Yeah, this is another post about my childhood, so maybe it's time for you to switch over to TMZ or Go Fug Yourself or something. Nothing to see here ...
As I've said, I'm the (way) youngest of six kids, so by the time I rolled around, my siblings were old enough to be Up to No Good. I was a plaything, a psychology experiment, a body on which to practice high school wrestling moves or the fireman's carry.
One of my earliest memories is of my brothers and sisters telling me I was adopted, and that because I was born with a head of thick black hair, that I was a Korean War refugee (nevermind that I was born in '67, and that I look like all the rest of them).
My mother was in on it, too. Could I blame her? Here was a woman who had spent more than five years of her life pregnant, if you add us all together. She deserved to have some fun out of it.
She once told me that as a baby, I was late to sit up by myself (no doubt I was perfecting my stealth cower, trying to fly under the radar so no one would hoist me over their shoulder like a sack of potatoes). One afternoon she thought she would play a joke on my dad. She tied me in a sitting-up position to the back of my play pen and waited for him to get home from work. Ha ha ha, Mom! I can only imagine my bewilderent. Or not -- I came to expect these indignities early.
Lies I believed for a long time:
* Where does mustard come from? I asked my all-knowing brother. It's mined, he informed me.
* Where do hotdogs come from? They grow on trees in Philadelphia.
(Everyone in my family insisted this. It became part of our lore. So much so that one year on vacation with my sister and her kids, her teenage son David pondered the idea for a minute, and when we asked what he was thinking, he sheepishly said, "I thought they grew on bushes, not trees.")
* A monster lived in our neighbor's laundry-pole hole in their driveway. Said neighbor used to sing to me: "Suzy 'Belek ain't no good. Chop her up for kindlin' wood." (Yes, Stella Haven is a pseudonym.)
So much for my self esteem.
I do have fond memories, however, of sitting in my stroller and having my two sisters and their girlfriend fighting over who was going to get to push me around the block. How popular I felt!
Until last year, when they finally told me they were fighting because no one wanted to do it.