The Early Years

Sunday 4-27-14 005 On this stormy Sunday afternoon, I want to add another chapter from my memoirs about the early years of my life, before I had formed any opinions about life.

FOR MY CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, ANYONE WHO WILL BE INTERESTED.

I don’t know how old you were when you first started noticing the world around you, or what you remember from the early years of your lives, but I have several fleeting memories of events that I should have been too young to remember.  Maybe I just heard about them, but the pictures are so real in my mind that I feel like I must remember them, and they aren’t just stories I have been told.

The first vivid memory is of an afternoon soon after Steve was born.  Mom had us in the front yard, Steve sitting on a blanket, while she Tony, and I were sitting around him on the grass, or on the edge of the blanket, enjoying the sunshine.  I was 3 1/2 year old at the time (I have come to realize this later, since Steve was a baby and I am that much older than he).  Mom was reading to us, when suddenly all of the church bells in town began ringing, we heard people cheering, and then our paper boy came running down the street yelling “The war is over, the war is over!”  The year turned out to be 1945, and the month August, VJ Day.  The exact date is no longer listed on calendars, but some day I will look it up and insert it in this book.  Mom started crying, and while we didn’t know the reason then, now I know it was because your great uncles, John, Vird and Leo would finally be coming home.  VE Day had come and gone, but they were still in Europe until the war was completely over, in case they had to be reassigned to the Pacific, but now they would be coming home.

I didn’t know about atomic bombs back then.  That was something they would teach us later, in school.  About how the bombs were a good thing.  But no, guys, bombs are not a good thing.  Peace is a good thing.  Please find ways to settle your arguments by peaceful ways, not by fighting.  Keep peace in your hearts always.

Another of my memories, actually most of them, involve Tony, your evil uncle.  He turned out to be a really great person to have for a big brother, but as a kid he was pure evil.  I was born as bald as an egg.  Now don’t laugh guys, because Mike was the only one of you born with hair.  In fact, when the doctor showed him to me I asked if they were sure he was really mine, since my Gina and Donny were also bald as eggs.  Be nice Mikey.

When I finally started growing some actual hair, Tony and our neighbor, a different Michael, decided to play barber one night under a street light.  Yeah, your mom was the customer.  They took my scissors and scalped me in spots.  Your grandmother was at the grocery at the time, and I remember hiding when she came home.  Tony hid also, but it didn’t do any good.  She found us, screamed, then cried.  Poor lady.  She cried a lot back then.  The first punishment was taking away my scissors.  That still seems unfair, because I trusted my big brother.  I know, he was the one who kept leading me into trouble, but if you can’t trust your big brother who can you trust?

This incident, however, led me to my first appointment in a beauty shop.  My aunt, Johnnie May set that up for me.  She also kept reassuring your Grandmother that by cutting my hair it would make it grow back in thicker and with more body.  She was right about that.  But I was an unhappy camper for a long time.If anyone asks, I'm out looking for my smile! (this was taken a year later).

At one time Tony, Nelda (our neighbor from next door) and I were making mud pies in the driveway after a rain.  Tony handed my one, telling me it was a chocolate pie, and urging me to eat it.  I was still very gullible back then, and still trusted Tony, although I was making the same mud pies as he was, but if Tony told me it was chocolate, it just HAD to be chocolate.  I don’t remember taking the bite of the mud, but I will never forget having my head held under the kitchen sink while mom tried getting the mud, rocks and whatever else out of my mouth and washing the residue out, all the time yelling at me for eating it.  Tony had disappeared when I ran to the house, so I was the logical one to be yelled at.

This is totally out of sequence, but there was the time during the war, when certain foods were rationed.  Sugar was one of those items, and I think it was 5 lbs per family for a month.  Mom read to us every night, and the story the night before had been “Hans and Gretel”, so when mom was napping after her morning shopping trip, Tony decided we should play Hansel and Gretel.  We couldn’t find any bread crumbs to mark our trail, so evil brother decided the sugar would do well.  I think you can use your imaginations on the results of that game.  And since the house we lived in had wide, wooden floor boards, your grandmother was still trying to get that sugar out from between the boards when we moved from that house in 1947.

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There are a lot more memories from those early years on Parrish Court, although I was only 4 1/2 when we moved from there to the country, but these are some of the hilights.  I’ll be moving around through my life stories for a while.  Some will be amusing, some will not.  But life is full of twists and turns, and that’s what makes it so much fun to live, and so worth living.

A.

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