Category Archives: youth

First Line of EL TOPO

“Son, you are seven years old. You are man. Bury your first toy and your mother’s picture.” El Topo Life is tough on the young.

FLUTE THING By Peter Nolan Smith

In the Spring of 1969 I ran for president of the South Shore CYO Deanery. My older brother was the incumbent and my election was close to unanimous. Throughout the summer I met with the other officers at the CYO headquarters in Weymouth to plan out our event schedule for autumn, winter, and spring. While […]

A FINE DAY FOR SAILING by Peter Nolan Smith

My grandmother hailed from County Mayo in Ireland. Her last name was Walsh. Nana sailed to Boston at the age of fourteen. Most of the other passengers were cattle. “In the Year of the Crow,” she told her grandchildren in her lovely Gaelic accent. “When was that?” I was curious as to why she did […]


The 1960s Space Race between the USSR and USA exterminated young boys’ worship of westerns and cowboy hats, vests, guns, and holsters were retired to the closet next to toy boats and teddy bears. During the autumn of 1962 I pleaded with my parents to buy me an astronaut costume for Halloween and my father […]

STUTTERING SIAM by Peter Nolan Smith

In the 1950s stuttering was considered a possible sign of mental retardation. At age 2 I spoke like a stuck record. My parents thought this disability would pass and I fooled them by mot speaking other than in single syllables. My family became accustomed to my aberrant speech habits, however upon entering Underwood Primary School […]