stomach but no tears.

At Dr S’s funeral I was to stand up and say something to everyone there. It was so hard to stand behind Dr S lying in his open coffin, seemingly sleeping, and having to tell people how I felt about him and our friendship, what a good man he was and how much he did for me. There were loads of people there but no one as close to him as I was. As I spoke I could feel all kinds of emotions building up and my voice was cracking. I fought back tears as best I could while speaking. I remember my mom on my left and my dad on my right supporting me as I began to sway. I could feel my knees giving way under me………….. The rest of the funeral was like a dream. It felt like I was looking at all of it through a sort of mist.

Back home I went into a deep depression. Nothing and no-one mattered to me anymore. Dr S had left a letter for me but I didn’t want to read it because I “knew” what it was going to say. I knew if I read it, it would be like accepting it was the end.

The letter stood on my dresser propped up against a picture of Dr S I had in a frame I made in woodwork class. I stared at that damn letter for days. It was like it needed to be read but I could not bring myself to read it.

It took three days for me to build up the courage to open that letter and read it.


My dearest M,

I am sorry I can not be there to put my arms around you. I know you are feeling badly right now but it will pass. It is okay to feel sad when loosing someone you love. It is normal and should run its course. (Silly me I sound just like a doctor don’t I) Well it is true. I am a doctor but also your friend and it is that friendship and love I would like you to remember. The sadness will pass but the memories will be with you hopefully for a long, long time. I take with me to wherever it is I am going, your friendship, your love and your wonderful kindness to an old man.

I have known you from the day you were born. As your birthing doctor I was the first one to hold you. Back then you were one of many babies I was doctor to and I had no idea how important you would become to me just a few years later. I treated you when you were sick and set broken bones a few times. I watched you grow from a baby to a toddler and into a young boy.

When you first started coming to visit with me at my home, I knew you were different, you were special. You needed someone like me guide you a little, to come to terms with things in your life you have no control over, to be there for you when you felt down and to share with you your happiness as well. I feel privileged it was me who could be that someone for you my boy.

You should know this. You filled me up and completed me as a person. No one else in my seventy something odd years has meant as much to me.

…………………………………………

{This part of the letter is just too personal and private to share with anyone. Sorry people}

………………………………………….

Finally I need to tell you a few things.

My home will be left to the hospice organization, to use as a new home for terminally ill patients. I am sure they will enjoy our rose garden. I hope you don’t mind.

I have left a substantial amount of money for you to fund whatever you decide to do in your life. It will be left in trust until you are twenty one. At that time it will be yours to do with as you feel fit. My lawyer will contact your parents to sort it all out.

With this I say good-bye my friend, my son and my love always.

A…….. S………


I went back to school a week later a changed boy. I still felt sad for the longest time when I thought about Dr S but I also felt an overwhelming amount of love. A special love he had for me and left deep in my heart. Sometimes when I thought of him I could still smell the roses in his garden, our garden. Other times I thought of swimming in the river at the end of the dirt road through the trees, or lying with my head on his chest, under the big old shade trees, as he told me and Bob stories of his life as a boy.

I thought about Dr S every time I did something he would be proud of me for.

As time passed I learned to deal with a lot of things, changing what I could for the better and accepting things I could not change.

I lost contact with Bob after his family moved away from the area.

After leaving boarding school I carried on with my studies at university.


I still have that letter from Dr S. From time to time I take it out and read it. It is still as powerful and empowering today as it was for me as a young boy so long ago.

That letter and the love of the man who wrote it has been “MY THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION” that has seen me though the toughest of times.

The funds left to me were indeed substantial. I chose to use most of it for various charitable projects around the world over the years.

I try to carry on from Dr S, to be like him in many ways. I have befriended many youngsters over the years and have taken several into my home, some for a short while and others long-term.

Some of my boys are married today with kids of their own. Others have chosen to stay single.

There are still boys in my life today and I hope there will be until the time comes for me to pass on.

All I can wish for is that they will carry on where I leave off when the time comes.


Foot-note:

It took less than six months from the time Dr S’s cancer was discovered until he passed away. There was no way to cure cancer so far advanced back then. I have been told that Dr S chose not to have any treatment except for pain control. He wanted to spare himself, me and everyone else the pain of a lingering slow death.

In that last six months of his life Dr S never complained about his illness or the pain I am sure he went through. He never wanted to share anything negative with me. It was only in the last few months I even knew he was even ill and then only because he was physically unable to hide it any more.

Dr S is sorely missed but remembered with much love. He was a truly good man and he loved me unconditionally. His memory will live on in my head and his love in my heart forever.

To this day I hold a very positive outlook on life. I try always to see the glass as half full rather than half empty.