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JOURNAL FOR 1936 - 1950


So often recently people have said "There is probably someone, or some event, in your early life" which exerts a great unconscious influence on how I react and how I think of myself now. Arno said this when he tried to discern the seven (IS there any significance to the number I chose?) people whose faces he had in my first LSD session. George Brown implied this when he said we should think of resentments in order to place one person from our past (usually a father or a mother) in a chair in front of us and discuss feelings with them. Joe agrees with Arno that my past is very important. The only people I recall from my distant past is Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Edward (not so much Henry). Now, what precisely do I remember??

As far as "place" memories go, I seem to be able to reconstruct the following:

1) Home, with a crib bed. These might be apocryphal, but I seem to remember the bars, yellow, against the pink wallpaper. The pattern on the wallpaper I can almost trace now: some sort of Dutch girl with a funny hat, a caricature face, with a dress composed of a series of continuous lines [MISSING DIAGRAM]. I would trace these lines with my eyes as I held my breath, counting, to see how long I could hold my breath. Counting was very important back then, as was the alphabet somewhat later. I guess I was so impressed by the FACTS of counting and letters that everything seemed to center around those concepts, particularly the concept of number. I can remember going through the alphabet and trying to think of names beginning with each letter. I could date this activity because I recall that I'd welcomed the name "Yolanda" as a female Y name, and suggested the name to Mom during the "Mr. and Mrs. Hush" contest, whereupon she came up with the ultimate answer "Veloz and Yolanda." I'd been going through the names for a least a year or two prior to that year. As far as memories associated with radio events, I don't remember Pearl Harbor, no matter how hard I think, but it leads to the second "place" memory.

2) Dad's old store on Beardsley Street. I remember it only vaguely, with its high, dark ceiling with the dirty globes hanging down on chains, and the huge dirty plate-glass windows on each side of the door in the corner. I remember red tokens and blue tokens, and savings stamps and rationing stamps, from World War II, but I remember the fact that it had to be closed and sold because my father was going into the army. I don't remember his leaving, but I remember the concern about selling the store. Later, I would vaguely remember meeting him (impossible?) at Niagara Falls on his furlough (I remember being struck with that word), and other things about him.

3) Grandma's, on Oakdale and Crosby (I sometimes think I remember the older home above the store on Wilbeth Road---which leads me back to remembering the street names: I was never sure which street was which, Clifford or Eva, but I remember living on Dietz, and the next street up, where Steve Sharnsky (how strange that names sounds now, mythical, prototypical) lived, was Herbrick, and next was Neptune, where someone lived who was very far away. Then was Burkhardt, then it got hazier, since I seldom went there anyway, but eventually there was Hammel, where Joe Safko lived, and Arlington, which formed the northern (as I thought of it) boundary of my childhood. Much later, beyond what turned out to be (I think) Eva, came Archwood, which for a long time was the Eastern (as I thought of it) boundary, but with the public library came Firestone Park, and Reed Avenue, which was another boundary. Past Clifford was Lovers Lane, which I always thought of as a strange name, but there was an enormous blank between there and Exchange, where the Brown Street bus went. Across Brown Street (the Main Street of childhood) was Tulip, where Richard Daley (the friendless fellow with the tongue tied to the lower jaw, who had those legendary blocks with doors and windows printed on them, which could build something which LOOKED, actually, like houses. Beyond Tulip was Lily, and beyond that I had no knowledge, though somewhere far down was (I can't recall) where the Circle Theater was, and even farther, on Thornton (?) was the Southern Theater---which fit into my north-south allocation even though it came after my wrong layout of compass directions. Such a long digression---though I suspect it's only by reconstructing photographs. I DO seem to remember the taking of the photograph of me crying out of the fields behind Wilbeth Road, and I seem to remember the dog (remember how many dogs there were?? And other pets, too?) I saw in the photograph taken on the back sun porch---but then I insist I remember, in much the same way, my aunt's graduation, but it was in June, 1936. But getting back to Oakdale and Crosby---) I remember my mother and father driving off to the World's Fair (though I didn't know what that meant at the time) in a car, and there was a dog there, too, which got killed by a car somewhat before or somewhat after that. I remember the sailor pants and the trouble I had unbuttoning them to urinate, and there, in the big old bedroom with the mirror on the door, I can remember my first narcissistic posings before the mirror stark naked, and on one of two occasions my grandmother caught me, to my intense embarrassment. She had a room that our house didn't have, called a library, which was always kept dark and curtained, and I only recall the dark reflections of light from chinks between shades and walls, reflections off polished furniture legs and sides. There were two little girls next door, too, and I can remember playing with them, but there was no concept of streets there, since I was never allowed to cross any, and I never ventured away from the corner itself. But I don't remember any Christmases there, as I do at the next place.

4) Grandma's, on Roslyn. I don't remember any feelings about the move, but I recall being stymied by stairs the first time---I remember climbing them on the way to bed, and somehow wrapped Christmas presents were there---maybe that's when I learned there was no Santa Claus, and those lovely gifts were from Grandma and Grandpa and Mom and Dad, and not from Santa Claus. But then I can't ever remember believing in him, except as the hero of "Night before Christmas," but I didn't necessarily believe in Doudou, of "Doudou Flies Away," which enchanted me as a kid, partly because it was in French, a gift from my aunt. Which takes me back to Wooster, when I went to visit Aunt Helen who was working on the bookmobile. I remember not seeing her in the bus terminal, and tearfully telling the clerk to page Miss Helen Vallish, and was embarrassed further when they accented the last syllable of Vallish, and not the first.

