I am from very small town called Center Strafford, New Hampshire. Center Strafford was so small that in grammar school all eight grades were in one room and my teacher had also been my father’s teacher. There was no high school, no market, no dentist, no doctor, no bowling alley, and no alley of any kind. No two buildings were close enough to form an alley between them.
There was no post office. A truck would simply pull up to the town line and toss out a full mailbag. It was up to us to go down to the edge of town and rummage through the bag ourselves.
The only thing to do in the winter was to ram around on snowmobiles. We had to be careful not to get decapitated by barbed-wire fences. Summers were so boring that they made my teeth wobble.
For a long stretch, the police force consisted of one guy named Bud. If some one called the cops to report a domestic disturbance his whole family would pile into their ’72 Chevy wagon and head to the scene. Bud would go to the door while the thousand pound family sat in the car.
There was only one other person in town that was my age and he lived a mile away. One summer the big thing was this. We would get on his black and chrome bike with balloon tires. He would sit on the seat and I would sit on the little rack over the rear fender. One end of a long rope was tied to the bike and the other to the chassis, only the chassis, of wrecked baby carriage. It had been a big expensive one with good rubber wheels. He would pedal as fast as he could with me on the back and we would drag this piece of a baby carriage through big a deep pothole in the road. As the carriage hit the pothole the rope would tighten, the carriage thing would jump high in the air and come crashing down, just a little more messed up each time. We did it for days and days.
I got my first gun in the seventh grade. It was a Sears and Roebuck single shot 22-caliber rifle. In the eighth grade I got a 20-gauge shotgun with a 3 shot clip and an adjustable choke. The nearest house was so far away we could just open the window and open fire.
I left that town as soon as I could. When I was seventeen I went to school to learn to be an operating room technician. A tech gets to actually assist in operations. Whatever. I even got to sew a guy up once. I sewed it too tight and his skin puckered up.
Then I went to college and did college radio at UNH in Durham.
Then I came to Boston and got a radio gig.
So how did I become the person I am today? Well, it is very likely that the engine that drives my creativity is fueled by the need to get far away from a town where people look at you funny if you have cool shoes.
- Bradley Jay