Tuesday, October 31, 2006


The first five years of a child's life is spent cementing what that little person is like for the rest of their lives. Granted people can change but the research shows that who you are, what your personality will be like, is ingrained in these first few years of life.

We've taken great care to do as much as any grandparent can do to help Grace become a happy, well adjusted person: A winner in her lifetime.

This time of life has been a time for reflection. How did I get from there - birth to five years of age to where I am today. What formed the personality that I have than is a gift one moment and a curse the very next? Why do I feel such great responsibility for everyone and everything even at times when it's best to mind my own business? What happened to me?

I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. It was toss. It was turn. It was flop, flop and more flop in bed. Thinking, thinking, thinking, the poison to a good night's sleep. How did I get from there to here was on my mind.

Chapter 1: Birth to 2.5 years. It was spent in this very house living with my mom, her two high school age sisters, my grandmother and grandfather (Pop). My mother and father separated and divorced before my birth. There were no visits from my father. Never.

While mom worked at the bank downtown, I stayed with my grandmother who for all practical purposes played the role of my mother for these first few years.

As the story goes, I was the apple of everyone's eye. I would bounce on everyone's knee, dance every bebop dance with mom or her sisters when the right tune was played on the radio. All three of the sisters loved to sing, singing along with what was playing on the 78 speed record player. Old Butter Milk Sky, Sentimental Journey were two songs that were favorites to sing. There was always laughter and lots and lots of music and singing in our midwest home.

In mom's family toilet training came early and by age one. Sitting on the toilet until I did something was apparently a family tradition. "Can I get off now!" And most of the time I had to sit a while longer.

Mom started dating a man who worked at the Army Air Field. It was WWII and the field was in full operation to support the war effort. It must have been a heart wrenching decision for my mother when she made the decision to leave Nebraska with her new man and her little boy, leaving behind the life and the family she had always known.

Pop helped my soon to be step dad lower a trunk full of all the worldly possesions mom and I had from the second story window of our house (see the picture). The trunk was heavy. Luck had it that no one was killed or seriously hurt from a trunk hurling from a second story window.

I remember that sad day when we boarded a Union Pacific train that was headed west, a cold midwest December day I left our little town with my mother and her new man. In spite of my loud protests staying behind with my grandparents was never an option. My world, the direction of my future had just taken a 180 degree turn in the very opposite direction. Life would never be the same.

The train was old. It had been used to transport troops during the war. The seats were wooden making for an uncomfortable ride. When I slept I nestled down into my mom's lap hoping to wake up at home and in my own bed at grandmothers.

The train stopped along the way. People came. People went. When it came time to stop in Reno, mom and her new man got off the train along with me riding atop his shoulders. It must have been a picture.

That night Mom and her new man were married. After spending the night in a Reno hotel close to the tracks, we boarded a train early the next day bound for California. Mom said that during this last leg of the trip that I ran up and down the train aisle shouting, "I've got a new daddy! I've got a new daddy!"

Mom would remain married to her new man, my new daddy, for the rest of her life.

Next - Chapter 2: Life in Fresno: Ages 2.5 - 7 Posted by Picasa

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States