Wednesday, March 20, 2013


When I was three we lived in Littleton, Colorado, and I remember very little of it. My memories of this age come and go in little flashes. But here's some of what I remember:

I had a my third birthday party at a Mexican Restaurant called Casa Bonita in Denver. It was a family-style restaurant, and I seem to remember that you ate around a giant swimming pool. People would cliff dive and do tricks in the pool while you ate. There was a show where a lady in a torn bikini came screaming out of a cave onto a diving board and dove into the pool, followed immediately by a man dressed as an ape. He would pound his chest and holler. I was so scared of that ape!

We had a babysitter that we hated. There was a canal near our house. My best friend Stevie Labo and I tried to make a quicksand trap down there to kill her.

I used to randomly walk around the neighborhood. We did things like that back then. We randomly walked around the neighborhood and spent time around canals and ditches and nobody seemed to freak out about it like they do today. Somehow I ended up at the house across the street. The woman there was very sweet and welcoming and offered me some oreos, which I quickly ate. Then she offered me tea. I accepted, but felt funny about it. I wasn't sure why. About the time she pulled out the tea bag and set the kettle on the stove I remembered that Mormons didn't drink tea, and I ran out of her house. I can't imagine having that kind of moral clarity at age three, but I did. It's also kind of funny that running from tea was like running from Potiphar's Wife.

I played a lot with my sister Page, who was very imaginative. We made up interesting situations and acted them out. We would play 'Boss and Secretary.' We had these plastic telephones and she would take calls and relay me the message. The thing is, the secretary job seemed so much more fun than the boss' job. She fielded all these incoming calls and got involved in water cooler drama. I just got to sit at this desk and wait for her to bring me the latest field reports or a travel itinerary. But of course we would never switch positions, because Page and I were always very adept at perpetuating gender stereotypes. And still are!

One time I was at my second cousin Parker Jones' house. We were staying overnight. Parker and I liked to jump on the couch. Parker's dad did not like us to do that. He caught me jumping on the couch and he spanked me. Back then it was okay to spank other people's kids.

One Sunday my family was packed in the station wagon, leaving for church. Someone realized that I wasn't wearing any shoes. My dad sent me back inside to get my shoes. I remember running upstairs to my room. As soon as I entered the room I heard angels singing. I can't describe it any other way. I heard angels singing from the clouds outside my window. They were singing music I could recognize and remember. There is no clever twist to this story; I literally heard a heavenly choir. I remember it vividly and I can still feel what I felt then when I heard it. I listened for a few seconds, and then my dad started honking the car.

I was terrified of carwashes. In the 70's carwashes had these giant mechanized rotating brushes that looked like creatures from the Sid & Marty shows. I genuinely thought they would crush us. My family always thought it was funny that I was so scared of the carwash. My dad used to pretend to drive into carwashes whenever we passed one. It was fairly mean, I guess, but I pull that kind of crap on my kids all the time now, too.

That's about it for age three. Everything else is fuzzy and I'm not sure if I actually remember it or if I made it up. Did someone really catch a snake and slide it into the hollows of the handlebars on my Big Wheel? Was I potty-trained on a little toilet seat cover with a duck head emerging from it? Were swimming lessons really that bad?
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