Friday, February 22, 2008
I'm Sorry, Jane
I liked it very much indeed. I can still remember the feel of that tin star between my fingers, and mentally checking just how cheap and inauthentic it was -- cheapness and inauthenticity having no bearing on play value, of course. As for the chaps, well, let's just say it's a good thing it was a safe neighborhood, with no older boy bullies around. Because I would have been dead meat.
That's a phrase I remember hearing a lot as a child -- "you're dead meat", following by the pounding of feet and my heart. I was a dweeb. A dork. A geek.
This is about the time I had to be removed from my second-grade class for having pooed in my pants, out of a pathological sense of embarrassment that prevented me from raising my hand. Despite my best efforts I was unable to prevent a few pellets of shame from falling down my pants leg onto the floor. A teacher -- a woman! -- took me to the bathroom and gave me the most horrible thing in the world: a pair of school pants, with an elastic waist. I wanted to die.
I peed my pants all the time too.
Sweet Jane didn't think I was a dweeb, though; she worshiped me. I repaid this devotion by telling her, right about this time, that there was no Santa Claus. That may explain the face in this picture.
I used to do naughty things, like scatter my dad's tools around, or damage them, or damage furniture with them. My dad would attempt to teach us both a lesson about honesty and forthrightness, and ask us each in turn, "did you do this?" I would solemnly shake my head "no", and Jane would just as solemnly nod her head "yes". Our dad was not a fool, and would punish me, not her -- twice, in fact.
This photograph was taken by dad with a Kodak Retina IIa in 1963 or 64 in Magnolia, Seattle, Washington. I recently found it in a tray of my grandfather's slides.