Monday, May 01, 2006

First Memories

I was born in Victorville, California long ago in 1964. My father was in the Air Force and had been stationed in Germany, but my mother wasn't allowed to move until after I was born. So she had to go through labor and delivery in an Air Force hospital without my father being there. She had her small revenge since she got to choose a name for me that was different than what my father had agreed on. I was the third son in a row for the family and had a brother 4 years older and another 2 years older.

Up to this very moment, I had believed that my older brother, Douglas, the second son, lived a couple of years before dying. But I realized that like so many problems in my family it was never really discussed. So I went to www.familysearch.com and looked it up. It turns out he as born on November 9, 1962 and died on May 7, 1963 when he was just short of six months old. My understanding is that he was born with the bones in his head already fused. This is a condition that leads to mental retardation unless corrected and he died during the surgery to separate the bones. I was born a year and a half later on September 14, 1964.

Shortly after my birth my mother, oldest brother, and I joined my father in Germany. It must have been a happy reunion because only 17 months later my sister was born. When my father was transferred to the escalating conflict in southeast Asia, the rest of the family moved to Houston, Texas to be close to my mother's family. And this is where I have my first memories. They are few but pretty clear. I remember going to church one Sunday morning and "helping" my younger sister to the car. I must have been about four so she would have been about 2 and she wasn't too happy so I had my arm around her and was pulling her along. As we struggled along she slipped and I wound up dragging her across the lawn with my arm around her throat and her screaming bloody murder. I suppose this was the beginning a sometimes tumultuous relationship between us. This memory was reinforced while I was growing up because it was immortalized on film.

My next memory was of playing Batman with my brother and some neighborhood kids. This is where my relationship with the bone god started. My brother went off with his friends and left me. We had a beautiful pink Rambler American station wagon and I climbed up on the bumper and jumped off just like batman did on TV with an imaginary black cape billowing behind me. But, unlike my favorite superhero, my tibia snapped with a greenstick fracture. I remember dragging myself up the sidewalk screaming bloody murder. I remember that I didn't have crutches or a walking cast. I got around my doing a 3-legged crab walk. You know the one where you sit on the ground with your arms behind you and your legs out front and then lift up on your arms and legs. I seemed to get around fine like that and I think that I thought it was kind of fun.

A related memory is of sitting on a blanket at the beach. Everyone else was playing in the water while I was confined to the beach blanket and sand with my plaster cast. For some reason it occurred to me that the cast had enough of a gap in it to allow some sand to trickle in. So, of course, I proceeded to pour sand down my cast until it was full. What else would you do if you were four years old?

Anyway, I'm sure that this contributed to my next memory which was a visit to a hospital. Apparently, shortly after the beach trip I started to emanate a particularly vile smell and complain of extreme pain and itching under my cast. Imagine that. I experienced sheer terror, as only a four year old can experience it, as the doctor pulled out what looked like a Dremel tool with a large, circular metal blade on the end with very potent looking grooves in it. When he turned it on it gave off a horrible buzz and the blade became a blur. I freaked out and was sure that my leg was going to be sawed off. I think he demonstrated on his arm that it wouldn't cut and I think I eventually calmed down. I don't remember anything else, so the rest must have been uneventful.

And that's it. My first memories. Sorry to bore you.

2 comments:

GuateMom said...

Unfortunately for you, the attempted murder of your sister was caught on film to prove that you did indeed hate me and tried to strangle me at a young age!

Maybe it really just bonded us together since we seem to be the only sane one's left in the family!

Bull said...

Sane? How dare you?