Category Archives: My Life

PRESCHOOL, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND MIDDLE SCHOOL: PART 1

Hi All,

I got to tell you guys that these blog posts for this category are harder and harder to write.  I am bringing up old wounds.  It has been very rough.  I will try to get through them for you and for me.

The only thing I remember from preschool was my two teachers.  One was very nice, the other was a witch.   Also, I remember a kid by the name of Tom Zabelski who use to grab me and stuff me in my cubby and close the door.  Then he would basically pin me in there.  This happened almost every day.  Yeah, I got bullied a lot.  I never really could stand up for myself.  I was always afraid of getting hurt, or getting in trouble.

WINTHROP SCHOOLAnyway, the picture on the right is Winthrop Elementary School in Ipswich, Ma.  Still there today.  I found out this weekend that my 1st grade teacher is still teaching.  I had the biggest crush on her way back when.  Not like the Van Halen song, “Hot For Teacher”, but you get the point.  She was so nice and not mean to me ever.  She cared about every child.  You really don’t see that anymore.  Oh, I want to make a quick note about most of my teachers; You will find that I hate mean teachers throughout this category.  I had a lot of bad teachers, and some good ones.  Some teachers I thought were mean, but ended up being fantastic teachers.

Some of my memories of elementary school are good ones.  Not many but here are a few.  My resource room teacher, Mrs. Bowman, was great.  I may have mentioned this room in a past blog.  I honestly forget.  A.C.C. rearing its head at me again.  This was the special classroom I had to go to everyday for a certain amount of time and work on things.  These tasks ranged from working on fine motor skills like finger dexterity, to reading and reading comprehension.  I remember because of my fingers and hands having poor nerves, (not sure if that was because of A.C.C. or not), I had to have a special  grip that slipped over my pencils so I could write better.  My penmanship is pretty bad.  One of the things I wish I got from my mother, but it wasn’t to be.  Of course, the plan of action for my sessions here where probably pretty vague.  This was before they started diagnosing A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. like it was going out of style.  This was before anyone had heard of an anxiety attack, or social anxiety disorder.  Obviously I didn’t know I had A.C.C at this time in my life.rocky-4-beardrocky4loft

I did have my coming out party as a drummer.  It was really great actually.  Now I know I am dating myself here, but one of my favorite movies was the Rocky saga.  Rocky IV had just come out and one of the songs was, “Hearts On Fire” by John Cafferty.  I loved it and I played it on the drums, every darn lick of it.  Everyone in the cafeteria went nuts after I finished.  I felt like I was on top of the world.  I felt like, wow, I am finally getting noticed.  Maybe that gorgeous girl Jaqueline Rodham that I see in mt classes will ask me out on a date and maybe we will fall in love and get married and have kids.  Well, it was 3rd grade, but still, a kid can dream can’t he?  There is a picture of me right before I play that song in the photo album, but I need to dig that out.  My mom was my roadie that day and cued up the music and everything.  Here is the video.  If this doesn’t get you fired up, you have issues.

Alex+Van+Halen+Van+Halen+Dress+Rehearsal+Forum+IQw6zuGVZV_lIt was great, I felt like Alex Van Halen for a day.  Everyone was coming up to me and saying what a great job I did.  The fifth grade teacher, who played saxophone on the side, actually called the middle school/high school band director and told him he has to meet me and told him how I apparently blew the doors off the school.  Everyone before that thought I was off, a little awkward, a little slow, and I hated that.  For the next week, I was suddenly king of the school.

bully-cartoonThat didn’t last very long though.  Jacqueline never came calling, asking for my number.  Or for a date at the Parish House for ice-cream.  After that week, everything went back to the way it was.  People crapping all over me, beating me up for m lunch money and I was crushed.

The other memory that sticks out in my mind from that year, and throughout my elementary school years happened in late January.  The event was watched challenger-explosionvery closely because it felt like this special teacher was one of us.  She was a New Englander.  I know that 9/11 happened and that polarized everyone in America like nothing else.  This was very much like 9/11, though.  From that day forward until 9/11 happened, it was like our JFK assassination.  Where were you when the Challenger exploded.  It was awful, it was a tragedy, and the sad thing was, all they had to do was wait for warmer weather.  So sad.

challenger-crewI remember my third grade teacher Ms. Sirois and the other 3rd grade teacher Ms. Fallabella stopped the class and we had a television brought in to watch the launch.  Everything went as planned.  Then main engines started firing six seconds prior to launch.  At zero the main boosters fired and challenger ascended to the starts.  They had cleared the tower.  73 seconds later, the unthinkable happened.  We lost seven amazing souls that day.

