Welcome to my scary life!
I grew up in the Halloween capitol of the world “Anoka” which is very fitting for how my life has gone. My childhood appeared perfect from the outside looking in, with the exception of my snotty nose and the holes in my socks.
I was born to a stay at home mom, who was defined by her Irish heritage and a dad who was a local Optometrist in town. I had an older brother who died at birth and a second older brother who was three years older than I. I wasn’t too excited at the time but a beautiful blue-eyed baby sister came along 16 months later and shoved me off of my mom’s lap for good. Four years later came a darling baby brother who was the sweetest boy ever born. Much later, when I was sixteen my mom had a baby with a heart condition that took her life when I was eighteen. Even though I was really sad, I’m sure I reveled in the drama of our family’s loss.
As I said earlier, I was a snotty nose kid whose hair was in a permanent state of “bed head”. I was never dressed for the weather and was lucky to have a pair of boots when the first snow fell. There are a lot of things that contributed to this but the most significant was the fact that my dad “cleaned” out the garage every Spring and if I missed the shrill scream of horror from one of my siblings yelling “Dad’s cleaning the garage!” I may not have been able to save the left boot I so desperately needed that winter. Other reasons why I may not have had a pair of boots was because the neighbors hadn’t brought over the box of hand- me- downs that we looked forward to receiving. It was like opening three years of Christmas presents all at once. I really appreciated that my best friend, Barb never once flaunted the fact that I was wearing her hand-me-downs.
Barb, my best friend was taller and smarter than I was. Her dad was a teacher who hid Playboy magazine’s under the front seat of his car or in his wife’s sewing bench. Who know? Maybe they were hers? Barb’s mom always cooked processed food like Chicken Pot Pies from Swansons or cheap frozen pizzas. I must have looked like a hungry wolf waiting for the lone sheep to turn its back. I just loved processed food and unfortunately, still do to this day. I never understood why my mom would never buy frozen meals. We always had to eat that crummy homemade stuff.
We were staunch Catholics and Barb’s family were committed Lutherans. I knew my mom and dad did not want us playing with the Lutherans and continually encouraged us to play with the children from the Catholic family across the street. Barb’s house was much more fun than the Catholic kids house across the street. There was no processed food there or a den with an am/fm radio and a record player. Boy did we have fun there!