(Reminder: This is a rough draft.)
I’m getting a little ahead of myself. At this point, you know I grew up in the US Army and moved eight times before I finished tenth grade. Kansas, Detroit. El Paso, Fort Bliss, it’s probably not helpful of me to jump around so much (as is going to happen in this rough draft stage – this is semi-structured stream of consciousness) without first giving you the big picture. So let’s do that.
“Land of Ahs.”
I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. I don’t remember anything about it, though, because I started pre-school in Hutchinson, Kansas. Kansas being Dorothy’s home state in The Wizard of Oz. They used to have “Land of Ahs” on the license plates. Hutchinson is also where I attended kindergarten and half of first grade.
Mom has fondly mentioned Mrs. Hook’s Play School many times in my 30-something years on the planet. There’s no way I could ever forget those roots. (Though I have no recollection of actually attending Mrs. Hook’s Play School, it should be said.)
My formal, primary education began at a small, religious school I’ve no desire to mention by name at this point. I remember portable classrooms and a finger painting my mom still has which I swear was supposed to be Inspector Gadget’s van. She swears I told her it was a bird in a nest, though, and she’s had it framed, on a wall, everywhere we’ve ever lived, so I dunno.
I also remember that was where I got to hold a violin. Perhaps the only time I’ve ever held a violin. Which might explain why, even today, I love the strings and wish I had time or inclination to pick one up and learn to play it.
This is where I would meet Tim Gay, a good guy who no doubt shouldered more shit-talking from inconsiderate, shit head peers, growing up, than most of us. (Hey. The early 80s weren’t exactly the most accepting years for people who were different. Oh yeah, and we’re talking about Kansas.) Just keeping it real. You don’t forget a guy named Tim Gay. You just don’t.
I can tell you Tim caught a lot of shit in his day because I saw it happen. Our paths would cross ten or so years later, thus my now remembering him as a guy instead another kid. Tim was – and probably still is – a super nice guy. Another classmate, Aaron, would point out we had a lot of fun with Lincoln Log catapults, though I still don’t remember sharing those magical building materials with anyone. We’ll get back to these two later.
Pretty sure this is where I learned to ride a bike. As I’ve already mentioned, I remember the freedom of two wheels in El Paso, but I remember the sting of short pants and asphalt in Hutchinson, Kansas. I’ll never forget lying on the black, leather couch in the cool basement, looking at my bloody knees, thinking I’d never learn to ride a bike.
/next: Dad’s Dajiban, Mom’s K-Car, the Wheedle on the Needle…