Posts Tagged With: childhood

Room For Four More

It was my parents’ 17th anniversary, a night for outward ‘I-love-you’s and inward ‘what-was-I-thinking’s. These anniversary dinners out as a family were standard: eat something expensive, maybe have dessert, then my parents might dance to prerecorded entertainment or a sullen piano player.

Little could any of us have known that, that night we would all be dancing…

Dancing, that is, with a partner named Death!



When he’s not terrorizing my family, Death enjoys choreographing routines for the local cheerleading squad. This might be the year they go to the tri-state finals!

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Categories: Childhood = 100 Years Ago | Tags: , , , , | 52 Comments

To All Who Come To This Happy Place… Aaaarrrggh!

NOTE – While I am offline writing fiction and ignoring my blog, I’ve decided to post a few pieces that 99% of you have never read.

Originally published by Forces Of Geek


Perhaps I’d been serenaded “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” once too often while still in the womb or maybe it was the steady diet of Donald Duck brand orange juice made with fruit concentrate that did it to me. Whatever the root cause, I was raised with an inherent love of all things Disney. To my sister and me, Disney cartoons and films were seen as the embodiment of all things good, they conveyed a world where things were safe, where good things happened to good people and where solutions to most of our problems were just a Sherman brothers song away. I believed that the Disney magic was real. Real, that is, until… that one day.

What happened that day, you ask?

A sobering reality that haunts me to this day–that’s what happened.

Let us journey, boys and girls, back to a not-so-magical land called… Anaheim.


“Oh look. Anaheim has people dress up as foliage. How quaint!”

That particular morning, my adorable self had woken up with an enthusiasm unmatched since Continue reading

Categories: Childhood = 100 Years Ago | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

Waste Of Ancient Wisdom

The place: Tacoma, WA

Aron Hakone’s dad was someone worth bragging about. He was a black belt in karate, was in really good shape, was really nice and, oh! was a black belt in karate. One day at school, Aron posted a sign-up list in our 4th grade class room. Mr. Hakone was offering karate lessons at his home, free of charge! I was one of the first to sign up, with visions of my throwing ninja stars with unprecedented accuracy and eventually landing a lucrative career in martial arts films running through my mind.

On the day the class started, I was ready a full hour before I was supposed to even leave for the Hakone house. I wore my gray sweatpants, a blank jersey with red, elbow-length sleeves, blue Adidas and the same pair of big-toe-sticking-out-of-a-hole socks I’d been wearing for three days straight. Since no one ever saw my feet, I rarely gave a second thought to their appearance or general lack of hygiene.


“Turns out we read the report wrong, Dave. It was a sign-up sheet for martial arts, not martial law. We, uh, we should probably start cleaning up.”

After being dropped off by my mom, I walked up to the front door where, taped to the knocker, a note read: CLASS IN BACKYARD GO THROUGH GATE LEFT SIDE OF GARAGE 

In the backyard, I found Aron, Clint and Wendell sitting on the grass. Aron had on a karate suit with a blue belt, Continue reading

Categories: Childhood = 100 Years Ago | Tags: , , , , | 62 Comments

The Girl With The Bowl Cut Hair


The place: Mrs. Dell’s 6th grade classroom, Idlewild Elementary, Tacoma, WA.


As Valentine’s Day crept up on us like a pink disease, Mrs. Dell read aloud stories of love. Every one of the girls in class were attentive as Mrs. Dell read about love won, love lost, mythical love (both Greek and Roman). We boys, on the other hand, safeguarded our discomfort behind disgusted remarks and inappropriate kissy noises. When I wasn’t busy doing my part to mock the ridiculous concept of love, I kept a clandestine gaze on the chubby-cheeked smile of Kara Pennyday.

Since Day 1 of the fourth grade, I had carried a torch for Kara like an Olympic ceremonial participant on a hamster wheel. She may not have had the girliness of Molly Johnson or the burgeoning A-cup figure of Dotty Curtner, but I found Kara to be the most captivating girl in Idlewild. I was entranced by her bowl cut hair and her uncanny ability to be as well-versed in Star Wars characters as she was in members of boy bands. She was friendly and open-minded. Heck, she was even friendly with Sue Munsen.

