1972 – 1973

Well happy third birthday to me. I had a baseball themed cake — which, whatever, dream your little dream mom and dad. I’m not into it. At least it was chocolate. I would have picked something with more frosting roses but we’re dealing with the bakery at the local Safeway. The only lettuce they have there is iceberg, so it’s not like variety is their strength. It’s May and it’s finally warming up here. I’m glad Susan is getting out of school soon because it gets boring in the house alone.

Susan’s birthday rolled around this month (JUNE) and she’s six, which is SO grown up! My dad planted a weeping willow tree in the back yard. He’s not around much because of work and he’s also very involved in politics. He likes the guy with the weird nose — that guy Nicky? He’s already president. I don’t know, I don’t follow the stuff. He loves to yell at the TV during “60 Minutes” — a show so boring they warn you how long it is in the title. Get a load of this: we’re going to Georgia. Yikes. When mom told me I started crying. We’re driving there and then we’re going to Disney World afterward which I suppose is a fair bargain.

So my mom’s parents live in a haunted house. It is 100% haunted and weird. It’s super old, in the middle of the woods, the roof is made of tin and there is a broken refrigerator on the front porch. Also, there is no air-conditioning except in the TV room. My grandmother watches The Guiding Light, Young and the Restless and General Hospital all day long. We did get to ride on a tractor and there is a barn with a hay loft and wild cats living in it. However, the family portraits and scary pictures of Jesus all over the place are freaking me out. Georgia is not as bad as I imagined, but I’m really glad I’m not growing up here — they do not treat people fairly here like they do on Sesame Street.

Disney World was kind of amazing. I especially loved the Dumbo ride and Country Bear Jamboree. Even my sister was in a good mood. She’s usually sulking. Which I totally understand, my dad is angry ALL THE TIME but you’ve got to learn to play along. The thing about him is just pretend to be what he wants and he’ll leave you alone. It’s easy enough to do. We did not get to stay in the hotel with the monorail going through it — I guess it’s too expensive? Whenever I watch the Wonderful World of Disney they have a shot of that monorail going into a hotel and it looks like THE FUTURE — a place I desperately want to be.

So guess who is going to pre-school? ME! My mom gets me up in the middle of the night, it’s dark out, seriously — then she drives us to Todd’s house and we sleep on the couch there. Then Todd’s mom takes me and Todd to pre-school and my sister and Leah go to elementary school. My pre-school is VERY cool. The building is octagonal shaped with a domed skylight in the roof. It’s so modern. I love it. We learned the BINGO song and made skyscrapers out of scraps of wood. I am fascinated with the Price Tower. It is downtown and is one of the more futuristic buildings I’ve ever seen. So far pre-school is great. I don’t love getting up in the middle of the night but I guess because of my mom’s job that’s just the way it is.

Dad is very excited about President Nickel winning again. I’ll be glad when the election is over. That guy’s nose freaks me out. He doesn’t look anything like his picture on the Nickel — very confusing. Oh, so this year for Halloween I’m going as Scooby Doo. I have my mask and everything. My costume came with a plastic bag with a picture of the Mystery Machine on it. My mom says I’m old enough to go to the Haunted House at my sister’s elementary school. The big kids put on a haunted house — it’s mostly made of sheets of black plastic and a dry ice fog machine. I can handle it — please, I spent two weeks sleeping in my grandparent’s haunted house that has real ghosts in it. A third-grader wearing a Frankenstein mask isn’t going to mess up my life.

My mom and dad had company over for Thanksgiving this year and mom made a salad that had mandarine orange wedges in it. They came in a can and are pretty much the most delicious thing I’ve ever had. A lot of kids are opposed to salads but I love them. I’m also a fan of spinach because of Popeye. It is weird that his cartoons are in black and white but I love when he eats spinach how he suddenly becomes super strong. I want to be able to do that — and so whenever mom heats up these frozen blocks of Birdseye spinach I eat it without hesitation. It tastes kind of gross but it’s nowhere near as bad as Brussel sprouts. Supposedly the spinach is going to kick in at some point? I need to be able to physically defend myself — kindergarten happens next year and I don’t think it’s going to be as groovy as pre-school.