Now it has been so long since I was in elementary school, that I don’t really remember much.  I do remember taking up the trumpet in 4th and 5th grade.  Our band was good I guess.  The trumpet didn’t last long.  I guess I was born to have sticks in my hand, not a big brass horn stuck to my lips.

I hope you are enjoying my posts.  I am enjoying this great journey as well.  Catch my next post when we delve into my middle school years.  Oh, were they Hell!  Until next time?

Brian Malaquias

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A LITLE GLIMPS INTO ME THE VERY EARLY YEARS: PART TWO

Out of the Hospital and going to school:

Hi All,

So, where were we on the last post of this continuous journey?  Oh yes, my operation.  Well, it was a success.  I walk and run just fine now, well so long as my A.C.C. does sccartoon_wheelchairrew up my coordination.

I didn’t realize till years later that my sister was so jealous of me when I had my operation.  When I got out of the hospital, my family was fixed on me getting better, and not to the oldest; the princess of the family.  My aunts, uncles and cousins were all asking me how everything went and wanted to sign my casts.  They threw me a welcome home party and that was very nice.  I was getting a lot of attention, and I think, even to this day, my sister is hurt by that.  Yes, I agree, she needs to get over it.

I must confess, that the struggles weren’t over after the operation, in fact, they were just beginning.  For one, school was starting and I needed to take the small school bus to school.  The one that was handicap accessible.  Oh yeah, that went over real well with the kids.  That is when the hatred of the R word really started.  Kids can be so mean, cruel and really sadistic at times, and I was the brunt of a whole pile of crap that was hand delivered to me on a daily basis.  I remember having the casts on for a good 6 weeks,  It felt like 60 years to me,

Toward the end of that 6 weeks, something awful happened to me that is one of the most humiliating and down right mean things that could ever happen to anyone, not just me.  It was the end of the school day and I was wheeling myself down to the exit of the school.  Some punk kid, to this day, I don;t know exactly who it was, ran by and licked up my brakes on both sides of the wheelchair.  Well, I went crashing forward and the momentum of the entire event pulled the wheelchair directly over me and I was trapped.  This is in front of the whole school mind you.  Kids are walking and running by throwing their laughs and insults my way.  That was an awful day.

Looking back on days like that at school, it is a wonder I didn’t toss myself off the Tobin Bridge the way Charles Stuart did.  Granted he did it for a different reason, but you get the point.  Yes, I hated school, I loathed school.  I would invent sicknesses to my mom, or just not want to go for a whole list of reasons.  It was hard to trick her.  Yes, there were days, when I was really suck, but most of the time, I wasn’t.  I would put the thermometer on the lamp light to jack up my temp, but she got wise to that very quick.  I even tried the clammy hands from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  That was a winner for a while.  My mom brought me up to be nice to others.  To treat them as you would want to be treated.  I was nice.  The problem was I was too nice, and I didn’t really have a back bone.  My dad beat me so much I was deathly afraid of being hurt.

Finding an outlet with my drums.

Me Drumming

I know I have said some bad things about my dad in these blog posts.  I probably will continue to do so throughout this journey.  To say we didn’t get a long is the understatement of the millennium.  He was a raging alcoholic who wasn’t  a great father or husband for that matter.  I am not going to say he was the worst.  Not by a long shot, but he sure wasn’t the best.   He did give me one gift that I look to pass on to my children.  That is the art of playing drums, and the love of music.

