My childhood was – I guess – fairly normal. We moved around quite a few times because my dad was in the military. I had quite a few friends, and was pretty well-liked. Occasionally, I had to deal with bullies.
I remember when Kennedy was assassinated. We lived in Montgomery Alabama and I was in the first grade. I remember it like it was yesterday. I went to Bellinger Hill elementary school, which was about four blocks from our house. I walked to school. I remember learning how to read using flashcards, and those Dick and Jane books. I remember getting the words is and this mixed up. Which, doesn’t really make any sense since I learned how to read phonetically.
When I was in the second grade we moved to Guam. We live in an oblong duplex that was painted pink. One time in school, we had a vocabulary test. One of the words was “altitude”. I didn’t know the definition, so I wrote on my paper “The boy’s name is Altitude.” The teacher marked it wrong. I remember arguing, technically, it wasn’t really incorrect, since someone could have that name. Of course, using that logic, I could have used the same sentence for every definition and gotten 100%. Anyway, the teacher didn’t buy it.
When I was in the fourth grade we moved to Michigan. K.I.Sawyer AFB. My fourth-grade teacher’s name was Mrs. Askew and I hated her. One time we spent an entire week on telephone etiquette. We took a test on Friday and I got an F.
When I was in the fifth grade, we had a mean old man teacher. I can’t remember his name. He used to make me stand in the corner. I hated him too.
When I was in the sixth grade, I had to take the bus to middle school. I totally don’t remember the teacher’s name. It was the first year that I had to start dressing out for gym class. I was 11 years old and had already started puberty. I was the only kid in my gym class who had. I felt like a freak. I was one of those kids we used to get picked last, or next to last. I sucked at basketball. One time we played wiffle ball, and I hit an accidental homerun. The next few times in gym class, I got picked first. Then, they realized that I really did suck and I started getting picked last again.
The sixth grade was also the year that I started taking drum lessons and joined the school band. I was in the beginner band, and at our first concert we played “Aura Lee” and “Little Brown Jug.” When I was in the seventh grade, I was in the intermediate band, and we got to play “Aquarius”. I thought that was the coolest.
When I was in the eighth grade, I had the hots for my male science teacher. That’s when I realized, “Hey, I like guys. That’s weird.”
During our Michigan stay, my best friend was Alan Matthews. He was an only child and his parents were so much cooler than mine. We used to play hot wheels and build tree forts. Sometimes we would do sleepovers. Platonic, of course.
Halfway through my eighth-grade year, we moved to Valdosta, Georgia. My best friend there was Robert Bryant. His dad was a college professor and they lived in this really cool Victorian looking house. One of our amusements was changing the words to current top 40 songs and making them dirty. We would usually make them about our classmates.
Halfway through my ninth grade year, we moved back to Arkansas because my dad got stationed to Korea. We stayed in the Townhouse Apartments. We were there until my dad came back. Then, he got stationed in Massachusetts. I was in the 10th grade. I hated that school like you don’t even know.
On Christmas Eve in 1973 my dad told my mom that he wanted a divorce. Drama ensued. Halfway through my junior year, we moved back to Arkansas. My parents eventually got divorced. My grandparents had moved, so we lived in their house. My mom got a job at a laser company. My mom’s friend fixed her up with some guy named Carl. They dated until they got married in 1977. He had a son named David. My mom died in 2007 from pancreatic cancer and Carl died just last year.
When I finished high school, I went to a college here in central Arkansas. I majored in music.
Anyway, that was my childhood. I have a lot of fond memories. If I talked about them all, this would be a book instead of a blog post.