Looking back, it seems like all this took place mere minutes before the Pill became available, mere hours before the Sexual Revolution and Free Love hit.
It was small-town Ontario in the early-to-mid-'60s, many decades before "sexting" and well before any of us shaggy-haired punks thought to question what Led Zeppelin meant when we were singing along with "I'm gonna give you every inch of my love."
We were as blissfully unaware of reality as a shocking number of Ontario parents seem to be today. Last week, angry parents yanked 29,000 of their kids out of Toronto-area schools to protest the province's radical new sex-education curriculum that will be introduced in September.
In prudish Ontario, heaven forbid that any of those innocent children find out that their moving parts have names.
Had there even been a sex curriculum for school back when we were dancing to Led Zeppelin, it would have had to include the following local truths:
You cannot get pregnant if you do it standing up.
You can, however, get pregnant from a toilet seat.
Should you fear you may have become pregnant accidentally, immediately jump up and down hard three times.
If that doesn't work, there are places to go, far out of town, where no one will ever have to know. The father, whoever he is, can stay.
You will go blind if you play with yourself. The last thing you will see is hair growing on the palm of your hand.
And, most importantly, contraceptives are available to those who know the town secret.
Having no textbooks to learn from, we held our classes in the schoolyard, in back seats of cars, in gravel pits and, when the mosquitoes and blackflies died down, in isolated backwoods clearings.
The closest we had to printed material were the nudist magazines kept on the highest shelf at the little smoke store opposite the only theatre in town. Some of us would later be rattled to our core to discover that there were things called "nipples" and "pubic hair" where we had been led to believe were only blurred swirls.
In Grade 9 health class, there was once the briefest discussion of homosexuality. The teacher told a story about being approached during a train ride by an older man. The attempted seduction was brilliantly rebuffed by luring the man to the open space between cars and hurling him out. We roared with laughter, completely oblivious to treasured friends who were laughing on the surface but cringing in terror below.
When it came to contraception, the more worldly among the elder teens would pass on the great town secret to the uninitiated. If you were to take a $1 bill – anyone recall those? – and wrap it tightly around the index and middle finger of your right hand, and if you kept that hand in your pocket until you reached the cash register of a certain Main Street restaurant, and if you then very discreetly pulled your hand out and laid it over the glass case that held the smokes, then the man at the cash, without saying a word, would slip the dollar bill off your fingers, reach under the cash and even more discreetly set a single condom in the palm of your hand.
That was Ontario then – and, astonishingly, still some of Ontario today.
Many parents in the Prude Province are saying it should be up to them to inform when it comes to sex education. But let us all pause in gratitude that it was not left to our parents to educate us in those long-ago years.
Few, if any, of those '50s and '60s parents would have been even as enlightened as Homer Simpson, whose personal curriculum boils down to "Be generous in the bedroom – share your sandwich."
Ontario of the generations back of the 1960s was still very stuck in the hangover of the Victorian Age. Schools in those years used to line up boys to repeat "Jesus Christ and Canada expect me to be an A1 boy" – no further sex education required.
There was a member of Parliament, John Charlton, who prior to the Great War introduced a bill in the House of Commons aimed at criminalizing seduction. "No vice will more speedily sap the foundations of public morality and of national strength than licentiousness," warned the Hon. Member.
The Canadian Purity Education Association was, 100 years ago, the rough equivalent of today's parents who came to protest at Queen's Park. The association even lobbied for the provincial government to create a "provincial bureau of purity." It's somewhat surprising that it hasn't been mentioned again this past week or so.
The "Social Purity" movement of the day was, no surprise, stronger in Ontario than anywhere else. It was fully embraced by William Lyon Mackenzie King, the future prime minister who often spent his evenings trying to talk common sense – not dollars – with Ottawa "women of the night."
C.S. Clark, a renowned moral watchdog from what was then called "Toronto the Good," launched a campaign against any courting that might be done in the great outdoors. Toronto's great parks, he argued, turned into "an immense house of ill-fame" each summer and any young woman who could be found there with her beau was engaged, in his studied opinion, in a form of "prostitution." As for those more coy young women who might, say, drop into an ice cream parlour with their boyfriends, they were deemed to be "occasional prostitutes."
Isn't that a bit like being "partly" pregnant?
There was much confusion back then about gender identification. Even the much-admired rights activist Emily Murphy came out of her Toronto private school education believing that "females of all races who are subject to undue physical exercise lose early their picturesqueness, comeliness and contours. They tend to become asexual and conform to the physical standards of the males."
There was, in fact, once a very specific manual on sex published in Ontario through the then-powerful Women's Christian Temperance Union. It was written by a doctor, Mary Wood-Allen, and entitled, rather appropriately, What a Young Girl Ought to Know.
The helpful doctor had a surefire remedy for the menstrual cramps that so often disturb young women just reaching puberty.
The cure? Dishwashing.
"The soiled dishes represent myself," the good doctor told young women to believe, "with my worn-out thoughts and desires."
No, there is clearly no need for any modern sex education curriculum in Ontario.
Just tell them to do it standing up and everything will be just fine.