Rememberies part 6

More brain dredging about my life as a child…

It seems I had a new “2nd best friend” every school year. Cliff was my best friend, but I’d meet a new kid every year. We’d hangout together, do sleepovers and such, you know, kid stuff. When I was about ten, I met Glen.

Glen had quite a setup at his backyard, a tree-house, swing-sets and such and we got along together fairly well. His folks had money, his mother was a diehard Elvis fan. They also had a PPV (people powered vehicle), it looked like one of those paddle boats you see, except this had wheels. With the both of us pedaling our little asses off, we would terrorize the neighborhood with it.

He had a “girlfriend,” I’ll call her Julie. The three of us would hang out sometimes. Julie was a good looker and used to give us “peep shows” in the tree house. My that was much for my little 10 year-old brain.

Well, anyways, one day I went over to Glen’s house after school. We’d setup to meet and hang around together. Glen and Julie were on the front porch. As I walked up the yard, he came down off the porch to meet me. As he came up to me he sucker-punched me right in the stomach. I never did figure out a reason for that. Maybe he was showing of his girl. Whatever the reason, I went home, gasping for breath and cried a little. Wondering what I had done to him, for him to treat me like that. I never have told anyone else about this, certainly not my folks. I was a shy, skinny kid who tried to be friends with everybody, who could not fight and had no concept that people could be like that.

Eventually I got over it, I lived in that city for two more years and never even talked to Glen after that. He had tried to make up to me but I had been betrayed and never did forgive. If that had been all the excitement I had in my life, the incident would soon be forgotten. But, unfortunately, things can always get worse and usually do.

I’ve been hinting about the “Return of the Goat!” Well, let’s get down to it!

Dad sold the Catalina shortly after he bought the wagon. He went through several other vehicles that he used to commute with. He had a motorcycle, an old BSA, for a while. He had a Triumph Spitfire for about a year. It was a convertible with a “rust-brown” paint job. Eventually he sold that, too (do you know how hard it is to get three kids in a Spitfire?).

His last car was, you guess it, a ’65 GTO. The Goat had returned, this time in a fire-engine-red hardtop incarnation. My dad and I put in lots of hours keeping up the maintenance on that beast. I loved that car and much as my dad did and made every effort to ride in it when I could. It was not as fancy as the old Goat, but it had plenty of power and Dad was never afraid to lead foot it around town. Before we left VA, he had to sell the Goat. We were moving 6000 miles away and the Goat couldn’t come. Waaahhh!!

Next: Other memories and leaving VA…

Rememberies, part 5.

In early 1970 or so we all moved from Tennessee to SW Virginia. I was a radical change for me because we never went to live on or near a military base when we were there. It was my first chance to be a “civilian” not just another “Navy-brat”.

The first few months in VA, we lived with some old Navy buddies of Dads. I can’t remember much about that time, not even who it was we were living with. I think it was some of the same folks we knew in Japan. What I do remember was that a neighbor kid showed me my first “nekkid lady” picture, no doubt ripped from his pop’s Playboy magazine. It didn’t start premature puberty or anything like that, it’s just the only thing I remember…

We finally moved into the house we would live in for 4+ years. It was a three bedroom house, on a quite street, in a normal neighborhood. Quite a change from what I was used to. Dad kept the Catalina and later bought an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon, that was for toting the kids around. I went to the local elementary school and enjoyed, what I thought of as, a normal life. Dad would go to work in the morning and come home every night. This was the only place I lived as a kid that felt like “Home”. The only place we had a normal life.

What else can I remember…

I started third grade and enjoyed school immensely even though I wasn’t a good student. I was a little shy to start out but got over it. I even had a crush on my 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Phillips. She was quite the looker and very chesty, if yahnowutimean… She spawned quite a few fantasies for all the little boys in her classes. A few years later she got married, we were all heartbroken… All us poor ignorant, dumb ass kids 😉

I even had a “girlfriend” when I was eight or so. Though how much could we really do about it at that age. We did the “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” thing out behind her house and used to hang out together all the time. But that was about all there was to it. I don’t even remember how it ended. I think she moved away…

My first friend, Cliff, lived across the street from me. He soon became my best friend and we were inseparable. Having lived in two different countries and with all sorts of other people around, it never bothered me at all that he was black. It bothered others though, including his older brother, but we just ignored them. His father was a cop and didn’t like me at first, but we got along much better later. Cliff and I would spend all day in his back yard or mine, pooling our collection of Hot Wheels, running them down streets we scratched into the dirt, around cardboard buildings. We were both into comic books and even created our own “super-heroes.” Cliff was a regular sound effects machine, reminding me of the guy on the Police Academy. We’d play with the GI Joe’s, complete with soundtrack.

