I feel like I am still the same person I was when I was in high school; and the same person in college, in the Air Force, in grad school, in teaching, in business, in my decades in various coffee shops talking, and now. When I think back on my earliest years in grade school, it’s not so much me, but by sixth grade there is no mistaking me for anyone else. I can remember a few marginally outrageous things I did in school that no one but me would have done.
I was so very lucky to have the parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles that I lived with for extended times, that let me behave as I chose. I was a good kid so there was never any discipline, and no guidance; my various guardians and I just did things together. There were some events: One time, about age nine, I caught a snake, and not knowing how to keep it I put it in the bathtub, until my parents got home to help me, and I went out to play. My mom came home before I saw her and while sitting on the toilet she discovered the snake next to her in the bathtub. I wasn’t there, of course, but it must have been exciting. After things calmed down, I was told to turn the snake loose where I found it, but that was as close to punishment as I ever got.
This is a photo of my mother one hundred years ago. As I was her only child, that doll is symbolically me twenty years before I was born. There’s a family story about her wearing the big hand-me-down boots because the snow was getting in her shoes.
The note in my baby book, where these photos came from, said my first word was “doggie,” spoken at age seven months. It’s hard to believe this baby was talking, but it’s clearly checking for something at its level, like a dog.
I survey the world from the Del Rey apartments.
I’ve had a great life in that I had a good time doing what I wanted to do.