5) Home, 1221 Dietz Avenue. In the dim past we had a coal furnace, and I remember one or two coal trucks, and the darkness in the coal bin. But very quickly we got a gas furnace (when was that?), and the coal bin was torn down, though remnants of wooden walls still stood, and the last things to go were the stringers attached to the cement floor, outlining what had been the shape of the room. I remember when we whitewashed the basement, and it began to be livable and playable in, like Jerry Magyar's basement, but then I had the garage. The garage at first had no car, but loads of cans and rocks and papers and assorted junk, like the bicycle I'd gotten, but which was almost always in some sort of disrepair, and later it held various versions of Soap Box Derbies, always foully constructed, despite heroic efforts of my uncle Henry. But I'm coming too far forward in time. Before the basement (and attic, which I had fantasies about converting into a playroom, after I found there was all that ROOM up there, once when I was sent up to change the curtain on the front window, and found that I could actually get to another FLOOR from the landing on my closet), at home, there were the various stages of "I can reach!" The earliest being almost impossibly early: I remember straining up to reach the latch on the front screen door, which was only about four feet off the floor, so I must have been very young indeed. Then later I could reach the lock above the handle, since the handle lock didn't work. Before that, I can recall having to stand on the chair to reach the lock. About the front porch there are dozens of picturesque memories. Climbing onto the porch swing and making it go so high (and being terrified in doing so) that it hit the trellis over the back railing; making the glider go so hard that it bumped the house wall, bringing angry knocks from my mother in her bedroom; being able to jump two, then three, then all four steps from the porch to the ground (this at about the time I dreamed there was something to do with the shoulders which would enable me to go HEAD-FIRST down the stairs, but not falling, FLYING. Thank God I never tried it!); rushing to the door to see the house-to-house sales of lovely goodies: the baker with his bread and rolls and cookies and cakes, actually smelling fresh, the milkman with his rack of bottles (back in the days when milk had cream on the top), along with cheese and chocolate milk and orange juice. Then there was the ice man, from whose truck it was always possible to clamber up and steal slivers of mouth-sized ice for a summer refresher. Incredibly, there was the horse-drawn ragman, with his impenetrable "Rex, rex, vol vaye, rex," [rex = rags] sounding for blocks, drawing the kids to see the two-or-three-times-a-year sight. In this vein, there were the street diggers, scrapers, and tarrers, and then the gravel trucks that came with dusty white rock for the driveway, necessitating raking from the piles to even it out, and then there were the rocks to avoid when mowing the lawn. The mailman fits in here somewhere, coming twice a day, as I just learned, until 1950, and it's true I HAD forgotten there was that transition: the afternoon mail always used to be less than the morning---though during Christmas they used to go to three deliveries, sometimes with two mailmen, so one would go down one side of the street, and the other down the other, making it vastly faster than the old way of one man covering both sides of the street. He'd come into sight at about the Perkarsky's, crossing then to our side for the Rambles and the Fletchers, and maybe even the Links before returning across for the Romans and the Cossaks, then, way back, there was an empty lot across the street, and he'd cross again to the Striblers and to us, though sometimes he'd continue past to the Harolds before coming back to us, and I'd sometimes think we'd get nothing, but he'd double back---sometimes even getting the Lears and the ????? (later they were the Tandrich's), before seeing he'd forgotten us! Past the Rambles were the Starnes, then the unlikely Sekaki's, with Lizzy, mustached and strange, and her brother Zack, who always had cars in pieces in the vacant lot which was the corner. In back, there were few names, Donnie Thomas lived there, but he was so much older, then there was the vacant lot behind us---too overgrown to be much fun except for getting lost in, and for burying things in---then a small house where there was for a small time an older redheaded girl, then a large white house which seemed the grandest place around---seemingly bigger than the dirty yellow Fletcher house, though it, also, was two stories, as was the Romans, as if there was a strip of two story houses down the block. Then there was the vacant lot where the hole was, and I spent much time there, almost out of calling range of my mother, who would stand on the back porch and scream "Bobbeeeeeee" to get me to come home for lunch---or for a nap?? I hardly remember naps, though I guess sometimes I do on hot summer afternoons, when it wasn't so much of a nap as a chance to lay down somewhere cool and rest. Bobby Harold lived across the street, and was strange because he called his parents Ruth and Russell, and his grandparents Mom and Dad, because that's what THEY called each other. Joyce Summers lived in the Roman house before the Romans moved in, and though she had two older brothers, I played with her, and got all tied up in paper dolls. Oh, how I LOVED paper dolls, only girls, with long flowing dresses and gowns. I guess there weren't any male paper dolls back then. I loved cutting them out, and it seems there was an alphabet connected with them, too, in one cutout book which went through the alphabet with dolls and dresses, and I remember the Q doll had only one dress, but since it was in the center, it was bigger than ALL the others, a glorious violet velvet, the best of the lot. This led to hollyhock girls, and I remember the afternoon of the great discovery: if the pollen stamens were removed, the flowers could be pushed down lower, making a much more lavish proportion to the gown. Even later than that, I found that peeling off the green pod-covering made the dresses even more flamboyant. Then there was catching bees in the hollyhock flowers, and putting them into bottles, where they'd buzz angrily but safely. Never got stung by a bee that way, but they did get through to my foot twice while mowing the lawn, and they stabbed me in their death agonies, so that the sting was shallowly bedded and easy to remove. I remember being somewhat ashamed of playing with paper dolls, and guarded that knowledge from Steve, the Livignis, Dick Daley, and my other friends Jerry Magyer and Danny Phillip Saladie, and from Jim Shimko, with whom I had my first experience in sex in my garage, even before George Michaels and Danny Saladie. I remember how delighted I was to hold their stiff cocks, and feel their tiny balls hung underneath, and loved to feel the skin slide back and forth as they jerked off. But how repulsive was the suggestion from one of them that this beautiful slab of skin could be sucked! How remote from anything I felt like doing! And the idea of kissing either of these boys out of any feeling of affection was unthinkable---I was interested in the great feelings of erection and orgasm only.

