I’m told I was a quiet child. That I spent more time watching and listening than participating. which mainly make up my memories from that time.
I did well in school until around the fifth or sixth grade but found it hard to follow directions. And I didn’t like to bring attention to myself by asking for help.
Which meant that I was bored and spent a lot of time staring out the window. Tuning all else out while I resorted to the nebulous confines of my imaginary world.
We had a big garden that yielded most of our food. I remember sitting in the dirt and watching the wind bend the corn stalks and shake the branches in the trees.
Storms would often follow. They always seemed to come in the dead of night. Sudden loud cracks of thunder and lightning would ominously light up the sky. We’d scramble to the cellar if it was a particularly bad storm.
I recall the blackberry bushes out in the garden. I recall eating those juicy blackberries and staining my fingers. Not all that many berries ended up in my bucket some days.
When I did make it to the house with a bucket of blackberries, soon there would be cobblers. Bubbling with hot fruit and glistening with sugar that my granny sprinkled on the crust.
We were simple people from a simpler time.
Simple people eat what they grow. They raise their own chickens and eat their eggs. They cook simple meals.
I remember eating a lot of brown beans and fried potatoes. Oh my, that was a good meal. Of course there was cornbread. And in the summer sliced tomatoes and green onions.
We always had lots of pets. Both cats and dogs roamed the property and then came inside with us at the end of the day.
I have a black and white photo somewhere of myself as a toddler carrying around a little dog.
I think that era was was what laid the path to my preferring my own company and that of animals over people.
Even when there were children playing around me. I didn’t seem to have much in common with them. And so I mostly stood aside and watched and wished to be invisible.
I read a lot and taught myself what I should have learned in a classroom. By the fourth grade I had saved up and bought myself a typewriter and taught myself to type.
I used to be angry about a lot of things. There were unexplained reasons for why I’d been short-changed in the parent department. That I was made to stand out when all I wanted was to blend in.
But now I realize that people from that time saw the world as a place where you simply did what you had to do.
Problems were solved by avoiding circuitous routes. And just doing what made the most sense at the time.
All that information about my parents, carefully hidden from me, was probably the groundwork that inspired the vivid imagination I have to this day. To my being obsessed with details and facts and finding answers.
And which brings me to write my words to you every single day.
It is the bits and pieces of a life lived and still living, of mistakes made, and of wisdom learned from those mistakes.
“It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he’ll look for his own answers.”