My sister L. likes to say that when the rest of us moved to Texas, “We didn’t leave Home. Home left us.” She and older sister M. stayed in Chicago; M. had a job and L. was in nursing school.
I was sent to a private kindergarten. They taught us to read with ‘phonics’ (which may mean something different now than it did then). We learned to sound out everything. We were drilled on the alphabet and the sounds different combinations of letters make, teaching us to sound out any word’s pronunciation. In high school I was very good at reading aloud. I often wonder if I missed a calling to be a narrator or a voice actor.
A local t.v. station came to our kindergarten to get children to be on Romper Room. They usually gave notice so we could be dressed up. One day it was cold and Mom sent me to school wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. And they put me on Romper Room dressed like that. Mom was so embarrassed.
I remember going Trick-or-Treating dressed as a witch in a costume that Mom made, with a big pointy hat that had a rim of orange pom-poms. Maybe this was Halloween of 1969? I don’t remember who took me Trick-or-Treating but I am guessing it was my sister B. Mom would have handed out candy (not Dad, he couldn’t be bothered). My brother K. was probably trick or treating with his friends. I started sketching this image while we were still in Laurel, before our move in 2011. The finished piece was done in the Childhood Journal last year.
My first artistic memory is from this time. I remember being fascinated with the line coming off the end of a pencil.
I ‘graduated’ kindergarten, so I actually have three diplomas – kindergarten, eighth grade and high school.
In June of 1970 my sister L. got married in Chicago. I was their Flower Girl.
Sister B.’s wild days were in El Paso, so she was out a lot.
This was where Dad tried to start his own business, but it failed and they had to declare bankruptcy. Mom and Dad were gone a lot during this time. We had a Mexican housekeeper and when I came home from kindergarten she would fix me lunch, usually soup and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I would watch The Newlywed Game on t.v. She made flour tortillas from scratch and I thought they were the best thing ever.
I remember walking by myself to first grade through undeveloped areas full of big dirt hills. It’s a wonder I didn’t end up on a milk carton.
The first crafty thing I remember making was a Sock Doll for this writing assignment in First Grade. I barely remember what she looked like. I have made an updated version in her honor:
Edit: I decided I didn't like this little Sock Doll that I made. I took her apart and threw away the materials. I still want to make some sort of doll that's an homage to my original Queen Sock Doll. But maybe not made from a sock.
I remember Mom teaching me prayers before bed time. The Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary. We were Catholic. She would say the words and I would repeat them. I drew this during The Journaling Project in 1997:
I did the drawing below, on a page left blank in the Childhood Journal, just last week. I sketched it out and worked on it in bed one evening after taking a sleeping pill. I wasn’t really trying to do anything in particular, but suddenly the expression on Little Me’s face was just what I needed.
Next: Laredo, Texas and Grade School