An imagined “memoir”, with fictional details that I believe are consistent with what really happened, of my life as a young child, growing up in the late 1950s in the progressive university town of Ann Arbor Michigan in the U.S. Midwest. My challenge is to try to capture the emerging world of a precocious three to five-year-old kid and his interactions with his peers and the adult world. The story starts just before my third birthday, in April of 1958, when I am just beginning to really talk.
Click on the chapter title to read the chapter…
PART 1: DUBIOUS – Shy to speak more than a word here and there, I finally come forth with full sentences a few days before my third birthday, noting that, “I will be three years old!”, to the surprise and relief of my mom and dad.
PART 2: INTERIORS – On a rainy morning after breakfast with my mom and dad I take a tour of all the spaces of the house with my dad off working in his office in the basement, and I find some surprises in places I would not have thought of.
PART 3: BASEMENT – I spend a rainy day doing my imagination play down in the basement, a follow up on the same scenario, good guys vs pirates, that I played last night in the bath tub. My dad is also down there working in his office. Our worlds intersect for a moment.
PART 4: THIRD BIRTHDAY – Rain holds off and we have my 3rd birthday party in the park, with my best friend Molly in attendance, along with other kids and adults. Have an altered consciousness experience on the merry-go-round with Molly before her accident. Finally get to open my presents and solve the ticycle mystery. The day is all about my rules of engagement with adults vs other kids like me.
PART 5: TRICYCLE – With my dad on the periphery to make sure we are safe, particularly crossing the streets, Molly and I go on an adventure that culminates at the stadium and with a violent thunderstorm.
PART 6: ATTIC – Molly and I return from our tricycle adventure and the storm at the stadium to her very “complicated” house to have cocoa with her mom and my dad. Then she and I head up to her wonderful attic room to do some “pretend” play.
PART 7: BASEBALL – A baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees draws my mom and dad into conversation about what they do and do not have in common, and puts me “at the plate” and on the spot.
PART 8: DIRT – Dad takes me on an adventure in the car to get dirt at Killins Gravel pit for me to play with in the backyard. I get to be his helper on the way home.
PART 9: HIDDEN – At Molly’s suggestion we hide in the spruce tree in our backyard where we can see out but nobody can see us. It seems like a perfect place for us away from all the crazy world of the grownups and the baby in my mom’s tummy that is about to come out. Our disappearance causes quite a problem for our parents until Molly accidentally gives us away.
PART 10: BROTHER – That baby my mom and dad kept talking about finally came out of my mom somehow and she and my dad brought my brother home from the hospital to concerns on my part, but the beginnings of a connection as well.
PART 11: COOPER – My mom and dad take me to a grownup party across the street at Molly’s house, and I see my mom in action, mixing it up with a couple of the male friends of my dad’s. Also my various names, proper or nick, become an issue that my mom feels needs to be resolved.
PART 12: TELEVISION – Dad surprises us with a small television that he bartered for. At my suggestion, we find a place for it in the fourth “quarter” of the basement.
PART 13: TOM SWIFT – We finally finish reading Tom Sawyer and have to decide what to read next. Dad remembers the Tom Swift books I got for a birthday present and we pick out one to read, and I am introduced to a new world of imagination.
PART 14: CIDER – I go with Molly and her parents to the Dexter Cider Mill for wonderful cider and donuts and Molly and I do our imagination play in the car and in the middle of the stream by the Mill. Along the way words kids and adults should and shouldn’t say are discussed and we get a sense of Molly’s dad and their family dynamic.
PART 15: CAPTAIN KANGAROO – I find a show on TV that I like and my mom teaches me how to tell time well enough to figure out when it is on every morning, including my favorite cartoon that it shows with yet another kid named “Tom”.