So, a bit of background first.
I’m the oldest of four: I have a brother who’s roughly a year and half younger, and two sisters who are four & five years younger, respectively. Born & raised Catholic at the outskirts of a conservative midwestern town in Ohio, my parents were both baby-boomers, making me (technically) Gen X, though I’m only two years past the cut-off date. Dad was middle-management at the local steel mill; Mom was stay-at-home. Our first home was on a rough, rural road that led back through overgrown forest & hills to the sprawling farm of the man who’d sold the land to make our small subdivision. Our neighbors atop the hill at the back of our house raised horses; one of my earliest memories is their oldest girl lifting me onto a placid horse and leading it around their pasture. “Adventure” meant riding our bikes all the way up the road to where the crumbling pavement changed to gravel and dirt, marking the start of the farmer’s property, or exploring the overgrown woods and fields surrounding the farmland.
Adventure also meant three teenage boys pulling knives on me and threatening to cut me — a first-grader — because my parents put a fence around our yard. It meant getting obscene phone calls & cars broken into & rocks/eggs thrown at our house. My parents were planning on putting an above-ground pool in the backyard, and city codes required the fence, not that our neighbors believed that. To their entitled, white-trash minds, the fence was only to spite them, and they decided that targeting a young child for threats & abuse was the best way to “get back” at my parents.
Thanks to the joys of public television (“Sesame Street”, “The Electric Company”, and “Zoom”) & a grandmother who took us kids to the library every week during the summer, I was reading well before kindergarten. My kindergarten and first grade teachers were surprised that I was reading so well; Ms. Honaker told my parents that even she hadn’t been able to get through Dr Seuss’s “Fox in Socks”, a tongue-twisty book that I’d used for my independent reading assignment. I was a bright, curious, highly-imaginative kid who wanted to read everything and learn everything and do everything…
…until it all fell apart.
Until I got old enough to learn the word “No”. Until I got old enough to have thoughts, ideas, and wants of my own. Until I got old enough to start thinking, and asking why, and wanting reasons.
This will be a fairly heavy blog, from this point on. I’ll be chronicling what I can remember, vomiting it up into actual words to try to purge the poison and shadows that have been festering for far too long.
So, yeah. Brace yourselves.