My Aunt Nell sends me shirts for Christmas so obviously she’s a horrible person. My mother has this ballerina made of straw that she hangs on the tree every year. It’s her favorite ornament and she’s had it since she was a child. This year my dad took us out in the station wagon and drove us around to look at Christmas lights on all the houses. We have our tree but the house isn’t very well decorated. There’s no way my dad would put in that much effort. Mom is super paranoid about the tree catching on fire. Anyhow, we got to go through the Sears catalogue and pick out things we wanted Santa to bring us. I’m so into the magician’s kit. Mom says it’s too much of a choking hazard. I think she gets her anxiety from her mother. My grandmother is flat out crazy. When we were at her house this summer she kept warning us to come inside because, “the panthers are going to get you.” Panthers!? Grandma is scared of everything: the devil, electricity, animals, black people. How did she get like this?

It’s January and my dad is in Australia for a month. Mom’s been crying a lot more than usual. She was on the phone talking to one of her friends and she kept bringing up divorce. Susan explained that our parents hate each other and sooner or later they’re not going to be married to each other anymore. This kind of makes sense. So they do fight a lot. I hear him yelling most nights after I’ve gone to bed. He’s in the family room and he’ll start screaming at my mom about something. It’s weird. I don’t get them. The next morning they act like none of it happened at all. Like, if I get out of bed in the middle of the night and make even a little noise I’m in trouble. But he screams his head off and that’s okay?

My dad returned from Australia and gave us stuffed Koala Bears made of real fur. It’s the softest thing I’ve ever touched. Same kind of fur as a rabbit’s foot. I have a blue rabbit’s foot and you can feel it’s toenails. I also have a raccoon skin cap. The  tail has bones in it — you can feel them when you pull on it. I also have a bunch of feathers dyed different colors. I like how you can smooth a feather out with your fingertips. Yeah, so more fighting at home between mom and dad. I figured after president Vixen got re-elected he’d settle down. He even got a letter from the president thanking him for his help in the campaign. My dad is so proud of it, he framed it and hung it in his office at work. In pre-school we made Valentine heart cards with real lace on them. I love working with construction paper and glue and glitter — these things are important. My mom gave me a set of scented markers and the red one is my favorite because it smells like cherries.

So here’s a weird thing that happened. It’s March — and we’ve been having a lot of rain. Yesterday the skies were incredibly dark. These huge clouds came rolling in. Then in the late afternoon all these sirens started wailing. You could hear them everywhere. I was watching the Brady Bunch when the TV went nuts — some kind of warning announcement. It was a tornado warning! Ever since I saw “the Wizard of Oz” I’ve been hoping we’d have a tornado because I would love to go to Oz. My mom came running in and grabbed me and my sister and made us all hide in the closet. So there I was, huddled up next to my beloved Hoover, listening to the wind and the trees and the sound of something roaring in the distance. Please take me, please take me, please take me… After about half an hour it all stopped and I was still in Oklahoma.

My dad’s in the hospital. No one is telling me why but I already know. We’re at Amy’s house and her mom is taking care of me and Susan while my mom’s dealing with him. He had a heart attack, apparently. I heard Amy’s mom explaining it to someone on the phone. He’d been really grouchy lately so I guess having a heart attack is what happens to people who are mean? Note to self… I’m not sure what any of this means. Amy has the coolest thing in her house. It’s a big branch painted white and it’s decorated with Easter eggs. They made us go to church with them for Easter. They go to a different church — theirs is really scary and you have to do choreography. Sit, stand, kneel, get the cracker! Wow! I really do not get why church is so popular with grown-ups. I have an idea, how about we don’t put on painful shoes and not waste a day inside while a guy yells at us?

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December 28, 2019

You have had such a cool life….I can hardly wait to read more…..

January 15, 2020

Aww!  this is great – envious of your recall!