And then there are those memories that you do not have. But after all, what’s a family for? They tell you those things about yourself that otherwise you would never know.
I have three of these tales to relate. All centered on our humble cottage, in the shadow of Mount Rainier, near McChord Air Force base, where my Dad was stationed.
I had a rocking horse, I am told, of which I was fond. Not for riding, evidently; more along the lines of disassembling every now and then. It was put together with nuts and bolts. I would unscrew one of the nuts and promptly lose it. Then I would proclaim, “Where’s the nut?” (According to those that tell it, these were some of my first words, most likely my first sentence).
Mom and Dad, would look at one another and smile. They knew where the nut was. More importantly they knew who the nut was. Or so they still tell me.
Then there was Fatty and Skinny. My parents would plop me down on the floor in front of the black and white television. I wasn’t walking yet, so when I was literally ROTFL, I sometimes needed help to sit up again.
Gee (my favorite expression back then), I loved Laurel and Hardy. And still do.
And the big adventure, that earth-shaking event of my young life took place here also. I was little more than a babe (which by the way was my nick name, and Ollie’s also). I was mobile and could crawl pretty well. That was the problem.
I was outside in the yard. And I found something that had gotten away from a little German boy who lived nearby. (German boys it seems are my nemesis – more on that later). My Mom arrived in the nick of time to rescue a garter snake from a fate worse than, well – death. I was about to explore the world with that sense that every baby plumbs to the depth – taste. She pried that serpent from my clenched fist and opened mouth and flung it away. I’m sure she had some proper admonishment to educate my auditory sense.
I must have been eighteen months or so when we moved from that cottage. My father’s enlistment was up, and with Mom, my new brother and I packed up in the car, we set out for the East Coast, and Dad’s boyhood home.
There was not enough room in the car for everything. The small black and white television was given away, and my rocking horse was left hanging on the fence out front as we drove away.