The Plums of Childhood
Hm. I best point out right now that "hm" is one of my favorite words. We all have favorites, don't we? Another of my favorites is "ineffable." I am particularly partial to "Mommy," and I also like "alabaster." The "hm" right here refers to the fact that I realize a sub-title is needed. I have explained that other titles, like The Story of My Lives, have been maliciously co-opted by writers getting their lines down before I can. Such is life.
So, with the help of --- nothing --- by which I refer to my brain -- it occurs to me that maybe a fitting subtitle would be The Story of My Dives. If you've ever seen my various abodes, you'd understand. Maybe I could send pictures of any that have not been condemned. Or, if I were into cooking, The Story of My Chives. But I hate to cook. Then there is The Story of my Hives, which actually is a very interesting little tale about my one brush with big red welts, cause unknown, or the other brush with angry bees just because I had to condemn THEIR abode. No, not quite encompassing enough. The Story of my Wives? Well, that would be such a better memoir, very interesting, except that I haven't had any, at least not yet. The story of my knives? Nope, not suicidal enough, ditto the above qualifier.
I'm thinking maybe My Lfe in a Few Words or More. Or My Life in an Infinity of Words or More. Enough on this subject. If I continue in this vein, I will have to then speak of the troubles with chapter titles, and I have troubles enough. For instance, my bad hair life. But wait!!! Rewind the tape! We're still at the part (no pun intended) where I'm just born, and there wasn't much hair to be seen. looked good that way, I think, with that barely-visible red halo. My hair did not stay red, but I did (like my grandfather) stay freckled, heavily in some places, not at all in others. But I'm not here to talk freckles.
It occurs to me now to wonder, under what circumstances did my mother turn to me one day and say, "You were conceived in Chicago...?" (I can never get that kind of punctuation right. In fact, I'm going to be lax here with the writing, and just let my internal editor rot or self-destruct). I mean, is this some kind of small talk? What brings on a statement like this? Do you speak with your mother about conception? EEEEUUUUUWWW! Having said this, I like the fact that I was "begun" in Chicago, which I now think of as Obama-land. I mean, he lived there, among other places. I have something in common with the President-Elect. We could almost be twins! Ok, not really. he has better hair.
But anyway, it NOW occurs to me to ask, did I actually "live" in Chicago? Because, well, when does life begin? At conception? At 8 weeks with a beating heart (do I have that right)? At 13 weeks, once acquiring toenails? once acquiring a thumb to suck? at birth? once the cord is cut and a breath is taken? And believe me; this is not a subject I want to explore fully here. Well, I DO, but it will really be off-topic; way too tangential, and I might be accused of AuthorsdenHappyDen-ness. Let's just say that my mother is weird and that actually, I am from Louisville, Kentucky, because the latter is where I appeared outside of water (not, of course, that there are no living things in water).
I wanted to add my parents' ages at the time of my birth: They married in 1951 and by dang if I wasn't due on April 13 EXACTLY two years later. I now know what my mother got for her birthday present in 1952. Or no, I'm doing the math wrong. She got that "present" in July. Aha! Fourth of July, maybe! Independence Day -- not knowing that actually she (and my father) had just engaged in the biggest, most long-lasting imprisonment/servitude/dependence issue there is. But anyway, I was born two days early, on the 13th. A Friday. No, not a Friday -- darn -- that would make such a good tidbit. A Monday, fair of face and all that (we will take up this topic later). My mother was 23; my father was 27. (as you see, something is happening to the Attention-Deficit Editor here in this box. Oh well. My parents were young, let's say. That would end in the space of, say, 5 minutes after my birth. They sprouted white hair, developed a haggard if not torutured aspect, requested sturdy canes and sustenance that needn't be chewed, like jello, of which the hospital had a plethora. Such is the blessing of parenthood. I always wondered why my father called me Jello. Oh wait, that was someone else who did that. My father called me Hoolio, because Julie is too hard to pronounce. One must keep in mind the parental faltering faculties.