My first memory is a nightmare.
It tossed me out of deep kid sleep.
I was about 4 or 3 because my sister is missing and must have been in a crib or someplace else.
We spent the day at an aquarium.
I woke up terrified of the fish that were swirling around on my ceiling. Water everywhere. So much water. A giant tank right above my head.
My father came and slept next to my bed and everything was dark bluish gray. Middle of the night colors.
My mother has always been terrified of water.
Specifically the ocean. I can’t blame her. The ocean is filled with monster fish.
My whole life I never saw her get in water beyond a kiddie pool. Better safe than…
No doubt this inspired my very brief and largely unsuccessful morning swimming lessons one summer at the Y. Just me. The middle kid will surely be a swimmer.
It went like this. Small group of small kids. A couple of teenage adults. We’ll begin where it says 6 ft. Everyone in the water. Jump in. Just jump. Those foam floating things won’t make it any better. The teenage adults are in the water holding out their hands.
The locker room smells weird. Everything is wet. Soaking.
Mom is reading a book.
She meant well.
I went to a private kindergarten for half a day and the afternoons it was Mom and me.
Nap and then circus peanuts for snack.
Puffy marshmallow candy in one color. Orange Peach. I loved them. Moms don’t snack their kids like that anymore.
There’s a reason.
Then Mister Rogers land of make believe on the t.v.
All animals should talk. And wear a watch. Just like Daniel Striped Tiger. I want to be Lady Aberlin.
Harry the Dirty Dog didn’t talk but he came in the mail.
Every month I got a book. Because Mom.
Write your name in the front so you know its yours.
The Sears catalogue also came in the mail. In November it was the Christmas Wish Book. Skip the clothes and go directly to the toys. Don’t stop.
Circle what you want with a ballpoint pen. Write your name next to it so Santa will know its yours. It doesn’t matter if we want the same thing.
Its raining again.
When Dad gets home from work he’ll build a fire. You can sit on the hearth with your back to the fireplace. In here its warm and dry.