6) Playthings. One of my earliest memories was of a big drummer boy of papier-mâché, and after owning it for a long period of time---long enough to get used to it as it was, I somehow broke through the paper drumhead, and small tissue-wrapped parcels fell out. What a wonder! I unwrapped tiny ceramic dogs and cats, little glass figurines and small toys: it was the first bounty of my experience! I remember one birthday when my mother told me to clear off the sewing machine because she wanted to sew, and there were my birthday presents! I was so chagrined because I feared she'd made a mistake, I moved the items, suppressing my eagerness for the red woodblock boat with the decaled windows on the solid cabin. This led to a traumatic scene as she denied the presents to me because I didn't have the "sense" to react to the surprise of the presents as she had expected. I remember card decks with too few cards. I'd always loved things that were miniature, the capstone of this type being the Lilliputian village with dozens of houses and almost a hundred three-globed street lamps, along with automobiles, shops, trees, hedges, fences, all to be placed on an enormous street map---it was magnificent. Then there were the Kix and Cheerios box buildings, too, somewhat later---I suppose it grew out of my fascination with the miniature people who were paper dolls. I don't seem to recall any teddy bears or rag dolls: I never went to bed with anything special---maybe the denial of this caused some trouble? Scooters and bicycles came later, as did musical instruments like the flute in the flute band, and the accordion, which lasted a number of years. Uncle Edward had given me a box of yellowing paper, and I recall trying to plan drawing a map of a belt around the world, drawing all the streets with all the houses and stores and buildings and shops and movies and towers, then the forests and rivers and mountains, then the oceans with the ships and fish. Poetry and short stories came quite a bit later in that series. My earliest memories of my possessions were either in an incredible mess on the floor, or stuffed under the bed (this somewhat later), or meticulously piled up, one on top of the other according to size and shape, in the corner. I remember being so pleased when I finally completed the stack, but then everything was so orderly it was quite awhile before I got around to playing with any of it again. There were always red bricks and Lincoln Logs and Erector sets (Constructioneer sets, they were actually, but Erector sets were the generic name, I thought). For Christmas under the tree, there were the ancient nativity scenes of Grandma's, the newer plaster ones that we'd bought sometime, and an assortment of houses and hills and mirror lakes, and the train---I remember my first windup train, a yellow streamlined passenger train which hooked together to form one continuous shape, and I remember the small vestibule, like a waiting platform, at the back of each, and I used to stuff in as many marbles as I could to simulate passengers in that train. Monopoly and Easy Money had to come later, as did Tripoli, but there was Chinese Checkers, with endless combinations of time-consuming games to be played on the beautifully colored board with the clear gem-like marbles, which quickly got lost. Even before I knew the art of jigsaw puzzles, I remember setting up parades with the pieces and marching them ("deckelty-deckelty") into the box. This could occupy HOURS of time; it was like holding my breath. There was an early ring-toss game, and a lawn bowling set that periodically lost and regained its ten small duck pins.

7) Halloween costumes. The last years were years of monsters, culminating in some sort of prize at Firestone Park Street Party when I was about 14, when I balanced my Soap Box Derby lantern on my head, put a red cupcake paper over the lamp, stuck a monster mask over that, and held false shoulders of wood up with my aching arms. Before that, it was all my mother's dresses; I remember the last few with great vividness: the red evening gown with little white and gold embroideries all over, the fabulous light blue taffeta skirt with a dark blue overskirt with a midnight blue satin duster overall, fantastically elegant, as I thought, then a white full-skirted dress, and a few I don't remember. Somewhat before that were a few years as a bum, in old clothes and a smudgy face, and the Jiminy Cricket costume went back as far as I can go backwards. Somehow I'm now reminded of the terrible gift exchange in school, when Mom wrapped up a tiny, dirty duck pin set in an old box and told me to give it to Joe Safko. Someone had given me a correspondence stationery kit, but Sister took it from me and gave it to Joe, who had complained about the used condition of HIS gift. I had troubles living that down. I don't remember Sister Mary Stella, Grade 1 teacher, but I DO remember Sister Mary Michael, Grade 2; Sister Mary Raymond, Grade 3 and 4 (one of these was the time I flipped in class); Sister Mary Alphonse, Grade 5, and Sister Mary Michael, Grade 6, I hardly remember, but the reappearance of Sister Mary Edward in Grade 7 and 8 was great, as I recall. As I look at my graduation picture, all the names come rushing back: JoAnn Pramuka, Pauline Serdinak, Irene Krivossutsky (Bentley), Josephine Mante, Father Valko, Wilma Hedges, Berry Shimkanian, Joanne Fedor, Martha Sebek, Laurence Rudy, Nicholas Isaac, Charles and Joseph Livigni (twins until Charles had an auto accident, or so the story went), William Kemp, Sister Mary Edward and May Kulton. Then Steven Sharnsky, Frank Hudak, Ralph Genovese, Larry Pamer, Joe Safko, David Kemp, Richard Sikoral. Then me, Paul Maudru (how I loved his body), Bob Galvin, Bob Case, and Leo Wehrlin (what a nut he was, and how fast he could run).

