Growing up in a small town, I originally, until the time I was ten, lived in a small four room house that had neither a bathtub, shower or toilet. We were poor but we made do. Our drinking water came from an old cistern. A kind of well. When it was later cleaned out, it had these little albino frogs jumping around down at the bottom of it. Yummo!
My only friends and neighbors for miles, until I was six, were a family called The Hogstons. Yeah, that was their actual last name. Their only kids were two young boys. They had a couple dogs as pets... and then some. For fun, the boys, David and Lowell (about my age at the time) would play "The Lemonade Game." If you're thinking that this game involved running around in circles, pissing into each other's mouths all the while, then you would be correct. sir. I even have memories of them humping a family wiener dog, but I didn't know back then what the hell they were doing because I WAS A GODDAMN KID.
Sure they would invite me to play their games. But usually, even while I would say "No thanks," unsteadily, I was in a state of shock. I would offer my own ideas like, "Let's go ride bikes." They would have none of those (normal) types of childhood hobbies.
The one thing they did that really scarred me for life was when they locked me in a cold, spider- infested, cobweb filled basement, with the lights out. I screamed for hours. When the door was finally opened, I was in shock and feared the dark from that day forward.
Eventually, I distanced myself altogether from them and collected shiny rocks off of the gravel road that led to our house and rode my bike for my main hobbies. I also collected matchbox cars and began making these little staple and paper books about the pets we had. I even included my own illustrations. Later on, I began writing short stories about anything. My imagination was great. When I wasn't doing that, mom and I would take walks down the road. I wish I had stronger memories of that than anything else. By the way, my new best friends, eventually, became an apple tree and a cat named Pepsi.
Anyway.... Back to the neighbor kids:
These boys could easily play that moronic cousin's family (Randy Quaid played the father) in the National Lampoon's "Vacation" movies. Inbred cousin-screwing morons are one thing, but it's quite another thing to drink your brother's pee and fuck the family dog. Even as a wee lad, I knew that was wrong.
My next big shock happened when I started going to parochial school. Catholic school. We had nuns for teachers. This was when nuns always had to wear the penguin outfits. (Watch "The Blues Brothers" movie) You know, black and white, curtain-cloth type garments that hung down to the ankles.
One sister was a principal. She might have claimed herself as a holy god servant but she was more like a husky quarterback-sized woman cursed with a bulldog face and heart of pitch black tar . She was also a cold hearted bitch... In case you didn't catch the implication before.
This sister -we'll call her Sister Harker, delighted in punishing whoever she thought was getting out of line. Sometimes, a ruler against the knuckles would be used. Other times, it would be a hard hand smacking you across the face with enough force to knock your teeth out. Ahh... precious memories.
My friend, Russell and I, quiet outcasts from the usual rabble of school kids, were walking to the daily morning mass before school one day. You would be forced to walk to church in two straight lines, never allowed to make a noise. It was almost like marching. Hell, it was more like they were the military.
At one point, during those 8 years of parochial school, Russell and I dared to whisper something to each other while walking down the hallway towards church. Remember: We were normally very quiet, even during recess, on the playground. This was a more rarer event than when Bush Jr. made a correct decision during eight years as president. Suddenly, as Russell and I whispered, our heads crashed together as if the gods themselves had struck us with lightening. Sister Harker screamed, "You are not allowed to talk!"
I was in so much shock, I didn't understand the words coming out of her mouth. My friend told me what she had said later on.
Harker grabbed my friend's arm and my own. What next? I wondered. Public execution? Instead she chose to present the both of us to the rest of the class and lecture everyone on not talking on the way to church. For the crime, the punishment, in comparison, was being made into a big Broadway play, of sorts. Luckily, or unluckily, I was watching the twittering little birds above my head. Tweet. Tweet.
I've never looked into the possibility of a concussion. Ha.
Sister Harker was as big and strong and mean as a rabid sumo wrestler. I found out she turned 95, just recently. More proof of that old saying "Only the good die young". Maybe living that long on this rock called Earth is her punishment.
Part Two of this post is coming up next.