LouNew Horrisions

My dad, pictured above, is a self-taught drummer.  I come from a long line of really good drummers.  He was in a wedding and gigging band call the New Horizons back in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  This explains the wardrobe.  YUCK!!!!  Look at the ruffles.  Well anyway it was a great thing to be doing for extra cash when you have a family.  I actually inherited the brown Ludwig set shown above when my dad bought the green Pearl Export 5 piece you saw in my video of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”.  By the time I got the Ludwig kit it was beat to Hell, but I didn’t care.  I actually started playing on our world book encyclopedia set.world-book-encyclopedia-1964  Remember those kiddy’s?  Oh yeah, I didn’t think so.  You guys have the internet now.  🙂

I don’t really remember any formal lessons from my dad.  This is a good thing because if he went the traditional route, I probably would have given up.  He placed one book down were each drum would be on the set.  Then he placed one above on the right for the ride cymbal and one on the left for the crash cymbal.  Then he placed one to the left of the snare drum book for the high-hat?  I hope I  haven’t lost you guys yet.  Okay I added a photo layout of Neil Peart’s DW drum kit to give you an idea.  Picture books where drums and Drum Godcymbals go, just not as many as Mr. Peart’s.  He is one of the top three greatest drummers ever of all time.  He is up their with Keith Moon and John Bonham.  Please tell me you know these drummers.  I know I am a bit of a throw back when it comes to music, for you kids out there listening to Justin Bieber, but these guys are the real deal.  So this book set up was all across my bead, and he got ne a chair to sit ay the edge of my bed.  He told me where to put my feet for the imaginary pedals for the bass drum and hi-hat.

So off we went.  Dad and I on this musical journey.  I guess he said I picked it up very quickly.  He showed me that all I needed to do in the beginning was to count to four and for a straight rock beat like Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, or The Beatles “Hey Jude”, you just had to know what part of the kit to it and when.  That was the secret.  He would give me a straight rock beat to learn, then he would play me a Beatles record, or an Eagles record and say see, this is the beat.  I got it.  The only thing left to do was to figure out the fills in between the straight beats.  So I was hooked.  I had all of my dad’s old records of the Beatles.  I learned as many songs as I could.  Then, when I was a bit older, I would buy tapes and play the drum parts along with my favorite songs.

This was probably a great therapy for me, even though I didn’t know it at the time.  I went on to be my dad’s roadie and even had my own middle school rock band.  We played the dances and it was really fun.  I played in the Ipswich High School pep band, concert band and jazz band too.  After high school, I really got away from it.  I mean I can still play, and every now and then I sit in on a song with a band if Sarah and I go out.  Have two small children makes this tough.

My mother-in-law saw me play a song once when we were visiting them up north in New Hampshire, and she sort of grilled me about how I should get a band like the one I was playing with and make money.  I know I probably sounded like a pessimist to her, but I told her that is very hard to do.  First, you need to have 4 players who are committed to putting the time in.  That is actually the hardest part.  Playing once or twice a month is the easy part.  Promoting, booking, and practicing 2 to three times a week is a commitment.  Also, you need to sound good.  I remember a buddy of mine in college whom I am still friends with today were kind of jamming around and we knew a lot of songs.  We thought how great it would be to start a band.  We tried out so many people who thought they could play, but they really couldn’t.  Chris and I would say something like lets play “Cocaine” by Clapton.  And the guitarist would fumble through it.  See, Chris, the bass play and I were so far along musically that we needed people who could play the song all the way through with very little trouble.  Most people can’t do that.

Now here is a question I have always wanted to ask.  How can a guy like me play the drums?  Not just play the drums, but play them at a very high level.  I have recorded with bands before.  Okay they were demos of songs we covered and wrote, but still, that is good.  How can that be and I have A.C.C.?  Thoughts?

I really don’t know where to pick up from here for the next blog.  Well, I am sure I will think of something to write about.  I want to thank you guys for hitting a thousand looks on this blog over the weekend.  I am so happy I can do this for you. My word, 1633 words.  I had a lot to say.  Until next time.

A LITTLE GLIMPS INTO ME PART ONE THE VERY EARLY YEARS

Hello,

I thought a great way to start off this blog would be to tell all of you a little bit about myself.  I know there is a lot to cover, so I decided to break it up into several parts.  I hope to one day turn all of this into a book.  This first installment will be about my early years, but before I get to that, let me tell you where I stand now.

My name is Brian Malaquias.  I am 37 years old.  I live in the city of Beverly, Massachusetts with my wife Sarah and my two amazing children, Ben and Emily.  My children are everything to me.  You will learn more about them in my Family section of this blog.  Beverly is a suburb of the great city of Boston.

