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Spruce Cliff: An Autobiographical Novel : 1962-1963, Volume Book 1, 2 and 3: 1962-1963

By Schwab, Robert, Gustav, Dr.


Description
When I was about 10 years old, my father gave me a present. It was a simple present – a journal with 200 blank lined pages bound in a fake leather cover that measured 6½ by 10 inches. His instructions were simple. One page a day. Every day. At first, it seemed an impossible task, and I resisted it. But in time, I accepted it and even came to like it. And in the end, the resulting collection of journals chronicled a lifetime. From those simple words and sentences, the memories of a lifetime, one day at a time, magically reappear in extraordinarily vivid detail, even 50 years later. It was different then, in the 60’s. It was with a sense of tradition and independence that we lived our lives, but also with a sense of innocence and interconnectedness with the natural world. And we lived differently. Without computers and today’s digital overload, we made sense of the world in human terms, through human relationships, and based on human experiences in a natural world that, somewhere along the way, all but disappeared from the lives of subsequent generations. Mine was an incredible life, and an incredible childhood. It was a timeless journey of discovery and growing and learning and joy. My journey started at Spruce Cliff, a suburb of Calgary, and it was here that the urban culture of the 1960s and the traditional culture of the old west met- not in conflict, but is seemingly perfect harmony. And from there, over a lifetime, that journey continued, ultimately spanning continents from Africa to Asia. And in the process, intimate connections to some of the most far reaching corners of the world and some of the most fascinating and diverse cultures on the planet. When I think back on what makes a time or a place special, I am convinced it is not the place, nor is it the time, but rather it is people that create those most significant and lasting memories. So in retrospect, this is in not so much a story of an incredible life as it is a story of the incredible people who contributed to a fantastic journey – the journey of a lifetime. This is our story.

Summary
Spruce Cliff is the story of an incredible childhood and a timeless journey of discovery, and growing and learning. First and foremost, Spruce Cliff is an Autobiographical Novel. Spruce Cliff is an actual place. The people and places and events are real. Spruce Cliff is a working class suburb of Calgary Alberta Canada, and serves as the setting for the most profound and universal of human journeys – the passage through childhood and youth. Set in the early 1960’s starting at the age of 10, Spruce Cliff intimately follows the lives and experiences of four best friends – Bobby, Pat, Les and Cindy. Through their eyes, the reader is transported into a world that connects the traditional values and romantic notions of a bygone era with modern reality – from a modern version of the old west to the forgotten world of the Blackfoot to the realities of the modern age. With incredibly detailed and rich descriptions captured in precise detail, the reader becomes intimately drawn into the trials and tribulations and unfolding dramas of childhood while at the same time rediscovering the incredible complexities and beauty of the world around us. From visually detailed and historically accurate vignettes, to philosophically profound insights into our natural world and our place in it, to the sensual and erotic innocence of childhood, the reader is drawn ever deeper into the lives and relationships of these four children.

Excerpt
‘The Cliff’ was a magical place. Ancient trails wandered through huge pines with trunks four feet across. At one point, a vertical cliff with a 150 foot sheer drop had in past antiquity served as an ancient Indian jumping pound. The buffalo, driven over the edge in carefully planned hunts at this spot had fed an Indian nation for countless generations. At the bottom, the bones of thousands of buffalo from centuries of these hunts mixed with the sandy prairie soil. A half mile upriver would find the remnants of once-mighty Brickburn. In the 1920’s, Brickburn boasted a dozen kilns, and produced hundreds of thousands of red clay construction bricks, shipping them hundreds of miles to cities and towns across Western Canada. But in the 1930’s, it became a deserted depression relic, with its buildings and kilns and small-gage mining cars abandoned to history and the elements. And a mile further upriver was the small town of Edworthy. What remained for us to explore was the dilapidated ruins of a dozen or so buildings, dominated by a once impressive two-story hotel and bar. But in the 1890’ and 1900’s, Edworthy was a palace for gentlemanly distractions, with its card rooms and brothels, and only a twenty minute buggy ride from the small but growing city of Calgary.

Table of Contents
Part 1 1. 2 Introduction 2. 8 November 1962 3. 17 November 1962 4. 24 December 1962 5. 36 December 1962 6. 53 December 1962 / January 1963 7. 64 December 1962 / January 1963 8. 73 January 1963 9. 82 January 1963 10. 93 February / March / April 1963 11. 102 April 1963 12. 120 April 1963 13. 133 May 1963 14. 142 June 1963 Part 2 1. 158 July 1963 2. 173 July 1963 3. 181 July 1963 4. 193 July 1963 5. 204 July 1963 6. 213 July 1963 7. 226 July 1963 8. 238 July / August 1963 9. 251 August 1963 10. 260 August 1963 11. 274 August 1963 12. 279 August 1963 Part 3 1. 286 September 1963 2. 295 September 1963 3. 309 September / October 1963 4. 322 October 1963 5. 344 October 1963

 

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