Growing up in the Deep South

My earliest memories are of my nephew, David and I sharing the same bedroom. I would wake up and smell eggs and bacon. My brother, Winston, cooked breakfast for us every morning.  David looked real cute with his little blond curls and we were inseparable. Winston kept telling me that David was my nephew and that he was my brother but I would argue that point for hours.

At age 3, David and I got a cat from some store. Some old lady had a box of siamese/persian kittens for free and David begged my sister to get him one. We called her Princess. She was bottle-fed for a couple of weeks and then she took over the house. My father adored her. He was not allowed to have pets as a child so he has spoiled every pet that comes through our door. Mom would come home from EPP and she would meet us at the front door, then she would go straight to the garage and demand her food right then in which Mom would oblige. Our house was her territory until Benji came along.

I got Benji on my fourth birthday. I remember blowing the candles out and everyone was cheering — David was right beside me and my mother opened the door that separated the living room from the kitchen. There scurried out this frightened little doggie that took one look at us and ran under the table. I was afraid of strange dogs at the time so I jumped into a chair. Not David— he started coaxing the dog out and then he grabbed my hand and pushed it onto her shaking head. When I saw that she was scared of me, I got down and started playing with her. We decided to name her Benji even though she was a female. I can remember playing on the swing set in the backyard and benji would jump up in my lap. She would even accompany me to my strawberry patch where I would spoil my supper if mom didn’t watch me carefully. Many times, Mom would come home from her job (industrial) and be so worn out that she would sleep on the couch and I would climb over our fence into the backyard where a girl my age lived and we would play Barbies.
I now had two pets, and David had none. I can see why he pampers his pets the way he does now.

My sister, Kris, got married while I was very young but she lived close to us so it didn’t matter b/c I saw David all the time. We even went to the same Pre-school on the military base. Our preschool had Disney cartoons on the outside and this heavy set black woman would read to us every day. I remember her making some comment that children of different races couldn’t become close friends and all the little kids jumped up with our crayons showing her that different color crayons could play together. My mom later told me that I informed her that I was closer to a light brown than white and the other kids started fighting over the crayons to pick out their skin color.

My sister moved to Virginia Beach when I was 5 and she had another child, Michelle. I remember looking at her and thinking that I would have a little sister to play with when she got bigger. To much of my sister’s delight, we also got transferred from South Carolina to Virginia where we were only 3 hours away. My sister loved that. She came by many a weekend. Much to her dismay, a couple months later and the Navy moved her family to South Carolina.

First grade

I kinda remember first grade. I remember my teacher and that I helped her teach the other kids to read since Mom had me reading at age 4. (my mom’s dream was to be an elementary school teacher and she exercised that dream with me consistently). I played outside w/ Venesha, Chris, Ken, Rachael and Linda. Rachael was Filipino just like me and she invited me to her slumber party.

I remember this one afternoon Venesha showed me a shortcut we could take to walk home that was right next to the creek where the alligators hung out. My mother had forbade me to walk near there but I couldn’t persuade Venesha to avoid that shortcut.  We made a bet that afternoon that I could run faster going the safer route than she could walk using the alligator path. That day I was running as fast as I could to win. I ran so hard that I didn’t even notice that I was too far into the street until I heard brakes squealing. I turned around and there was my older brother, Winston demanding that I get into the car NOW and that he was going to have a little word with me. Normally, Winston was really cool and we would listen to the Beach Boys together when he got off from Burger King at Northwoods Mall. Boy was his face blood red that day. Isn’t it kinda funny how many times children come close to being injured and they are protected by SOMETHING. We had a school dance at the end of the year in which I received a yellow mug —
I have drank from this mug since I was 6 yrs old and I still drink from it even though it has scratches and the writing on the outside was rubbed off.

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