When I was a Kid…

When I was a kid

Grandpa would drive his white Taystee Bread truck down our street, open up the back and tell any kid lucky enough to be outside at the time to jump in and grab a Mickey Banana Flip or Devils Food Cake.

We played kickball in the street and yelled CAR! before scattering to the curb like bugs.

My friend John and I followed behind the garbage truck on our bikes as the men hopped off the back and slung the Hefty bags into the compactor. We thought it was the coolest job on the planet.

We would sneak out of our houses before dawn, ride around town and dumpster dive for ten cent bottles and cans.

Sometimes we’d find a few Playboy and Penthouse Magazines and we’d hide them in the woods for later viewing.

When I was a kid

It snowed so much we built tunnels and forts and got lost for hours.

I had a dog so big I laid on top of him like a gigantic, fluffy pillow.

Christmas was magic. My brother and sister and I would sneak into the living room in the middle of the night and our mouths would hang open at the sight of the bright packages stacked three times higher than me.

My dad took us to Tiger Stadium in Detroit where I watched a pitcher with long floppy hair hanging out of his hat. Funniest guy I ever saw. They called him “The Bird” and he talked to the baseball before he threw it.

When I was a kid

I was not quite five years old when grandpa died. I still remember the sound of the ambulance’s siren screaming by our house and my mom weeping out loud.

We had a mailman named John who walked his entire route. He wore a smart, light blue uniform with a dark blue stripe down his neatly creased pants. He seemed like the happiest and friendliest man alive.

Mom played Elvis, Tom Jones, and Bob Seger records on a turntable as large as a small room.

I kissed girls in my Catholic elementary school and got in big trouble for it by the not-so-friendly nuns.

When I was a kid

My friend and I got busted by the police for being inside a badly burned house that was under investigation for arson. Our dads picked us up at the police station and threatened us all the way home. That punishment never came as the dads broke open some beers, laughed and seemed to forget about it.

Mom would vacuum at night after she put us kids to bed. Somehow I felt loved seeing the vacuum’s front headlight under my bedroom door.

We carved our names in the cement and bought bags of candy for a quarter at 7-11.

Since I worshiped The Six Million Dollar Man, I told everyone that I had a bionic arm and the only reason I came to school at all was as a cover for my real life as a secret agent working for the government.

Then and Now…

Stephen King once wrote, when it comes to the past, everyone writes fiction.  Maybe so. But I am grateful I can recall in vivid detail the truths that left indelible marks on me.  The past is the past and I don’t live there. But it is a warm place to visit and I am grateful. Today, I am a man who has learned to love each day I’m given. I have two daughters whose childhoods are screaming by faster than my bionic eye can detect.

Oh, I didn’t mention the eye?

Back to work now before someone around here figures out my real identity and compromises the mission.

  • Roxanne Schmerheim Topham

    Awesome as always my friend!

  • curtharding

    Thanks, faithful reader! 🙂