“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee…” —Jeremiah 1:5
“I must confess, I was born at a very early age.”—Groucho Marx
As far as i know, these are the facts as they’ve been told to me— or quite possibly as they’ve occurred to me— and i will make every attempt to be truthful. The truth will out… and where it doesn’t, i hope it’s at least interesting.
I’ve also always found it interesting to consider the English language is the only written language capitalizing the pronoun “I” when speaking of oneself. Sounds rather arrogant, doesn’t it? For all the blog posts in this autobiographical series, i will not capitalize the personal pronoun, which reflects the singular first person address.
There are no vivid memories in my noggin of any event before the age of four or five. In fact, there really aren’t any vague memories which i can recall either. Perhaps it is this way for most people, i don’t know— similar to Agent Elizabeth Keen of TV’s Blacklist, memories blocked from an early age by an anti-hero super villain— or perhaps not.
1960 was the year of my birth. It was the year the first electronic wrist watch was introduced to the world. It was the year of felt-tip pens, artificial tanning creams and weather and communications satellites. It was the year Barbie found a dream house as well as a soul mate in Ken, when G.I. Joe action figures emerged as a boy’s counterpart to Barbie, when Rock’em Sock’em Robots battled it out in a plastic ring, when the Slip’n Slide provided kids from suburban families who couldn’t afford a pool with summer entertainment, when young girls could bake semi-edible confectionary delights for their fathers with the Easy-Bake Oven, and when boys could likewise create edible candy bugs with the Creepy Crawlers Thingmaker.
It was the year John F. Kennedy was elected the 35th president of the United States of America.
In 1960, the number one song for the year was the theme music for the 1959 movie, A Summer Place, starring Richard Egan, Dorothy McGuire, Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee. The “Theme to A Summer Place”, by Percy Faith and His Orchestra, climbed to #1 on the Billboard Charts from February 22nd and held the numero uno position for 9 weeks.
Although Elvis Presley had three #1 hits in 1960, “Stuck on You”, “It’s Now or Never”, and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”, they were only #1 for 4 weeks, 5 weeks and 5 weeks respectively. Although I was probably “All Shook Up” at 10:25 am on August 25th, the day i was born, the #1 song on the radio that day was “It’s Now or Never”, which had reached the height of its popularity. This song would remain at #1 for another 2-1/2 weeks after i was born.
Everything from 1960 to early 1965 is gone as a memory and my only recollection of those things are facts arriving in the same way i learned any other historical event occurring prior to 1960— it was either told to me or i read it in a book. A glance at old photos of me from before my first day in kindergarten mean nothing to me. When my brother and i spent the summer with my grandmother in El Paso, Texas in 1972, she was saddened i had no recollection of times i spent with her in church or at the zoo. It embarrassed me a little because i couldn’t remember, but more than this, i felt horrible about my grandmother being so hurt by my not remembering.
One of my earliest memories was a conversation i had with my mother prior to starting kindergarten in Santee, California.
Mom said, i put cotton in your ears at night.
So bugs wouldn’t get in your ears at night.
What about my mouth? i asked, alarmed.
You would have eaten it or woke up.