I have put this in the category memoir, though I have been filing under "humor," but decided the latter might be presumptuous. Ok, so this is the continuation of the very beginning, The Plums of Childhood.
The Plums of Childhood
Where was I? Atlanta? Kentucky? Mississippi? It doesn't matter. I barely have a grasp on where I am now. I need to leave behind all this historical stuff to get to the dawning of my self-consciousness (which I've just read that dolphins also possess – well, not mine, fortunate for them, (by which I don't mean not my own dolphins, since i haven't any) but their own), which evinced in the form of a diaper, a toilet, and a four-letter word, which I knew was bad only in that it was so lovingly screeched by my mother.
Birth and death are such big concepts. Diapers are more accessible. Let's move on to when my life really began: with the the sudden realization, conveyed by a certain odor, that I was not alone with my mother, but in fact had company in the form of an odd-looking, drooling, four-legged or -armed, both top- and bottom-heavy creature who could take my mother down, like a mouse an elephant, simply via the end-product of peristalsis. Basically, my life now included a brother.
I didn't know where Mark came from, and still don't (the latter is another story), but one day, -- well the truth is that my earliest memory is of a fence -- just a fence. The next memory is of the infamous toilet. These were the days when you emptied the, um, contents of a diaper into a toilet, then flushed, and then had to launder the diapers. No disposables then. Our landfills were as beautiful and pristine as the Alps. With a good book, you could take up residence in the landfill, be happy, and have company over and be proud.
So anyway, in emptying the alien's strange undergarment, and then flushing, the entire thing was flushed, and that's when my mother appropriately exploded with "SH......!!!!" I have never again heard this word used in such correct context. I am so very proud of my mother's facility with our native tongue (which reminds me -- have I mentioned the incident with my grandmother, the tongue, and my brother's self-righteousness?). After this trauma, I remember nothing. Maybe it stopped up the (one) toilet. Maybe replacing one diaper was expensive. Maybe my mother wished she had joined that convent in center of the bucolic landfill. I remember nothing until age 18, it was such a shock. I wonder if this happens to dolphins, although to my knowledge, dolphins do not wear clothes of any sort (some consciousness!).
Of course, we immediately got rid of my brother, oh wait, that's in my parallel biography, fantasy genre, entitled The Peaches of Childhood. (There is a third, category of Self-Help, called The Sour Grapes of Childhood, but I haven't begun the latter two, most likely due to the fourth, entitled Who in Heck Gives a Friggin' Bulging Diaper Detritus about Childhood?)
So there we were -- my mother, my brother (who actually had gone into hiding) and I, a toilet, and black hole of diaper, and the presence of a consciousness. I existed, my mother and I were not the same person, I had a brother, and due to this last, life was no longer an idyllic landfill, but a tiny apartment filled with strife, scary, possibly man or kid-eating appliances, and tantalizingly delicious, forbidden words.
Instantly, at age 3 ½, I knew my destiny. I would become a writer. I would appropriate any word I wanted, in or out of context of porcelain. I would live in a landfill not populated by drooling burping pooping creepy-crawlie little people, and I would have a spare toilet. With the exception of the first and last, I was wrong on all counts. Curses! The reason is that I also did not join the convent, but became, as we all do (well, we girls) my mother, hovering over stinky, sticky, sickening, staggeringly stupefying things. But this jumps ahead a little fast. It's not like I went straight from an apartment john full of water (and more) to a belly full of water (and more).
No, first I had to turn four. My brother had to learn to walk. My mother had to learn never again to tempt fate. We kids succeeded. My mother (and father, perhaps I should add) didn't learn their lesson. But it's way too early to bring in my sister, Bob Dana. If you think that's a weird name, you'll need to keep reading. It's either that or unclogging the throne, right? Just pick which is less egregious. It's all about choice.