May 13 2012
Did you have a fun childhood? You know, the kind where every day seemed like Christmas or the Fourth of July? Did your parents make you feel like you were the best kid who ever lived and that one day you were going to change the world, write the great American novel, or at least cure cancer? Were you always stylishly dressed, well rested, completely satisfied and deliriously happy? Me too! No, just kidding.
My childhood was often difficult. I felt lonely and unloved much of the time. However, I had many good times, too. I had food, clothing and shelter. I had pets. I got to name them. I had a sister (I didn’t get to name her; she came first). I remember that when I was very young, my mom had this funny little Betty Crocker booklet of different birthday cake shapes. Each year she would get it out and have me choose a cake for my birthday party (I mostly remember the butterfly and the rabbit). She would elaborately decorate the cakes with coconut (yum), licorice (yuck) and gum drops (oh, yeah). My mom would let me pick where ever I wanted to go and whatever I wanted to do for my birthday, anything from spending the day at the zoo to dining at the fancy revolving rooftop restaurant downtown.
When my mom took me to the hospital at age six to have eye surgery, she said not to worry, because I had the same eye doctor as the Washington Redskins. So, I didn’t worry. The first time I went to work with my mom (she was a secretary), I was thrilled to discover a paint-by-number that I had made hanging on the wall by her desk. My mom would always buy me a new Nancy Drew Mystery when I finished the last one (I know, I’m old). My mom would let me play dress up with the cat (forgive me dear Smokey, forgive me). My mom even developed the blank roll of film I produced with my pin hole camera (the guy at the Photo Hut said that perhaps I had made the pin hole too big). One magical year my mom bought me a twirling baton for Christmas and a Star Wars X-wing Fighter for my birthday.