But earlier, BEFORE I went to school? I remember one evening in some basement, Uncle Edward showing me a drawer of cars and planes, and introducing me to the wonders of mercury. Then there were his model planes, with painstakingly modeled seats, control pedals, and instrument panels, which I cherished, then began to touch, then dismantled to see the effects of fire on the plane. There were comic books: Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, and later the horror and mystery and fantasy comics. Much later came Edgar Allan Poe and reading in bed. I remember the fear of the water heater, so that I'd sneak downstairs and check the hotness of the tank, or stealthily run the hot water in the sink so it wouldn't explode in the night and kill me.

Then there was the time I clipped all Elsie Link's tulips and loaded them into my wagon for some reason. For a May altar, of course. How I loved climbing the crabapple tree behind the garage before it was cut down, then graduated to Lyn and Billie's trees, which were good climbing, then the special challenge of the Johnson's tree, and the enormous height of the tree next to the haunted house, but that, too, came a bit later. I remember getting sprinkled in the summer, then having to spend the tiresome time watering the garden in the back, at a time when it WAS a garden, with daisies and tulips and sweet William and petunias and tiger lilies and many rose bushes, including those enormous bushes which covered the front of the garage, with the yucca and its impossible tree-flower each year, and peonies and the Easter lilies and the grape arbor---I DO remember the swing in the grape arbor, and how one by one the grape vines were killed off, until there weren't two left, and no place to hang a swing. Then other flowers where would next be a prickly hedge when the neighbors changed, and then the bed next to the house with the sweet smelling lilies of the valley, and then the morning glories (Heavenly Blue, I'll be bound) covering the back porch, then the iris along the side, the bushes in front of the front porch, the forsythia at the corner---where there was once a tree of heaven---and the two trees in the front, and then the snowballs on the other side, cause of so much hay fever agony. How little there was left with no one to care for any of it! But the earliest memories back there must center around the Easter lily, as it surpassed me each spring in height, until, finally, one year it couldn't grow taller than I stood, though the yucca continued to lord it over me, and everyone else, for that matter. Then there was the victory garden, with lettuce and radishes and tiny carrots and green onions, and the mint and parsley and dandelion which always seemed to grow there.

But what of the people? I remember (or was it a dream?) falling down the basement steps, and Mom holding me, both crying, with soapy hands from the washing (yes, the washing---I remember the washer, the wringer, the two rinse tubs, and the games to be played while washing clothes). I remember the terrible scene with the butcher knife, when my mother shouted "Push it" to my father, and I half hoped he would, because it would end these fights and let me go on to something else. What guilt, from my wanting to have her die there, could be still remaining? I remember endless fights, waking me up, and Mommy (as she was then, though it must have been still back on Beardsley, since Thornton didn't have a downstairs, that I called to her down the stairs, "Mother," since I thought Mommy would sound silly) running into my room to use me as some sort of witness. My only memory of Daddy, strongly, was standing beside him as he pissed, wanting but too embarrassed to get a good look at his cock, but marveling at all the bubbles he made, and how long and strongly he could piss. Then he would be sleeping on the living room chair, snoring on a Sunday afternoon, and I would be called upon to crawl up on his lap, and smell the tobacco-cud smell around his mouth, and kiss his bristly cheek, even though I didn't want to. I don't EVER remember his playing with me, and only once did he whip me: with Mom crying more than I was, he took me down to the basement and took out his belt and really HIT me. I remember the shock of it: Mom's mashed potato spoon always hurt---more like stung, but the belt was painful, and I really thought I couldn't take as many as he gave me, probably something like ten. But how THAT brings back memories of Paul Maudru being paddled, his body arching forward to let his bulky cock press against his fly in a tantalizing lump. And the marathons of hand-beating with a ruler, I meriting somewhat over 100 one terrible time, and the sting from the ruler was so hard to take that the face wrinkled and the legs twisted, and finally the hand was almost twisted out of Sister's grasp, to the hilarity of the class!

But still earlier, the people! Grandpa in HIS chair on Sunday, old and strange, sometimes speaking an unknown language to Grandma. The occasional trips to Mt. Carmel: the endless ride in the stuffy car, me taking a nap in the back seat, watching the rise and fall of telephone lines along the road during the 4-5 hour trip. Then there were Edward's plane rides: the first in a little white piper cub with my mother, then in a Ford Tri-Motor with the whole family, then other planes with my mother and grandmother, buzzing my mother hanging out the wash in the backyard. Dear Uncle Edward. I remember the tension of wanting him as he came to hang the dining room chandelier---how much a man he seemed, how handsome he was, how I loved him and wanted---something---from him. Then he married. Did he betray me then, or when he joined the Air Force? How I loved planes then, and I remember the book which divided them up into number of engines, and how fantastic the six engine (and were there 8-engine ones?) planes were. Again, the penchant for the orderly. I never kept diaries or lists, that I can recall, but there they were in my head. I had schemes for memorizing catechism, and I had the games that I liked arranged in some sort of hierarchy which seemed to matter in the LSD experience, but I can't recall---something about the number of cards involved, and War was the simplest, since it was just one card from each player, and Fish was there, since you were sometimes left with few cards, or maybe all the cards. Music was there somewhere, if only on the radio. I remember the Met Saturday broadcasts (coming after the Saturday chores, which started with doing the carved dining room furniture-set legs (but ended with my dusting, mopping, and vacuuming the entire house) under the table, listening to "Land of the Lost" and "Let's Pretend"), and at one time my mother must have listened, and then I wanted to listen, and she grew to hate the screeching and I couldn't listen. She hated the air on the G string by the Longines Symphonette, and she detested the Bolero, which may explain something or other.