Ben1Emily1Family1

I haven’t always lived in Beverly.  In fact, I was born in Marlboro Massachusetts, however, I don’t remember any of that part of my life due to the fact that my family moved to Ipswich Massachusetts shortly after I was born.  I did put a scare into my family when I had pneumonia when I was a few months old, but I was a fighter and battled through that, thank the Lord.  Now I know what you are thinking, when is he going to let us in on when he found about his Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum and how did he find out.  I will in due time,my friend, in due time.  Okay, I will give you then when now, and how later.  I didn’t find out about my A.C.C. until much later in life.  Looking back now, I always knew I was a little different, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  More on that later.

My very early years:

Although I was born in Marlboro, Ipswich has always been my home.  I love the town, I love the north shore and I love New England.  Our house was a little light blue ranch right down the road from Cable Gardens.  Back when I lived there, it was a hospital.  In the winters we would trudge down to the big hill out in front of the hospital and go sledding.  I didn’t last long at all because I hated the cold.  In the summers, we would go have ice cream at the Parish House.  They also had a wonderful penny candy store there as well.

Crane-Beach

One of the big draws to Ipswich is Crane Beach.  It is a beautiful beach, but I never really liked it much.  Picking sand out of my ass and not knowing how to swim had a little to do with it, however the biggest reason was that I saw Jaws at a very early age.  I haven’t been in since.  Don’t get me wrong, Jaws is still one of my favorite movies even to this day. but I just stay out now.

I have an older sister named Nicole and a younger brother named Jason.  My dad is named Lou, and my mom is named Nancy.  They grew up on Portuguese Hill in Gloucester Massachusetts.  I’ll say more on them in future blogs.  Lets just say, we aren’t the Brady Bunch, but then again who is?

As a very young child, I liked it quiet, very quiet.  We lived on County Road which was 1A.  It is a main drag through Ipswich and big trucks would barrel down that road and I would wake up screaming.  When we would go to the Gloucester Horrible’s Parade, I would scream when the fire trucks would blare their horns or the revolutionary guys would fire blanks from their muskets.  Who would have thunk it that all these years later I am the loudest one around.  Just ask my wife, Sarah.

When I was still very young, it was discovered that I was born with flat feet.  This was probably the first time that I noticed, I wasn’t like the other kids out there.  I am not saying this is due to the A.C.C, it isn’t.  I have a hunch that it is due to something else.  Once again, I will write on that subject at a later date.  Man, I know, these cliff hangers must be killing you guys.

I never crawled as a kid.  What my mom said I did was I would role.  I went from rolling to walking, it just took a long time.  My mom would have my toys all scattered around the room I was in.  My mom was a very neat and organized person.  There is a reason for the mess of toys everywhere.  I would be sitting there playing with a toy, while watching Sesame Street, or Star Wars and get bored with the toy.  I would then get interested in another toy and go for that toy all the way across the room.  Once my rolling stopped I would be at a different toy all together, but my mom always said I was happy that I found a toy, not necessarily the one I was going after.

I had to have an operation on my feet to correct them.  Now way back when, this operation was pretty evasive, but it had to be done.  What they did was to carve out an arch for my feet and add a bone fragment from my knee to my foot to correct the feet.  It all worked out as I can walk and run fairly normal now, that is unless I get clumsy and my brain doesn’t respond all that well.  I do trip and fall rather easily.

Boston_Childrens_Hospital

Anyway, I had to go to Boston Children’s Hospital for the surgery.  The people there were great.  The food was bad, at least I remember it being bad, but the chocolate chip ice cream was terrific, and I had a room that I could watch the Red Sox on my TV and see the stadium out the window.  I remember feeling very nervous about the whole thing, but my mom was there the whole time.  They gave me a choice of flavors for the gas when they put you out.  I picked root beer.  The doctor said count to 10.  I think I made it to one.  Actually, it sounded more like woo.

Fenway

The next thing I knew I woke up and I couldn’t move my legs at all.  I tore off the sheets looked down and saw the casts.  They went from my feet all the way to my thighs.  I screamed for my mom and she came in to calm me down.  My mom has always been there for me.  I admit I am a total momma’s boy.  I believe all boys are.  Anyway, when I got home, I had to wear special shoes that were clamped together with two steel pieces.  I had to go to school on a special bus.  Yes, the heckling was awful.

Okay so that is it for this blog entry.  Check out the next installment of this series when I talk about learning to play drums and the beginning of school.  Until next time?

Brian