1. Wandering out to the busy street in front of our house and almost getting hit by a car. Dad was supposed to be watching me. I think that was the only time he ever spanked me. I'm sure I almost gave him a heart attack.
2. Going next door to Gene and Sue's house to watch The Munsters and Bewitched on cable TV. Gene's teenaged daughter Annie had the Grease soundtrack on vinyl LP, and she played it for me, along with that horrible disco song Kristie McNichol recorded with her brother Jimmy.
3. I almost drowned in Wolf Lake one summer. No one would teach me how to swim. I hate the water to this day.
4. I shoved a butter knife in an electrical socket and had a bit of a shock. My oldest brother says I flew across the room, but I don't recall.
5. A girl I used to play with down the street had a next door neighbor who owned a Doberman named Satan. The dog wore a spiked collar. Scared the Hell out of me. Who in their right mind names their dog Satan?
6. Our other neighbors, Bob and Hazel, were into the occult. Bob, who wore a ship's captain hat and turtleneck sweaters, liked to flirt with Mom, and Hazel, who was jealous, told Mom that if she fooled around with Bob, Hazel would put a curse on her, because Hazel thought of herself as a witch. Bob was supposedly a warlock. They drank a lot, too.
7. Speaking of Bob and Hazel, when their marriage fell apart, Bob moved into a mobile home on their property. Bob attempted suicide by setting the trailer on fire. I stood there, at the age of four or five, in the backyard with their granddaughter Julie, who was older than me. I would play with Julie often. I saw the smoke come out of the windows and Bob's grown sons carrying him out. Hazel took him back.
8. I shared a bedroom with my third brother. I was afraid of the dark, and when my parents kicked me out of their bed, I would wake up in the middle of the night and get in my brother's bed. I would fall asleep, but I would wake up hours later, my brother up and ready for school. Mom would make him Cocoa Wheats, and the kitchen would smell like chocolate.
9. My paternal grandmother passed away at age fifty-two from being a drunk, more or less. In her coffin, she wore a lavender dress with a white flower pinned above her breast. I was four years old, and it was the only time I ever saw my dad cry. I remember being bored, walking around the funeral home, then sitting with my brothers and cousins. Kids never know what to do at a funeral home, except be quiet.
10. For my fifth birthday, I was given a brand-new Malibu Barbie. I left the doll out after I went to bed and our dog chewed at the foot. Barbie had no foot by morning, but I covered it with a high, lace-up boot. I played with that doll for years.
11. I loved the Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, and the Hardy Boys with Shaun
Cassidy. Charlie's Angels. Star Wars came out in 1977, changed my world. Roger Moore as James Bond, Mom's favorite. Grease was one of the first movies I ever saw at the theatre. Burger Chef forever.
12. My maternal grandma toilet trained me in one day. I think it was because I was a little afraid of her. I remember it made Mom happy.
13. Speaking of toilets, I fell in the toilet around that time, because someone forgot to put the toilet lid back down. I had to be pulled out by the arms.
My adventures as a toddler would be nothing compared to my school days. Well, when I actually showed up for school. :)