This true, first-person memoir of a boy’s perseverance in the face of family dysfunction and adversity in the Montreal area of the 1960s and early ’70s offers a harrowing look inside a child’s soul-crushing loss of innocence between the ages of 4 and 16. Wawa, one of seven children born to an alcoholic father and clinically depressed mother, refuses offers to fix his broken glasses, wearing them as an outward statement of his heartbreakingly broken life. His hunger for love and guidance and his will to survive to adulthood in the face of fear, loneliness, anxiety, hardship and poverty will have readers cheering him on. This is an account that resonates with the lives of thousands of abused and neglected children who remain invisible. Wawa is the voice of the silent ones.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I’m on a path… a path that began just over three years ago. That day my house got struck by lightning.
Intuition then, told me to retire and so I did.
I always wanted to write my childhood memoir. We all have a bucket list. Initially I wanted to write to help heal my brothers and sisters’ lifetimes of pain and share our story through my eyes. We were living in an age then where broken families were separated by the courts. The only remedy back then was to break up families. I was only four.
Ideas flowed, the writing evolved, and I decided my journey needed to be more, so I self-published my book: The Kid With Broken Glasses. It is my effort to give back and to pay-it forward on behalf of the silent ones, the kids who have grown up without a voice because it is too painful to re-open up their wounds of childhood trauma. I am their voice through my book.
Proceeds go to children’s charities. I am at a crossroads right now and am looking for a publishing company and influencers to further me along my path.
Some readers have told me their stories in confidence and thanked me by donating additionally to my charities. Others have purchased multiple books to hand out to those in need. Still others have told me that I have helped them heal, I am brave, and they are thankful that this unique memoir told in the first person has been published.
My path has twists and turns; profound things have happened that are unexplainable. My rest stop is here at this authors forum. Instinct tells me to rest a moment here…
Work is taking a daily toll on me and the others. Dad doesn’t seem to realize that he should be grateful he doesn’t have to pay labour costs. Glancing up, I notice that water is pooling rapidly in the plastic roof sheeting, making it sag in places. I volunteer to go outside and guide the water to the sides while someone inside lifts the sagging plastic. This goes on and on with no end in sight, so we take turns going out to shuttle the water away, to keep the roof plastic from tearing.
By the time the long weekend is just about over on Monday, I have barely been able to dig down the first foot, my quota for a day, before Dad wants to leave. My hands are red from handling the shovel. Small blisters are forming on my palms. Slugs and worms are present in almost each shovel of dirt, squirming and squiggly. I collect them. I look forward to many more days of digging my way to China in the future.
Dig, dig, digging … It’s now a part of my dreams. I am digging a well before I am thirsty.
When I reach water, what then? Will I have a need for drink?
One foot down. It’s a week later. I am resentful today, promising myself I will only do what I have to and not a single shovelful more! Before I head over, I put on my digging clothes, which are already stained with mud. I have refused to wash them. As I begin to dig down past the first day of work on the well, worms are no longer to be seen. Perhaps they got scared.
I immediately hit roots. Where are my damn root cutters! I stop, hop out and stomp over to the plastic shack in search of the snips. Locating them, I stomp back to the well hole. Stepping back in with my new “Why me?” attitude, I take the metal digging bar and try to pry up the biggest roots so that I can snip them.
I’m not thirsty yet. When will I get thirsty for this water?
Two feet down. No one asks how the second foot of digging went. It’s as if I don’t exist. Today I begin digging toward the three-foot level. The first two feet were tough enough, with roots hampering my progress. The black earth is now a lighter brown, with pockets of grey clay mixed in as I progress. The going gets easier with fewer roots, but now rocks begin to appear, in various sizes, as I sink the shovel lower into the well hole.
I am frustrated that I have to dig deeper into my willpower. I am churning with resentment.
I hit a large rock that protrudes into the hole. I don’t know how big this rock is, but I’ll have to dig it out, and it delays me. In frenzy, I battle the rock until it finally drops. Getting it out of there requires two other people with ropes, so I call on Dad and Willy. They bring a rope which I tie up the rock with while swearing under my breath. I yell at them to pull. Slowly the rock rises to the surface and out. As I push from the bottom, it sees daylight, maybe for the first time in a millennium.
Next, I have to shore up all the walls by first filling in the space the big rock has vacated, then excavating down on all four sides of the well. Getting the rock out meant refilling the well hole with excavated soil back to the two-foot depth. Grrrrr. I then dig again, back to the three-foot depth I had previously reached. Double duty. Grrrrr.
I am still not thirsty. At what level of the dig will I need to drink?
Three feet down. My head is pounding today. I hate the three-letter word dig. D.I.G.
After clearing down to the three-foot level twice the previous week, all of it in a funk, I think I have punished myself enough. I will try not to be so negative today. I will try to take the word dig out of my vocabulary.
I am progressing towards the four-foot level. The depth of the well is at my waist now, heading to just under my armpits. The soil has turned to clay and is getting denser as the hole lowers. I cannot swing the pick axe anymore and begin to rely on a pointy-nosed shovel to cut into the well bottom. Chopping away with the shovel, I progress inches at a time. At least the sides of the well are not caving in any more.
Water has no value for me today. Why not?
Four feet down. I am already exhausted before I head down. I put on my digging clothes, now deeply stained with mud. I refuse to wash them. I am stubborn.
My head is just above the surface of the earth as I reach the five-foot level. I can barely throw the dirt out of the well hole. Luckily for me, roots are no longer a problem. I am too far down. A bucket is needed, as I can no longer swing the shovel over my shoulders to dump the clay. I am at my physical limit today. A slight amount of water is gathering at the bottom of the hole, a dampness that marks a noticeable change.
I despise water, because it’s beginning to hamper my progress. No water for me today.
Five feet down. Dejected and miserable, I’m literally in over my head, closing in on six feet of depth. A crude eight-foot ladder has been constructed so I can descend down into the depths of the well. If you were to walk by, all you would see is a mound of earth, for I have disappeared.
Each day, the sharp digging bar goes in and chunky clay comes out. A pick axe doesn’t work so well down here once you pass waist height, so the digging bar is the only tool I can use to break the clay so I can pull the chunks out by hand. The water is seeping in faster, making the clay heavier to lift. It makes a sucking sound as I pull it out and splat it with my hands into the shovel. I am slowly sinking as the buckets of clay rise one by one. My spirit sinks as well.
Is water my friend or my enemy?
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