I never recall being afraid of the dark, but was happy when she left her bedroom light on when she went out, because then I could go into her bedroom and read for all hours. I remember my bed, with the iron headboard, the bars (is it strange that bars come up so often connected with beds?), and the holes in a lattice pattern, with smaller holes, many of which were blocked off by the paint. I remember the mysteries of the linen closet, and marveled at when she knew which towels were dirty and had to be washed, and when to change the sheets. Baths were Saturday night affairs, and I remember her washing me, but she told me to wash my "peedee" since she shouldn't. And when I got soap in it, look out! I guess the games in the tub came later, running the water in so that my body was a continent which gradually was covered, or letting the water run out the same way. I remember always having a small flotilla in the tub with me, boats and blocks---anything that would float. Then there was the time I walked into the bathroom and Mom crouched down in the tub, hugging herself to cover her breasts from my view---I don't remember when I learned that boys were different from girls (I certainly knew it before Lyn and Billy---I think I found out from Joyce!), and I'd STILL like to know if I DID see Gypsy Rose Lee at the Colonial, to get the impression that her cock was somehow hidden between her legs when she took off her panties---I DO remember the red and white striped ribbons on her titties, I'm SURE of it.

I remember the movies on Saturday matinees at the Gem, and when the price went from something (12?) to 14, and later there were the serials, with Buster Crabbe in everything, always produced by Franz Waxman. How I feared "The Spiral Staircase (1946)" and how I wished I could sneak out to the movies on Tuesday or Wednesday and see some of the Frankenstein or Dracula or Wolf Man movies! I loved the popcorn even then, and remember the steep ramp at the Gem down to the popcorn machine---and remember the one time I hitched a ride out to the Lyn Theater when a guy picked me up and tried to get me hot talking about his girl's titties. How I wish he'd tried harder to seduce me, if that's what he was trying to do! Earliest movie I seem to remember was something with Loretta Young in the ice fields of Alaska, but it's terribly hazy. "Spiral Staircase" is a definite first, with the strange Theremin music and that infernal eye! I recall listening to Frank Sinatra singing on "Your Hit Parade" on the radio after I was forced into bed on Sunday night, and after that was Lux Radio Theater. Sometimes when I stayed home from school, there were all Mom's soap operas: "Young Widder Brown," "Our Gal Sunday," "Ma Perkins," "Helen Trent," and others too soupy to remember. Later there was "Inner Sanctum," which Mom forbade me, though she allowed me Hop Harrigan and The Lone Ranger, though she shouted for me to lower the theme music, which I absolutely fell in love with, for my first NAME remembered: "Les Preludes." How happy I was when I found I could listen to the whole thing without having it interrupted by the story. Then there was the pheasant on top of the china closet, which, when I was young, had NEVER been opened. But there must be OTHER memories about PEOPLE!

This is like reaching with my finger down the back of my mind to vomit up memories!

