Sliced Bread

INDEX to Bites from the book "Sliced Bread"

Man from Mars

From "Sliced Bread" by Rosemary Phillips

"Sliced Bread" a book by Rosemary Phillips
As a child in Chingford (London, UK) I took great delight in being able to go to the library all by myself. The library was a special place. The shelves were full of adventures to be taken home and experienced, page by page, in the solitude of a quiet corner. There were heroes and heroines, historical events, and stories about far away places that whisked me away from my own quiet life and filled me with a thirst to learn more. I knew there was more to life than what I was experiencing in my own, and by the age of fifteen I had moved past teen romance stories and was seriously searching for information on things other than this life.

On one of my evening visits to Gananoque's (Ontario) public library, upstairs in the old town hall, I ventured into a different aisle and found myself in adult fiction. There under “A” I found a new direction in life. Two books seemed to jump right out at me, Inside Space-Ships and Flying Saucers Farewell, both written by George Adamski who described in great detail, with photographs, his encounters with life from Mars and Venus

I hid away in my room and devoured every word as I read about other life forms, about their philosophy, and about methods of transportation that used magnetic force fields instead of gasoline for power. Adamski told of other planets orbiting beyond Pluto in our solar system. This fact was proven to be true a number of years later, but in the meantime, 1965, this was either unknown or not public knowledge.

I embarked upon a secret battle with the librarian who kept shelving these books in fiction. I know that was where I had found them but after reading them I really felt they needed to be in some area of science, so while the librarian wasn't looking I would remove them from fiction and quietly make my way on the squeaky wooden floor into the next room and place them on the science shelf. Sure enough, on my next visit to the library I would find the books back in fiction.

Two years later my favourite geography teacher took a leave of absence for a year and was replaced by a very strange young fellow who seemed far too small for his clothes. He was quite unkempt and wasn't a particularly attractive man, in fact, he wasn't handsome at all. What he may have lacked in appearances he gained in genius, but even so, he had great difficulty in communicating his knowledge to his students. He was ripe for the insults and mockery that came from the boys at the back of the class. The poor man just couldn't cope. He was so full of information it was oozing out of him, but he just couldn't express it.

On one particularly bad day, when the boys at the back went one step too far with their rude comments and ridicule, he stood at the front of the class in silence, then began, "I have been doing my best to give you information and knowledge, but I just don't understand you people. I just can't seem to communicate with you. You have such an entirely different culture from what I am used to. Where I come from there is more respect and caring. When I came here I didn't know it would be so difficult. You see, I'm from Mars."

At this the boys just burst into fits of hysteria. Now I understood. George Adamski had written about extraterrestrials spending time on Earth. My heart went out to this man and I sensed I was the only one in the classroom who believed him. We never saw him again. I often wonder where he went and where he is now. Maybe he went back to Mars to get more training in dealing with rude Earthlings.

Science, fact or fiction? My journey into investigating things other than this life was beginning to creep into my school projects. When we were asked to choose a subject for a math term paper I chose The Dimensions of the Heavenly Spheres and gathered a stack of books and a recent Scientific American (October 1967) to plot the heavens and begin calculations to illustrate that humans "have been able to determine the sizes and distances of the heavenly bodies and to construct systematic and rational accounts of the irregular and puzzling motions of the mysterious wanderers in the sky."

I was excited with the discrepancies I found. The most recent encyclopaedias reported Venus as rotating counter-clockwise, while Scientific America, in it's article on the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico, showed that Venus rotates clockwise on it's axis. The telescope also proved that Mercury rotates in 59 days rather than the 88 days as recorded in encyclopaedias. In addition, the telescope was expected to bring about an answer to the question of how the world began, with a result expected in about five year's time (1972).

History and science, as we knew them, were changing. I immersed myself in exciting mathematical equations and geometric drawings showing how to determine distances between stars and planets without the aid of a telescope, and encountered the works of Anaximander, Luecippus, Plato, Democritus, Eudoxus, Apollonious, Hipparchus, Ptolomy, Copernicus, Tycho Brake, and Kepler, all great astronomers and philosophers, all with their own interpretation of the heavens.

I filled pages with notes and diagrams on the radius of the moon, velocities of Earth and Mars, the distance between Venus and Earth, Venus from the Sun, and the sizes and distances of stars. I even threw in some information on U.F.O.'s and, just for fun, calculated a trip to Mars. It was a bit presumptuous of me, an excited teenager, to think we would be travelling to that planet within twenty years.

The response from my math teacher was a once-in-a-lifetime 100% grade. However, my English teacher was not so open-minded when I handed in a beautiful piece of fiction, titled "Orphan of the Sea", that touched on the surreal, the metaphysical. It was marked with a "B" and the comment, "There is nothing suggested or implied to justify this ending." It was worse with history. I barely scraped by with a pass after starting to explain history the way I saw it.

So, what is fact? And, what is fiction? And from whose point of view?

Copyright © 2002- Rosemary Phillips, Quills Quotes & Notes   All rights reserved
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