1000 Words

I’ve heard it said that a picture is worth 1000 words.

The boy in the center holding ‘Chico’ is Laddie.

Laddie was the name my mother gave me I think because I was named after my father and she didn’t want to think about him or utter his name.

This photo would have been taken months after I had fallen 51 feet from a railroad bridge. No bones were broken, but I had a concussion. The kind of head injury that if my feet hit the ground to hard when I walked it felt like something was smashing into my brain.

I have no memory of this time other than the headaches and walking quietly and gingerly as if walking on eggshells. I lived in a very small farming community and whenever people saw me coming they would give me a wide berth. No one wanted to bump into the boy who fell over the railroad bridge for fear he would break.

I carried ‘Chico’ with me everywhere then as kind of a comfort I guess and yet this is the only photo I have to prove he ever existed.

Even the other kids didn’t tease me to my face about carrying a doll because they had been warned not to bother me. They thought I was all busted up inside. They used to tease me about being called Laddie but not during this time. In fact no one spoke to me at all. They just stared. Laddie had to fall off the bridge to get some peace and quiet.

The infant on my right and toddler on my left are my cousins Steven and Kimball. They were visiting my mother and I from Cape Breton.

I visited them both this summer and they are both fathers now and they both still call me Laddie.

I could get to 1000 words but… I’ll get there eventually.

Dennis Laddie Mantin

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