8) Dreams. I'd had recurrent dreams (check the mympths in the Glossary and in the two-page "Dreams" written so long ago, and then the five-page "Memories" chronicles the dump, a bit of Portage Lakes, the ride through the Ruby Mountains, falling off the roller coaster, the choir room in grade school, and campfire activity at Camp Santa Maria) from very young times, like myself, or someone, driving a car up a winding mountain road, dirt ledges falling away on the right, and up on the left, and we round a corner and there before us is a metal construction entirely blocking the road. There seem to be people around, which makes the nervousness more extreme, but the car is too narrow to fit onto the trestle tracks, and I (who seem to be driving at this point) decide to go between the tracks and pass under the trestle, but the people wave me away: the car doesn't fit that way, either. So, with the characteristic arm flung backward over the seat, my Dad, who is NOW driving, backs down the road, which gets narrower and narrower, until I, now somehow outside the car, can see it bend around the curve to a point that vanishes into the cliff face. There is the scrabble of tires on a few pebbles, which fall off before we do, but then the car falls too, very slowly, so that I have the hope, though I can only move agonizingly slowly, as if the atmosphere were glue, that I can get the Lincoln Log set out and open, and build just the "right kind" of structure to cushion our fall when we finally hit the bottom. But I can't find the long base pieces, and we fall while I frantically try to build the right kind of house (what does THAT mean? That I felt some responsibility for the lousy state of OUR household?). Then there was the funhouse---I remember the Pretzel Ride at Summit Beach, and was terrified by it---would ride through without opening my eyes, but being terrified by the bumps and smell and closeness and noise---and the walk-through one was even worse. But the worst by far was Noah's Ark at Euclid Beach, looking safe enough in its huge (THAT'S one of my EARLIEST toys---NOW I remember, that was one I always liked, with the boat, and the animals formed from two pieces of wood which could be bent apart to allow them to stand, and I'd line them up according to size---I seem to remember mice or flies as the smallest, and I couldn't decide whether elephants, which were the biggest, or giraffes, which were the tallest, should go last---and parade them into the ark. I guess that's where the idea of lining up the picture puzzle pieces and parading them into the BOX came from: from that Noah's Ark set. That's by far the earliest toy I can definitely remember) green hull and red cabin, barn-like, on top, with the cow and hippo and giraffe and ostrich looking out the portholes. We went through some small section before walking up the ramp to the cabin, and somehow the cabin, though brightly lit, was terrifying. There was a green wooden chair-swing which I had the dreadful certainty would tip completely over, pouring me into the dark basement, if I even set foot on it. Dad tried to get me onto it, laughing at my fear, but I screamed and refused. In that state, I wouldn't even sit on the ostrich, because I feared it, too, would somehow go through the floor, even though I couldn't see how it possibly could. Then there was a door leading again down, and there was the floor that bumped and the floor that slipped sideways, and even the stairs that jumped as you went downward. Then there were dark passages, and I remember being separated from everyone, and I wandered along in the total darkness, then saw a movement beside me, and there was a mirror, and my frightened face stared back at me, then we were outside, and I felt an enormous relief, and the knowledge that I'd never go through THERE again. Based, I think, on this experience was the recurring "Fun House" dream, where I would go into a bottom area much the same way as into Noah's Ark (amazing how significant Noah's Ark is!), but again I'd get separated, and I'd wander through crumbling dark hallways, and there'd be the same heat and closeness and stuffiness, and though I couldn't smell it in the dream, I KNEW there was the same hot greasy smell of machinery working behind the walls and under the floors, and the men who watched as unsuspecting passersby came near their holes so they could shake the floor or blow the air jets up when they least expected, or most feared, them. Then there was smoke, and an explosion of colors and lights, and I knew something had gone wrong and I was hopelessly lost. Again there were shadows of mirrors, but I was the only presence, until at the end of the pitchy hall there was a door slightly ajar, and around the cracks showed a faint, smoky, yellow-gray light. I reached out my hand and pushed the door open, and suddenly I was in the middle of the room full of the odd, thin, white, transparent, hillbilly people in the old cartoon for some motor oil---long faces with featureless black eyes, black stringy beards and funny large hats, and one hugely fat woman with a full skirt over her bulging hips. I was terrified of these silent---no, they weren't silent, they were whispering too quietly for me to understand what they were saying---people, and groped my way across the room to a foggily-transparent armchair, into which I sank as into a sort of safe haven. Then through the gray-yellow light I looked down at my elbow, and there on an end table next to the chair was a fishbowl, small and round, and in the fishbowl was a single fish showing every color in the world on its skin as it swam back and forth. At the same time the fish was the most reassuring and the most terrifying thing in the world, and at the moment of seeing the fish, I would wake, half terrified and half relieved.

9) Sickness. My baby book said I had the three-day measles in 1943, when I was 7, and had the chicken pox in 1944, when I was 8. I vaguely remember the chicken pox, and the terrible jokes that everyone made about the name, but my report cards don't quite verify that, since I was absent 11 days in 1942, 4 days in 1943 TWICE, but only a maximum of 2 days after that until a 6-day absence in 1945. But I remember the feeling of sickness and colds and fever, the heavy-headed feeling that things had slowed down and there was an enormous weight or pressure in the room above me, as if I were buried under tons of blankets and could barely move. I would feel in amazement this feeling of oppression, and would remember some sort of advertisement for cleaning out a corner, and I felt I was getting closer and closer to some sort of corner, and I half wanted to get RIGHT into it to see what the limit was, yet I somehow feared it. The mympths acted rather strangely when I was sick, but since I always got much sleep, there was little need for them then, so it may only be that I had trouble conjuring them up. Doctor Evans, the big man with the flabby kindly face and plump rough cold hands, would come then, and open his black bag to the rattle of pills settling into place in their glass vials, and it would be fascinating to see what he took out of there for me, but the pills he gave me never seemed to be anywhere near as colorful as the assortment he carried with him. I would always be forced to move into the living room, to make it easier for him, and would lay uncomfortably on the sofa, feeling that that was just NOT where I belonged. There was the time that my eyes hurt, and very much in pain, but Mom didn't believe me, so I had to lay and moan and cry until the pain went away.