It’s debatable whether or not a sixth grader is capable of experiencing actual love–it may be better classified as puppy love or as innocent infatuation. Whatever the correct term was, I was head over heels in it. And maybe the stories that Mrs. Dell read began to sink in because, despite everything my chicken hearted logic told me, I decided that I would try to let Kara know how I felt. The only problem was how to do it.

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Categories: Childhood = 100 Years Ago | Tags: , , , , | 218 Comments

Aaay! It’s Fonzie Day


Growing up on that particular Oregon street was innocent, quiet and, if I’d known what a Beaver Cleaver even was, maybe even Cleaver-esque. Hillsboro was the sort of Nilla wafer-flavored suburb that angsty teens hated for its lack of anything interesting that ever happened, and the neighborhood cops loved to patrol for the exact same reason.

The self-centered, myopic life of a child is all about living in that particular moment, playing an endless number of games, using anything and everything as a toy and basically overworking one’s imagination like it were a Dickensian workhouse orphan. At 4 years old, life was simple, fairly straightforward and free of the obstacles that life would present in the following years (obstacles like telling time and learning to write a capital Q.) Each day was (if the system of mathematics I made up was correct) 132 hours long and a week was made up of, like, three months.


“Oh yes, sir. That’s is absolutely right. Going into space was way easier than writing a capital Q in cursive. That’s just damn near impossible.”

I would wake up, have breakfast, play some games that I may or may not have made up and, more or less, go to bed feeling that I’d accomplished Continue reading

Categories: Childhood = 100 Years Ago | Tags: , , , , , , , | 98 Comments

Holiday Rules For Everyone


“Home is where the heart is.”

“Don’t spend more than you can afford.”

Advice that has been handed down for generations and stood the test of time are the result of a combination of common sense, downhome know-how and a cycle of emotional abuse that perpetuates the strict demands of those relatives long dead.

Holiday advice is, in many aspects, a tradition. And, for much the same reason that certain decorations are dusted off every year, despite their cracking, bending and being covered in black mold, tradition is one of the hallmarks of the holidays. (Fun fact: It is also one of the hallmarks of Hallmark!)

"Wait, so why am I putting this giant centipede on the tree, again?""It's tradition!... Or maybe an urban legend. I don't really know."

“Wait, so why am I putting this giant, Indonesian centipede on the tree, again?”
“‘Cuz it’s tradition, silly!… Now, where did that scorpion run off to?”

With tradition comes unspoken (but occasionally yelled) rules that are drilled into your young psyche, put through the ringer of dysfunctional family gatherings and, for a large investment, can be purged and unlearned through years of Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

As you ready yourself for a day of overeating, passive aggressive conversations and the opening of presents and old wounds, my egg nog-addled brain has put together tips that I believe will make this holiday season a win for you and a heartwarming* memory for your family (but, then again, I believe our cat understands everything I say).

*By  heartwarming, I mean in the emotional, full of good will sense and not in the defibrillator set to maximum sense.

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Categories: Lazy Lists | Tags: , , , , | 33 Comments

Things That Go Bump In The Night – Part 2 – Physical Contact

<—- part 1 Field Trip

At lunch on Friday, Wendell and Clint insisted that Tim, Alan and I spend the night at Wendell’s. They ignored all of our questions about the evening except one, by far the most important question, one that would sway even the fiercest fence-sitter: yes, Wendell’s mom would be ordering pizza.

That night, we found Clint and Wendell in the garage busy at work with assorted tools and what looked to be leftover slats from a picket fence. As Wendell sawed down every other slat, Clint joined them to longer pieces with nails of varying length with equally varying accuracy.

“Yeah!” Alan yelled out, taking up one of the finished pieces. “Swords!”

Wendell grabbed the wooden sword, flipped it and handed it it back. “It’s a cross.”

“Happy birthday, Gary! I saw this place and remembered how much you liked wooden swords. Go ahead and pick one out!”

“Whatta we need crosses for?” Tim asked.

“For tonight,” Wendell answered, trying on the smile villains deliver when they’ve finally captured the hero. When villains did it, it was sinister and ominous, but Wendell looked like he was in need of a gallon of bicarbonate. “You’ll see.”

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Categories: Childhood = 100 Years Ago | Tags: , , , , | 34 Comments

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