Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Notes from a Brat: The Mask

The family station wagon was unlocked. My friend Glen and I noticed my dad's gas mask sitting in the back. I'd never seen it before, perhaps for a good reason. It was too tempting. A beautiful summer's day demanded I take some risks.

CFB Borden, known as "Camp Boredom" to us dependents, was my home town for six years, but CFB Trenton it was not, the main hub for Transport Command. In lieu of C-130 Hercules and Boeing 707 transport aircraft, Borden offered lots of tennis courts, baseball diamonds, football pitches, two dynamic movie theatres, great "woods", and an awesome "dunes". Meaning: always something to do.

But donning a special piece of military equipment took precedence at the moment.

Suggesting that Glen dared me to try on the gas mask would be exaggerating. This sometimes mischievous kid decided to play the part.

Over my head I pulled the mask. And off it came!

Wearing it was too much to bear all at once. Hearing my own amplified breathing, and looking through thick glass lenses at my smiling friend was disorienting to this then eleven or twelve year old. This was not a normal get-up.

I find it odd that I didn't just take a deep breath and try it again.

By the way, my sister did basic training with the Canadian Armed Forces. Her gas mask story is much better than mine.

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