I was born in the fall of 1975 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My mother, a student of UofM, her higher education postponed. She was but 19, my father merely 20. My features are nearly a 50/50 mix of each of them. God's handiwork. I've been told we lived in a small apartment and briefly a farmhouse.
We moved to Virginia when my dad joined the Army. He was a cook. He's always been a very good cook. Something he got honestly from both of his parents. We lived on base for awhile and my first memory is of us moving into The Blue House. An empty living room and I remarked, "It smells like popcorn." My brothers were born in Virginia. My own hillbillies. I don't remember life without them and glad that I don't. Paul is only 14 months younger than I and Stephen only 16 months younger than Paul. My mom was 22 and our family was complete.
The Blue House. Fetch it Freddy. The little girl neighbor next door not letting me leave once - blocking each door as I tried to get out. An enormous tomato bug on my shirt - scared me nearly to death! Miss Fisher, my preschool teacher. Getting to play the triangle in class. Taking cupcakes on my birthday. These are my early memories.
We returned to Michigan - Detroit to be exact - maybe when I was four. We lived with my dad's parents for just a little while (though I may have the timing messed up here). I remember looking at a second floor apartment - above a store? I remember a bright light (neon?) - outside the window. Then there was The Brown House and Danny and Dana (twin boys) and their boa constrictor across the street. Pinocchio at the movies and an enormous rainbow lollipop. The tire swing park and the ice skating rink. The next-door neighbors had a great big fish tank.
Then The Pink House - pale pink brick - the only house I remember living in in Michigan that had carpet. Shouldn't all houses in northern states have carpet? It's so cold! Mom making homemade pizzas with Chef Boyardee sauce and we got to spread it with a spoon and sprinkle on the cheese and place each pepperoni. Fourth of July and those little white popping firecrackers you throw on the ground and the black snake things that left a burn mark on the sidewalk. Eating cold Kentucky Fried Chicken and watching the fireworks light up the black sky over the Detroit River - hating the noise.
And then I was five.