Of my early childhood, there arenít many memories.† Most of what I remember isnít because I recall it, but more that I recall the stories told about me, and what I had done.† I donít remember walking into the living room while my mom was giving a party and ďdropping trouĒ as they say, revealing my quite full and quite dirty, diaper for all to see.† Nor do I remember getting up in the middle of the night with my dad and taking a rocket ship to Mars while using the potty, though both of these were often repeated to me growing up.
I had a good childhood, as these things go.† I wasnít abused, at least not by my parents.† The abuse I suffered at the hands of my sisters wasnít really that bad either, when it comes down to it, just simple childish pranks.† I remember hearing the story of my mom coming home, and seeing me in the high chair, holding a beef steak to my black eye at the age of one.† Apparently we hade been at the playground, and I climbed up the big slide.† I was only one, so when I got to the top I got scared, and froze.† It was my big sister Norma who came to my rescue, according to her later accounts.† She saw that I was frightened, so decided to help me down the most expeditious way possible, which in this case was directly over the side.† There was none of this taking the time to slide down the slide or anything.† I love my sister dearly, and know that she would never mean me any harm; she was just trying to calm my fears by helping me to the ground as quickly as possible.† It is a good thing that young boys are flexible and bounce!
Nor do I blame my sisters for the dislike I have to this day of raisins.† Sure, they thought it was quite funny to convince their little brother that the raisins in the cookies were actually bugs.† I was the only kid in school who would pick the raisins out of all his cookies Ė and I never knew why until many years later when they finally confessed.† I now know why, but I still donít like those desiccated grapes, though I wonít go out of my way to pick them off any more.
And I forgive them for the afternoon they chased me around our grandmotherís house, with one of those play syringes from a doctorís kit.† You know the ones, where you pull up the plunger and it shows a red center, so kids can pretend that it is drawing blood.† At the age of four or five I didnít know it wasnít real, didnít have a real needle, and wasnít drawing real blood.† They teased me all afternoon with that.
When I was growing up, it was before all the uproar they now have in hitting kids.† Spankings were simply a fact of life, you dealt with it.† Getting a spanking wasnít abuse.†† I have to admit that most of them were probably well deserved.†† Such as an early act of defiance, sticking my tongue out at my mom after she had said something to me that I donít know remember Ė but of course I did it just as she turned around to see.† I was outside, but she flew through that house.† Suffice to say I never did that again.†
Or the time I got caught sneaking around the laundry room.† The cabinets above the washer and dryer were just so interesting; I just had to know what was in them.†† I wasnít hurting anything, just investigating.† And when mom suddenly walked in, I froze.† She had something else on her mind, because she didnít see me at first.† I think it was because I moved, but it would have eventually registered that something was odd in her mind no matter what Ė a six year old standing on top of the dryer tends to stick out a bit.† I didnít sit down for a while after that one as well.
It was the dinner table that I remember it the most though.† With a family of five, not everyone could sit on a side.† As the baby then, I had the corner chair between mom on my left and dad on my right.† Which was ok, but one day I smarted off once to often, and like they had planned and practiced it, they managed to perfectly synchronize their hands, and I got it from both sides simultaneously.† Now that wakes a kid up Ė getting it from both sides at the same side.† Though I never did quite learn to keep my mouth shut, I managed to not be quite so bad with my remarks.
As I try to think back, it does seem that my earliest memories were getting in trouble.† Even when I grew a little older it seemed to be a pattern.† I was in a local pre school one summer, at about the age of four I guess.† I used to have a picture of the class on an old locomotive that was down at the park - this was back when they still let kids play on it, and me in my cowboy boots and shorts.† At the end of the summer, we were going to have a picnic at the Great Sand Dunes National Monument as a celebration on the last day.† I remember playing the in sand box (how fitting) with this red headed kid, and suddenly realizing that no one else was around.† We were late, so we came in, and there were our lunches, sitting on two chairs at the end of the row, and everyone else was sitting there.† My friend Scottís mom was one of the mothers driving that day, and I remember all of us packed in their station wagon, constantly asking if we could get into our lunches, which of course she said no to.†† Then when we got to the dunes, food was completely forgotten.† In fact, I remember that it was finally time to go, and we realized we still hadnít eaten lunch.† So we drove back, and as we started to eat at the picnic tables behind the church, it started to rain, so we ended up with our picnic inside.
I did have a good childhood though, even if I remember getting in trouble more than anything.† I didnít have many friends, because the other families in the neighborhood happened to have girls, not boys.† My friends lived on the other side of town.† Now that wasnít that far, but when you are too young for 10 speed bikes, and not allowed to go more than a block, it might as well have been across the country.† Having to be dropped off and picked up meant I couldnít go over there much.
Once I was old enough for school then my world grew quite a bit.† I never rode a bus to school, we simply lived too close, and for a while I went to the local Catholic school.† This was one of those run by the nuns Ė who liked to use rulers on your knuckles, and we all heard about the time one of them slammed one of the big tough fourth graders up against the wall.† Oh, and pulling you down the hall to the principles office by your ear.† But at least going there taught me how to swear properly, if nothing else.