I feel like I’ve been molested by a dirty old thief in the night. I feel like he’s taken a day of my life and I don’t have many to spare.
When you’re plans are suddenly shaken and your future is ripped off is bad enough in its way. But the saddest thing that could ever happen is to take a man’s hope away.
But even worse I am told is to take away your soul and leave you with nothing at all.
I was just a young boy it seems like yesterday. I caught snakes and jumped in the lake. I found more kinds of rocks than anyone ever and I kept them in a box in my room.
I figured out what each was by studying about geology. I was fascinated at how many kinds there were. There was sedimentary, metamorphic, and of course, igneous. And I knew just how each one was formed. It seemed everything then was totally new and I was enthralled by it all.
Chemistry was the next on my mission. I funded my latest hobby with money I made by selling personalized greeting cards, mostly to family.
I got a microscope and instructions sent in the mail. Then I looked at my hair or a piece of my skin and thought there’s a whole world in there. And I mixed up some chemicals and it made quite a stink and my mother said outside or your chemicals will go down the sink.
I had more pets than I can remember. We had dogs all the time. There were mice in the cage that I made. I kept rabbits outside and turtles in a bowl and watched as they went on their way. A young bird fell from the nest and I nursed him for days until he died of loneliness and being without his mother.
I played baseball as much as I possibly could. And played king of the mountain with the kids in the neighborhood. And built go karts with parts cannibalized from unwanted baby carriages and raced them down the hill, stopping when there was nowhere left to go.
Camping in the back yard in the middle of the winter. The sleeping bag kept me so warm. So did the fire that we made to cook up our dogs and potatoes. And we didn’t get to bed before dawn as we talked all night about things that we made up. The funny thing was that we didn’t care if the things were real as long as we made it to dawn.
And the summers were dreamlike, a gift from the heavens. There was nothing to do but explore. And we left in the morning and came home in the evening in time for our mothers to call. There was magic at the beach and the sand was always so warm. The day were long and went on forever before it was time to go home.
At night we watched movies, gathered at the beach house. The kids all rushed for the best seats in the front and waited for the first reel of the Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin movie. But none of us watched, we were too busy talking and then told to shush by our moms.
And as I got older I turned on to music. There was Elvis and Danny and the Juniors too. I would get out my paper and pen and just sit for hours spinning the discs to figure out what they said. And I never did find out what Elvis was saying but it was all good in its way.
And I always so busy that I never thought of the future. My youth was an ongoing blur. The thought of someone, or something, one day getting in my way meant nothing to me. And so many years later, I think back on my childhood and wonder how it all went away.