Sorry, I couldn’t really think of a good way to shorten that title!
I was born in St. Louis. The city itself, or so my mom told me. Turns out it is and was in a ‘burb just west of the city limits. I blame the confusion on St. Louisans’ tendencies to put “St. Louis” on every address instead of the burg or ‘burb that actually belongs there.
That’s just one of the anomalies I possess as a native around these parts. I don’t say “warsh” for “wash,” and I don’t say “farty” for “forty.” Even when I was little, I couldn’t figure out why everyone I knew did these things . . .
When I was born, I had black hair. No, I don’t color my hair; never have. Obviously it came from the Native American part of me, on my dad’s side. Mom’s side is 100% German. Anyway, as it does with babies, mine fell out, and it grew back in blonde.
I’ve had four last names. My stepdad adopted me when I was nine, and the other two are from marriage. Two weddings, if you’re keeping score. The first, of course, was my birth name.
When I was little, we lived on the family farm in an eight-by-forty-two-and-a-half trailer. Not a “mobile home,” not by any stretch of the imagination. I was the sixth generation to live on that farm.
I was about five or so when I fell down the stairs—the wooden slat kind, with a concrete floor at the bottom. Not too long after that, I was bitten by two tiny dogs while I was riding my bike. After I graduated to a bigger bike, I practiced flying by going straight through the handlebars when trying to pop a wheelie.
In spite of all that, I only ever broke a bone once. Well, the hospital wasn’t the greatest, they said they “thought” my foot was broken. The only treatment I had was Darvon. It was nice . . . Okay, so I broke my head once too, and my tailbone; forgot about that. The first resulted in a concussion—and it wasn’t even an accident worth mentioning: I rolled over in a bunk at camp and smacked my head on a beam. The tailbone, well, I jumped into the way back of the station wagon and landed on a rawhide dog chew. See—nothing interesting!
I am five feet three inches tall and, in sixth grade, I was the tallest kid in my class. They grew, I stopped. And no, I won’t tell you my weight. Are you kidding me??
I’ve lived in three states: Missouri, Colorado, and Texas. I’ve traveled in or to a dozen more, and one foreign country. Wait, does Canada count as “foreign?”
I turned 50 last March. So you know what that means. But I’ve decided to keep thinking of myself as 50, ‘cause, damn, that sounds old and it’s only going to go downhill . . .