10) The baby book. Containing the notice of Grandpa's death, when I was as old as a senior in high school. I was rather horrified at the writing "I, his mother, saw him the first time when nine days old. In fifteen days he was brought to me for the first time." And on Sunday, April 19, "nursed baby first time (at hospital)." I was to have been born on May 16th, so I was 49 days early, over a month and a half premature, I was placed in an incubator and was at the hospital 4 weeks and one day, being brought home on April 27, a Monday four weeks after the Monday on which I was born. The first notation that I recall was about Tiny, a small two-pound Mexican Chihuahua, which Grandma got when I was 8 years old. There's also the fact that I got blocks from Uncle Edward, and I can recall scattered remnants of these blocks, interlocking with corduroy ridges on two edges, with relief carvings painted bright yellow and green and red and blue. On the other two sides were drab ink-block prints in a fading blue. As for my playmates, Ronald Pierson, age 5, Kenneth Pierson, age 4, and Roberta Pierson, age 3, I seem to remember the names, but it was only in 1937, yet it seems they lived next to the Lears, and lived there until the Tandrich's moved in. Then there was Lillian Penov and Emma Jane Penov, my age and 4 years older, who I recall lived across the street on the corner, where their corner lawn made good slopes for rolling down or sledding down in the snow---ah, yes, I HAD a sled, a super one longer than I was at the start, which I got lots of fun out of, but I was never comfortable about sliding on ice on my feet, and would always look in wonder at the older boys in St. Johns as they brushed snow onto the sloping sidewalk next to the school building and ran as fast as they could and slid for almost half a block, until they came to the concrete steps going down, and they'd stumble down the steps and flail their arms out onto the small one-block street in back of the school, where there were very seldom cars, and where were the first apartment houses, two apartments on the second floor and two on the first floor, and I thought it would be very strange to live anywhere that wasn't a house. Then there was Dickie Miller, who was 2 years old in 1941, rather young for me, and Bobbie Harold was one year younger than I was. An unknown Mary Lou Getzinger occupies the pages, and the redhead from the house in back was Betty Lou, the name recalls. In 1943 the notation is for Joyce Summers and Jimmie Starnes, who was two years older than me, but I don't remember looking on him as anything special, then in 1944 there was Richard Daley, well remembered, and Stephen Sharnsky (and his sister Patty), and Henry Willmer, a grade ahead, and rather much a pushy pudgy bully, none of which were interesting to me sexually, and then in 1946 was Jerry and Judy, and they were after Jim Shimko, so my first interest could be put down at 1945, give or take a year, when I was 9. No wonder Jim so intrigued me with his description of working back and forth on his "Peter" (how embarrassed I was to call it "Peedee" when he was so grownup with "Peter"), and would get milk. To George Michaels it was also Peter, with a touch of Peder, and much later in school it became "Dick," when I grew to love ball tag, seeking out Paul Maudru with lust in my 11-year-old heart. There's an entry I can scarcely believe, that Mom fed me at 3 am, 6 am, 10 am, 2 pm, 6 pm, 10 pm, for 14 months. Then there's the notation "nursed Bobbie until Mon., July 27, 1936 (almost 4 months)---then on Carnation milk thru his second summer."

11) Narcissism. This came later, when I could pull the chair up and move the living room mirror up onto the ledge so that I could stand on the floor in front of the sofa and pose in the nude---once caught by Mr. Wright. I'd also stand on Mom's bench in her bedroom and look into her vanity mirror, and get tiny pairs of Rita's pants to make tights, so I could enjoy the tight-crotch look of Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel Junior, and later the sexy drawings of Flash and Torch and the Green Lantern, and still later the muscle magazines which began to fill my fantasies when I discovered that they EXISTED. Imagine that they'd publish magazines with well-built men wearing almost nothing! After we got the shower and I had something to hang onto, I'd balance on the bathtub rim and use the bathroom mirror for posing, and delighted (much later) when I could only stand in the tub and see my cock in the mirror. It was about then that I discovered the powerfully erotic effects of holding my breath in the shower, and the even greater feeling of breathing into a cup of the shower curtain until it filled with water and my nose sank below the surface, and THEN I would pretend I was drowning. I could actually SENSE the powerful tension in my cock at that time, and my hand would yearn to stoke its stiffness. Masturbation was always considered a sin, and I started with great guilt feelings when I found that what I was doing WAS masturbating. I'd try to avoid it, but I just couldn't keep my hands away, it felt so good. And for years I'd roll to the side of the bed and pump the fluid into the cold-air register on the floor, until once when I had to clean it I saw the enormous amount of stain, and even my mother asked what that was, and I was so embarrassed I'm sure I turned bright red, and she might have suspected what it was.

12) Pets. Before Tiny there were other dogs, but I don't remember them. There were rabbits in a wire enclosure in the garage, and once kept on the landing; and then there were pouter pigeons, too. Kittens were around, to be dropped off the back porch banister, and to play with with a piece of paper tied up with string, and to scratch until they purred. We had fish, too, small fish that ate each other, then a few goldfish until we got tired of them, and then angelfish, aloof and tranquil in their clear water. I remember the plants in the dining room, the cacti that sometimes stuck when I dusted around them, the hundred-year plant, or potato-peel plant, which, amazingly, once or twice got some red flowers on it. At some distant time, all these plants were kept in a metal trough in a wicker stand, but somehow the stand got rickety and finally the plants were just put on a table. One ornament I particularly remember was a red iron Japanese bridge, and I'd love to water the plants and inundate the bridge, then watch the water sink down and see the bridge rise back into the air. Later this bridge ended up on the knickknack shelf in the corner above the telephone, along with one or two figurines and a Chinese-orange pot with one broken leg with green-yellow paintings of dragons on the surface. Which reminds me of feeding the fish, Cleo, from "Pinocchio" (1940, per DIARY 10435) standing open-mouthed on the living room table, and I would become a miniature vacuum cleaner picking up tiny pieces of lint and dropping them into the inviting fish's mouth. THAT'S really an early memory. I can also remember standing in the bathroom sink to get my feet washed, so that must have been pretty long ago, too. I still remember how the sink began to sag away from the wall because of my weight and its lack of support, and then we got a new sink, and the bathroom ever after seemed to be at a strange angle, since I had gotten so used to the sagging sink putting everything else out of whack.

