Friday, February 8, 2008

The Early Years

1983: A 19 year old college freshman with thick, wavy brown hair down to her bum, and a 22 year old soul, who is struggling to find an emotional balance between losing his father and gaining a daughter all within 18 months, find themselves in Islip, NY with a bundle of joy they name after a cheerleader they don’t know and the mother’s mother.

1985: A feisty two year old, a pregnant mamma, and a rusty 1970-something RV are hauled across the country to Colorado Springs. Needless to say there were no casualties other than the skis, bikes, rocking chair, and several other belongings that flew off of the top of the car on to the highway. A new home is established and a first best friend born.

1986: I remember waking up with my face smooshed against the vinyl-covered arm rest in the backseat of our orange VW Bug. The headlights reflecting off of mailboxes and living room windows woke me as we pulled around the cul-de-sac. We stopped. Inside was bare except for a child-sized chair and a small crib for a doll. I was immensely pleased with this. My father carried me upstairs, gave me a tour of each room and told me to pick one. Home, again.

1987: My brother sings songs he’s learned at school with a British accent and we play in the garden with “Big Brian” and Anna, catching bees in jelly jars. We have tea when we visit friend’s homes. Our babysitter puts chopped onions, pickles and celery in our tuna, and doesn’t allow us to go upstairs where the toys are. On summer evenings the four of us walk to the candy shop for sweets. We spend New Years watching a videotape my father’s family made on Christmas day in the States, and take a trip to Edinburgh in the spring.

1988: Tigger was my first and only pet. A babysitter was moving with too many children and too many pets. One had to go. My parents chose the cat. The only cat we will ever adore. She had greener eyes than I could ever describe and she was soulful. The first few days we had her she spent under my parents' bed and in the closet, from which I lured her into my arms with dry food. “T- I- double “Guh” “eR”

1990: The adventure continues in a small, depressed town of upstate NY. It is here where I forget how to read, my brother is swept down a stream in his snow clothes in the middle of winter, and where we live in the home of Val; the brother of a choreographer for Dirty Dancing.

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