I stare at my second-grade self today and notice that he is staring back. I'm surprised I don't see more confusion in his eyes. For I have become something that lad could not have imagined in 1951.
My 1951 self, as I recall, had the following interests:
- cap guns & cowboys
- baseball (I played on my first team that summer--the Amarillo Ticks: Our green T-shirts featured a large white tick on the front).
- TV--but there was a problem: In 1951-52, Amarillo had no access to television; all stations were too far away; no roof antenna could coax in a signal from Dallas, which lies 360 miles to the southeast. So ... even though we had a TV set, it sat there, inactive, for the two years we were in Amarillo; we listened to radio programs instead.
|Paramount in Amarillo|
- our dog, Sooner, a fantastic terrier mix that our grandparents from Enid, Okla., had brought along with them on one of their visits (presumably with Mom and Dad's permission); during our nap time (our room was in the back of the house), my little brother and I would sometimes sneak Sooner in through the window--much better than napping!
- cap guns and cowboys
- avoiding big kids (sixth graders were terrifying)
- going to cowboy movies (Amarillo had movie theaters!)
- my bicycle--it was in Amarillo that I first learned to ride; my first (rough) lesson: It's easier to start than to stop a bike.
- cap guns and cowboys
- family car trips to see my dad's family in Oregon
- playing on the monkey bars at school; we had a game: two lines would form; you would hand-over-hand your way to the center where your opponent waited; you would try to get him/her around the waist with your legs and pull the loser down! (I won a few of those battles: small size was an advantage.) I can't believe the teachers stood there and watched ... times have changed.
- cap guns and cowboys (why not? we were only a few miles away from Palo Duro ("hardwood") Canyon, hangout of the Comanche)
- reading (not really ... though I did like Ferdinand and some Dr. Seuss books; I also read some little biographies of cowboys
- girls ... no way!
So ... as I look back at the boy from 1951, that freckled boy looking back at me mildly amused, that boy wearing a shirt made by his grandmother, that boy who by some cruel twist is now seventy years old, I guess I could try to explain to him my current interests--reading, writing, going to movies (not too many these days about cowboys, I fear), hanging out with the most wonderful human being I've ever known (Joyce Dyer), playing with my grandsons (almost 6 and 10), watching The Rockford Files over and over and over again, making bread and other baked goods, eating Wheat Thins, seeing Shakespeare plays ... let's not go on. We never will get to the cap guns. And I think that lad has has enough shocks for one day.