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Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

Part 2 – Interstate Courtroom Jesus

Posted by anjilslaire on May 23, 2015

1977 was a big year for him. Star Wars was released, and a Daycare teacher took him & his brother to see it. The toys that were released were the hottest thing going, and they each had $2 to buy an action figure.

By this time, they were being watched after school by a kindly old woman affectionately known as Grandma Milly who was the mother of someone their mother was, uh, dating. One evening Grandma Milly took them for a drive across the I-5 bridge into Portland to Jantzen Beach to buy the action figures from Toys R Us. She dropped them off at the door and said she would be back to pick them up shortly.

They spent what seemed like forever staring at the enormous wall of Star Wars figures. Storm Troopers, Chewbaccas, Darth Vaders, Luke & Leia, Han Solo, there were enough choices that they couldn’t make up their minds. Eventually Grandma Milly showed up, hurried them to choose, and they checked out & got in her car.

As they made their way back towards the freeway from the mall, he noticed a police car behind them on the on-ramp. It’s lights were flashing red and blue.

“Grandma Milly, there’s a police car behind us!” “Oh, they must be chasing someone,” she mumbled, and got onto the freeway in the big old land yacht old women in the 70s drove.

Taking the I-5 back into Vancouver, there were now 2 police cars from Oregon following them on the bridge, and then 2 State Troopers from Washington joined them. The police finally pulled them over outside Esther Short Park, across the street from the local American Legion where his mother was a cocktail waitress (the irony isn’t lost on him in his teen years).

An Officer takes them out of the car and chats them up, talking about their new Star Wars figures while Grandma Milly is put in another patrol car and driven away. Their mother comes out of work and takes them home, none to pleased about missing a night’s work. A couple hours later, however, after they are put in bed, he hears the familiar sound of the front door being opened, closed, and locked. Getting out of bed, he sees that she’s gone back to work and he won’t see her until morning. Again. He never sees Grandma Milly again.

Some time later, she tells him that Grandma Milly was in the the local lounge at Jantzen Beach while they were looking at Toys R Us. When she picked them up she was apparently pretty drunk and swerving around the road. At her hearing she was belligerent to the judge and called them all sinners, and lo and behold, she saw Jesus Christ right there in the courtroom. Another office who was a “Hawaiian fella” also saw Jesus in court and fell down, worshiping Him as well. His Honor didn’t spot him though, and threw the book at her.

With Grandma Milly out of the picture, that was the end of babysitters for him and his brother, and started staying home at night alone while she was working. They were about 7 & 9.

 

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Part 1 – busy street

Posted by anjilslaire on March 8, 2015

The first memory ever recalled was in a house on a very busy street. The driveway was very steep & short and dumped straight onto a 4 lane road that spelled Certain Doom to a 5 year old like himself if he ventured off the unfenced yard.
Of course, he never hesitated to play right on the sidewalk when the semi trucks went barreling past every day.

His older brother was 7 and preferred to stay inside and draw pictures of the elaborate adventures only dreams were made of, but he couldn’t wait to get outside & roam the neighborhood, hiding in bushes and pretending not to be seen. He practiced this by hiding in the hedge that separated the old rental house he lived in with his brother & their mother and the old church building next door to the right.

He’d learned the priest’s & alter boys’ schedules fairly quickly and would wait for them to file out onto the grounds before sneaking into the building to look around and see what was so interesting about going to church on Sundays for all these people. Apparently this was frowned on as he was caught once by a priest and told to leave. He made a mental note that stayed with him for years: People who go to church think they’re better than others and don’t want to let new people in unless you have nice clothes, or answer questions.

Against the backyard was a fence that separated their  yard from the parking lot of the dentist’s office next door. The office was in a remodeled house on the corner of the block on the left side of their house where he would race his Big Wheel down the steep side street toward Certain Doom Road and cut a hard turn at the last minute, scaring the drivers as they saw a Big Wheel appear out of nowhere seemingly ready to careen right into them.

He spent most of his time entertaining himself like this, or playing with a few other toys since he was pretty much free to do as he pleased. His mother worked at night at the local American Legion as a ‘cocktail waitress’ which was ironic to him as he got a bit older, given the number of men who came over to visit overnight periodically and she would latch the door hook to her bedroom.
He didn’t remember much about his father, except that he was a truck driver in Oregon who didn’t want to see him or his brother, obviously. This wasn’t a concern though, since men clearly aren’t very trustworthy and don’t get to know you except to show you neat tricks to get you to go away and give them some time to get that door latch hooked. The best example of this was the police officer who came to visit, and he dared the officer that he couldn’t put the handcuffs on him since his hands were too small.

Lesson learned: Real handcuffs will indeed fit on a 5-6 year old’s wrists and restrain them. He spent about an hour crying, trying to get them off until the door latch unhooked and it was time for Officer Randy to go back to work. Or home. Or somewhere.

Yeah, the busy street was much more fun than waiting on that door latch.

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