Chapter One of my memoir-in-progress:
Chapter One, Beginning
I’m approaching that age when my memories of early childhood are more clear than my memory of where I set down my coffee cup. Some people tell me that they remember nothing before their junior year in high school, and that astounds me because I remember my infancy. For example, I remember lying in my crib with mittens on my hands. Mom explained that I was seven months old when my older brother, who was in Kindergarten, brought home the chicken pox virus, and she put the mittens on my hands to prevent me from scratching the blisters and getting scars.
I also remember the first time that I walked. Mom said that I was eight months old when I crept on hands and knees across the living-room carpet to the front window and pulled myself up by holding onto the window ledge. I remember looking outside at our lawn, the sidewalk, the street and the Jacksons’ house. The Jacksons had beautiful flower gardens, and Mrs. Jackson showed me how to open the “mouth” of a snapdragon blossom. We always called it the Jacksons’ house, even after they sold it to a young couple with a little girl who was three years younger than I was – she was four years old and I was seven.
From a very early age, I got daily advice from an invisible companion who stood slightly behind my right shoulder and spoke to me. Nobody else could see Michael, and I never told anybody about him. He was my guardian angel. Michael used to tell me, for example, that it was almost six o’clock, so Daddy would be coming home soon. Since I didn’t know how to tell time, I depended upon him to tell time for me. I hopped down from Daddy’s favorite chair, where I had been sitting, so he could sit down and rest as soon as he came in the door. Michael also told me that the monsters could not see me if I hid under the covers when I went to bed.