Fledgling Adult pg84
Full color companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic
Tony’s archeological dig wouldn’t start right away, so we rode buses across the mountains of Honduras to explore the lakes, volcanoes, Mayan villages and ruins of Guatemala. There was an odd, other-time feeling that made traveling through those lush, exotic highland landscapes familiar and comfortable. Friendly locals wearing brilliant embroidery offered us fruit. Little boys were polite. We survived fast, terrifying bus rides around narrow mountain switch-backs with views down impossible canyons where other buses just like our were resting and rusting. — From Chapter 4
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” —Mark Twain
Being a Canadian child with the complexion of an unbaked pie in the late 50s & early 60s gave me no point of reference for diversity. I remember seeing a black person for the first time when I was around seven. My mother took us to a recycling yard to get used bricks for a patio she was building and there he was — an awesomely beautiful black man sorting and loading bricks with mommy as we watched from the car — a turquoise ’57 Chevy. I knew people of color existed because I had seen African tribal photos in National Geographic, but here was a real person and he was fascinating.
The great fortune of my life is that this timeless quote from Twain came true… and not just to discover new people and cultures. Traveling on shoestring budgets had me riding on buses that allowed livestock, and dining in dusty market stalls far from tourist watering holes and swanky resorts. Traveling in steerage while young turned me into a more adventurous, curious and accepting person. One also develops a more expressive range of arm and hand gestures, which are always helpful when words fail. Of the 170 illustrations that served as inspiration to write The Incompetent Psychic, fewer than ten are photographs of me rather than my art. Tony took this first one when I was twenty-one.
A signed copy of Mernie’s memoir is available at www.etsy.com/listing/839838936
Unsigned copies can be ordered wherever books are sold.