I got my first real bike. It was one orange with a 20″ tire on the back and a 16″ on the front. It also had a sparkly “banana” seat, a sissy bar and a set of “ape-hanger” handlebars with streamers hanging off the ends of them. It was a three-speed and it had a shift-stick on the center bar between my legs. That bike was the “tits” back in the early ’70s. My friends and I would go everywhere on bikes and spend hours cruising the whole city or jumping off ramps or playing chicken. At one time we had a regular “cycle gang” of a dozen or so kids and we would race like mad all over on our little bikes.

I’m sure I did most of the stuff kids usually did, but much of it was new to me. I guess I adjusted well, made lots of friends and thought for the rest of my life I had it made. I was wrong, of course.

Next: More about VA, the promised “Revenge of the Goat” and leaving VA…

Rememberies, part 4a.

More things I remembered about living in Tennessee

– All the houses in the military reservation surrounded this huge field we had for a common back yard. Once they dug a huge trench down the middle of this field. To my 7 year old eyes it seemed like the Grand Canyon opened up overnight in my back yard. Us kids would play all over that trench and dirt hill until someone would chase up away.

– Us neighborhood kids also liked to investigate all the empty houses after someone had moved out, seeing what kind of booty we could find. It was exciting being where we weren’t supposed to be.

– I aquired a taste for onion grass there. Every once and a while I’d pick some out of the ground and chew on it for awhile. Also I had my first ice cream made from new fallen snow.

– We used to take a lot of trips to see mom’s family in Indiana. Grandpa was a huge person to them young eyes. Thye had a dog called “Hoss” a huge, hairy beast that was a favorite of all the kids and managed to worm his way into almost any photograph taken in that house. It was a great time in their house, a place that had been lived in by the same family for many decades.

Rememberies, part 4.

We moved to “Podunk” Tennessee just in time for me to go into the second grade. We lived there for only nine months or so but I remember the time there well. We also did a lot of traveling from there and I got to see my birthplace and my relatives when I was old enough to appreciate them.

We were still living in a military house, just off base. Four houses all in one block and right on the busiest road in Podunk. The road was elevated from the sidewalk and the naval air base was on the other side of the road. I remember the road being so huge and high, later as an adult I went back to that place and really could not get a grip on how my small 7 yr old sized self could think this was a grand huge place. I guess the perspective of being shorter made me see things that way.

Dad bought a Catalina when we got there, later we all drove down to Louisiana to get the Goat, which came by ship from Japan. The 4-track and most of the interior had been vandalized on the way, so the goat never again did look as good as it’s prime. Later a few accidents occurred and it ended up in my aunt’s back yard for quite a few years, rusting away slowly before it was sold as scrap…

I walked about 30 minutes to school every day passing a pool hall and some fairly busy railroad tracks. We used to put pennies on the track. The folks at the school used to tell us that was dangerous. I figured, as long as I didn’t get run over, the worst thing that could happen was that the train would hit the penny, launch itself off the track right into the pool hall! COOL!

I learned to swim at a pool on base, there. I’d made lots of friends there, no doubt regaling them with my tales of living in Japan. And then, right before school ended, it was time to move on.

I bawled my eyes out and the injustice of having to leave all my friends and teachers, never to see them again. I remember how much it hurt. It hurt every time we had to pick up and leave for another base. Later in life, I stopped trying to make friends anymore. I stopped being a kid with roots and purpose and became a unfeeling thing just living for the day, getting along with everyone, but not getting involved. Next year we’d be in a different place, couldn’t be bothered with attachments now… Dad told me much later that his life was always like that.

How would it have been if I had grown up and spent my life all in one place, had life-long friends, married my high-school sweetheart? Would I have been a better person? I guess I’ll never know that… I still have that pain inside me, it’s part of who I am now, it doesn’t hurt as much anymore. Lots of people have had a life a lot worse than I have, I don’t want to complain… or trade.

Anyways, from there we move to Virginia, a whole new life, a whole new story, a re-incarnated Goat.

Rememberies, part 3.

