Punkie's Youth

We're not going to spend a lot of time here. My childhood was generally miserable, and it was hard to find pictures of me smiling or ones that didn't remind me of some horror that was happening on the other side of the lens, etc. etc...
Walrus Ears
Here I am, somewhere in the early 70s, selling out to the corporate mouse at Disneyland. I had that hat for many years before it went the way that all old toys go. No, not Ebay.
One of my last pictures of me smiling. Most of the pictures after this were of my frowning or where I was grossly overweight. This is off my father's yacht somewhere in near Solomons Island, MD, in the late 1970s. I spent half my youth in Calvert County, roaming around marshes, museums, and marinas.

Me, Mama, and her dad in 1975

Me and Mama in 1975

Me, Mama, cats Daisy and Shasta in 1976
I wanted to show you the above photos to show you something I noticed while scanning these in. Every single photo I have of my mother, she posed like a professional portrait. I have no pictures of her doing anything normal, or the back of her head, getting caught off guard, doing any normal activity, or anything other than posing for the camera. The same stance, too. Looking slightly to her right, one knee bent up. Even old photos from the 1950s I had of her were like this. I used to have more, but I lost a lot of pictures in a flood.

You always hear about a "teacher who inspired" someone. It usually sounds like bullcrap. This woman proves to me that it can be true. This woman, Ms. Susan Ray, my 6th grade teacher, taught me how to write. Not just spelling and grammar, I knew all that, but she taught me how to be creative and inspiring in writing. She really made a difference in my otherwise hellish childhood. Thank you, Ms. Ray.

Yeah, I used to be thin and tan. This picture of me and my cousins David and Lisa was taken when I visited them in San Diego in 1987. It was about half a year since my mother died, and about four months since my hospitalization. I was about 160 pounds then, and looked terrible. This is at my Uncle Charles's and Aunt Angela's house.

My room was my dungeon and my haven. Pictured here are articles too numerous to mention, but this was my room at the height of its semi-organized clutter in 1986. Daisy is by the 35 gal fish tank, watching the fish, and later, she'll jump on the top to drink the water. Posters all over the walls hide huge chunks of rotting drywall. My room was damp from years of non-waterproofed foundations, and the windows were up high just to be above ground level. Sun rarely entered this room, since bushes covered my windows. I had a lot of bug problems, too, usually the kinds of bugs one finds in caves, like pill bugs, cave crickets, spiders, and cave centipedes. Everything from my room would take on a damp, musty, moldy smell. Still it was home, and a place to hide.

Because I want to know. Oddly enough, it used to be my bed comforter, and when I got a new one, my mother made the old one curtains. This was before her heavy drinking.

Having a damp room meant my fish tanks thrived. I had four, but I only had two or less filled at any one time in my life. I had a this 5-gal, a 10-gal, this 20-gal, and later the 35-gal pictured above. I loved the white noise made by the fish pumps, it would drown out my parent's arguing at night.

Before fish tanks, I had massive Lego structures. I still have all my Legos and thensome. My plans will dwarf this structure, which still holds the record for the most complex thing I even built with Legos. It had trap doors, secret doors, trick staircases, a full kitchen, a royal hall, about 6 towers, two catapults, and two drawbridges. It also came apart in sections so I could stage mini dioramas inside (that you could see through the windows). It also had some motor-driven stuff on it (using wheels and rubber bands, I didn't have many Technic sets then), and two sets of Lego lights, so it was lit from the inside at night. Really cool.


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