When I was about 3 or so our family moved to Japan. Being a military brat, I went where dad went. We were there about three years or so and me being so young, it didn’t make as much of am impression on me as it could of if I was older…

When we first moved there we lived off-base for a few months. I remember the house, a Japanese style house (not quite all paper and bamboo and shit), we had another military family living across the street from us. They had a BIG dog, I remember looking down it’s throat as it was snapping at my face. “Don’t blow into a strange dog’s nose” I learned that day. We had a dog, a smallish mongrel named Alfie. I don’t know whatever became of him, cuz we had a cat when we left Japan…

Later we got to live on-base, our house was part of a row of houses, but ours was on the outside of the row and we had a huge side yard to play in. I rode my trike out there and later learned to ride a bike. In the summer, if Dad was there we would setup a kiddie pool at the side of the house. There was also a small stunted tree that we would climb in, up against the side of the house. My second sister was born in Japan, in a military hospital.

We didn’t do much interaction with the “locals”. I don’t remember seeing to many Japanese people. When I started school, it was on the base with all the other “round-eyes”. I did kindergarten and first grade there… We did go to the Tokyo Zoo once. It was a huge place and we walked for hours, days it seemed.

Dad was attached to a squadron based in Japan but operating in Vietnam. He was usually in for six months then out for six months. One of those times he was in ‘Nam, the barracks he was living in, in Danang, was blowup with him (and a few others) in it. This might have been around the time of the Tet Offensive. He got a two-by-four in his chest and a Purple Heart. I remember Mom crying, inconsolable, back in Japan but it was many years later before I knew why. He was fixed up and sent home. When he came in the door, he had a big red stain on the front of his shirt and Mom freaked! Turns out it was just a red pen in his shirt pocket exploding…

Dad, always the gadget freak, bought a Super8 movie camera there and we had lots of film of us kids acting up, playing around. There was a trip to a picnic area we went to with a lot of other military families. Us kids are running around like wild beasts, the folks are smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. Anytime Mom would be the target of the camera, she’d stick out her tongue. It was a running joke for many years after that. He also built up quite a collection of Hi-Fi equipment and I remember our first Color TV, a huge RCA with an almost round picture tube.

We went everywhere in the “Goat” when Pop was in town. Dad told me later that he used to “terrorize” the local Datsuns and Toyotas with the Goat. Seems like there where a lot of “tailgating” done back then. Pop would smash on the brakes, causing the back end of the car to jump about two feet in the air and pop the clutch and be gone. It takes longer to say it than it did in action. A 389 ci V-8, topped with three 2-barrel carbs beat the crap outta anything the Japanese were putting out at that time. We also had another car (i think it was a Corvair or a Karmon Ghia) that mom ferried us kids in. Right after we got that car, I found about a hundred little plastic toy cars between the cushions in the back seat. That was quite a boon for a little ankle-biter like myself.

I feel I should have picked up more “local flavor” being in Japan for more than three years but I really don’t remember anything specific. I don’t know any Japanese, but I do remember seeing Mount Fuji once. The US military folks had their little “enclave” and they all stuck together. I’m sure I had other kids as friends but the only one I can remember was Carl P., we saw him again several years later in Virginia. I really have no lasting friendships, people I’ve known all my life except for family. That really hit home when we moved to Tennessee and I was more aware of what was going on around me.

Next: The Goat “doesn’t quite” make it to Tennessee…

Rainy Days and Tuesdays…

It’s raining, I can’t see the sun to properly worship it. That’s OK. Nobody is keeping score. I know with every cell in my body that it will be back one day. I’ll send a quick prayer to Joe Pesci, maybe he can do something with the rain and clouds. Take a ball bat to them, maybe. May Joe’s Will Be Done, Mothafucka!

The Wife is working night shifts all this week. I got the house all to myself. Well, myself and the bitey, scratchy, lovely, pup thing I call “Teena.” Pups are amazing, running 90 mph, wild as a fucking rabid beast, demanding play, demanding rough housing, demanding food, then they just fall over and take a nap. Usually tucked into my elbow.

Last night I woke up to find puppy snuggled down on my pillow, right up against my head. She was having a little doggie nightmare (or she was chasing rabbits), I petted her a little. She never woke up, just snuggled closer and got quiet. What can I say, I’m in love! This is as close as I get to having kids of my own.

I’ve always had dogs in my life, I’d hate to think of what kind of screwed up, dickhead asshole I’d be if I never had dogs to “tame” me. Something about the unconditional love a dog gives you makes you feel the world isn’t as fucked up as it seems. Dogs never lie about love. Anyone who tells you it’s not love, they are full of cat-shit! You tell ’em I said so!!

My older dog, the aging Dobie whose name is Gigi, but I’ll call Fartbox, is a little jealous, but I’m making the time to pay her more attention. A few days ago I rolled her on her back, feet in the hair and trimmed her nails. She really does love it and the attention! The Wife used to paint Gigi’s nails bright red. Nothing funnier to me that seeing the big, bad ass Doberman, on her back, feet in the air, COTTON BALLS BETWEEN HER TOES, as the Wife carefully paints each claw. Then Fartbox would wait quietly in that position until she said the polish was dry.

Why do I call her Fartbox? When she sighs and rolls over, it’s a sign to cover your nose. Or flee the house altogether. That dog has cleared a room or two in her day…

Put head between legs, kiss ass goodbye…

Did anyone watch “FAILSAFE” last night? It was alright but nowhere near are scary as the original. Especially when you saw the original during a war-game on an navy ship during the coldest part of the “cold war”. The sound effect used for the noise of the melting phone would probably turn my guts to jello if I was woken by that in the middle of the night…

I’ve thought about this before: There are a generation of grown-up folks out there who don’t know much about the cold war other than what history books tell them. They’ve probably never had the experience of waking in a cold sweat, screaming because the bombs were falling in your dreams… Never heard the banshee sound a fallout siren makes. “The sound God would make… if He lost everything he ever loved…”

We had a siren down the road from us when I was a kid on the military reservation in Hawaii. Every day at noon every siren on the island would go off, building up to it’s maniacal howl, running full speed, full blast for about a minute, then taking about half an hour to wind down to nothing… Every dog on the island would howl like they just heard from the great god of dogs! Like they’d lost everything they’d ever loved, them damn dogs were crying…

Once a month they would do the full test. The wailing up and down of the “warning” siren. The full blast scream of the “kiss your ass goodbye now” siren. The warbling notes of the “all clear” siren. All the radio and TV stations took part in the drill, explaining each sirens call and telling you what you should do (that’s where the title for this note comes from). They also used the siren for tsunami and weather alerts, so when it went off everyone scrambled to find out what it meant. Where the bombs falling? Or just another tsunami warning? Had lots of tsunami warnings, never had a tsunami when I was there…

When I first moved there the sound of the siren going off could make you involuntarily suck your underwear up your asshole! I was right under that sucker when it went off, so I can tell you from experience!

Being a military brat, and in the military myself later, I always thought I would be among the first ones vaporized when WW3 started. I lived my life for the day, not thinking of the future, I didn’t think I had one… I wonder if anyone else felt that way? Am I the only one?

Which ever… I’m paying for that attitude now, let me tell ya.

Rememberies, part 2.

I think we lived in Southern California for just a couple of years, probably moving out when I was three or four. My first sister was born there in ’65. I don’t remember much else about living there but two things…

First, I remember going with Dad to pick up the new car. I was a brand new 1965 GTO convertible (the Goat as it came to be known), bright lemon-yellow with a convertible top. We drove for a long time to get to the dealer I guess and i really remember the long drive back in the sun with the top down. Dad had that Goat for many years after that. It had a stuffed tiger on the front dashboard, his tail disappeared down one defroster vent and came out of the other. The eyes lit up with the turn signals…

Second, I remember driving around the base at night, past the antenna farms with all the blue and red clearance lights. I was shaking my head back and forth, being entertained by the lines and streaks the lights made… I don’t know why I remember it, if just pops up from time to time…

Some of the pictures I remember from that time… Me, in a “painted” desert scene. It looks like I am looking down at the Goat, it’s a toy in front of my feet. Actually dad setup the picture, I’m standing on a hill and the car is in the background… Still, I smile when I see it.

Another picture… Me with my pants around my ankles, my bare ass showing as I’m pissing in a public toilet! This is one of those blackmail pictures parents show to your girlfriends or fiancee when you introduce them to the folks!! My wife saw that picture when we went to see Dad a few years ago. He went a little out of his way to make sure she seen it… uh-huh…

I’ve seen other pictures… me in a fenced in yard, my first sister as a baby… I don’t really remember all that. But I still remember the pictures…

Next Stop: The Goat goes to JAPAN!!