13) Collections. When cigarettes came in silver foil, there was the endless joy of making a bigger silver foil ball than anyone else had, and the contests for collecting the most---I've forgotten the name, but still remember the pale orange and green combination of the wrapper---popsicle wrappers, and using them for free rides at Summit Beach, but the only trouble with that was that the lines were so long, it wasn't possible to use up all the wrappers, or all the Pepsi, Royal Crown, and Nehi caps, either, when their turn came. Then there was hopscotch, and fox and geese when the snow fell, and Mother-May-I, which it seemed always had to start at the door on the front porch (it was always interesting getting down the steps in unusual ways) and end at the end of the sidewalk before the devil-strip. Then there was Crack the Whip, which could end up as Statues, there was Red Rover when there were enough people, there was Red-Light, Green-Light, and Sardines, and there was Move-Up, even though I didn't much like baseball, would only play football when it was touch football, and never saw the purpose of throwing a basketball through a hoop as Donnie Thomas did.

14) Books. I'd always had books: a tattered Mother Goose book with dirty green cloth covers and yellowing slick pages; Patches, which I thought was fabulous, and so organized into its black, brown, white, pink, white with black spots, and white with brown spots, with a red ribbon for a tongue. Doudou I'd mentioned before, and I loved to go to Grandma's so I could look at the Sears-Roebuck catalogues, and Edward's Information Please Almanac, with tables of data and pages of pictures. Then later where was the Book House, which I was confused about since it seemed to be only Volume 1 of a set, and a Fun with Science book which was very interesting. I remember the birthdays, since I'd almost always get a card from my Grandma with the number of the year spelled out in dimes. So much money! At first I remember the strange bounty of an allowance---I think it was 10 a week, and I had no idea what to do with it. I remember some fuss and frustration about tying shoe laces, but can't really remember when it was. Then there was the time, impossibly early, when I seem to remember having made "poo-poo" in my pajamas, and feeling very guilty about it, and sitting in my crib---but I wouldn't have sat on it! It's quite unlikely I remember the agony of losing teeth, and the front ones always seemed to be loose at the time sweet corn was in season, and it was agony not to be able to eat as much as I wanted. I remember swimming (before I know how to swim) at Sandy Beach, then at White Pond, then at Crystal Pool at Summit Beach. Way back there's some SLIGHT memory of Cormany's Landing, but not really, and then the summer cottage screen-porch when I first masturbated, and the lovely early morning canoe rides with Edward, when the sun came up so dimly that he could point out sunspots, and he'd drop cherry bombs and kill turtles and fish, and the silver bubbles would boil toward the surface with a dazzling speed and sound. Then on the other side of the road was Dietz's Landing, and I remember the rutted parking lot and the strange place where a tree went down to the water, exposing its roots. But the dock was always impossibly far out for the longest time. Then there was snow, piled up so high in a drift against the basement door that it was above my head, and I could dig a tunnel into it for a good distance before it collapsed. I was always able to make the biggest snowman in the neighborhood. Then there were the few days warm enough during the summer when I could go out into the rain, which always felt so cold at first, and sometimes even the sun would come out, and once or twice there would be a rainbow, and once even a double rainbow, and once there was the magical time when it was raining out the front door and NOT raining out the back door. The Easter Bunny didn't make too much of an impression, though I remember chocolate on Easter with greediness, though I didn't care for jellybeans. Report cards were always an important time, and I'd had trouble waiting for the six weeks to pass before I got my grades. The first grade seemed tranquil with all G's for conduct, but in the second grade I got my first F (Fair, and not P, Poor) in Conduct, and I was mortified. There was another F which I remember thinking was unfair, but thereafter for a couple years it was smooth sailing, with a few B's and a terrible C in penmanship. Then there was the terrible time in the seventh grade when I got a D in penmanship---the only D of my life, but it came during a series of years when I got Poor's for conduct, so something must have been wrong, somewhere. I remember walking to the dentist, rather far, as I recall, and remember screaming when I had my only molar pulled, and spitting out the blood into the gutter from the car. Somewhat later came the longer expeditions, the walks out to the cliffs, the bicycle adventures to the library, the hikes to Firestone Gardens and Heinz Park and to Firestone Metropolitan Park beyond the Firestone Country Club. But these were MUCH later. I vaguely remember the dark, beery interior of the Hillcrest Cafe, which also dates from the Wilbeth Road store. I remember playing marbles: mainly I liked "Follow-Up" which could lead absolutely anywhere, then there was Follow the Leader, and the inevitable war games with guns and grenades. Jacks was in there somewhere, and Mumbley-Peg was another game that relied on memory, and then there was the territory game, where you slammed a knife into a square, taking larger and larger chunks of the square until you owned it all. Then there was the set of golf clubs just made for me by cutting down a regular set. I can't say that I remember ever using them on a golf course. For awhile there was a wood-burning kit, and I burned myself rather often. Then there were parachutes, first out of rags tied with rocks, then more sophisticated versions from umbrella tops, which were absolute perfection, except that they tended to get heavy and more difficult to loft into the treetops. Then there was what Robert Paul Smith in "'Where Did You Go? Out.'" calls Higher and Higher, which is holding a rope up higher and higher until you couldn't jump over it anymore without toppling over the person holding the end of the rope. There was catching lightening bugs. There was the bee-bee gun, the big one and the little one, and somehow the big one vanished and there was only the little one, but I wouldn't have dreamed of hitting anything with a bee-bee anyway. Then there were BEADS from one of Mom's old purses, and that was wonderful! There were almond-shaped red and yellow ones, square green and blue and white ones, and round orange ones and other kinds, which could be sorted according to size or shape, and strung on strings for Halloween, but be careful that the string didn't break, because those beads were precious. There were the "It" games, like hide and go seek, and other taggy, screamy, fun running games.

15) I also imagine I remember my great grandmother, once alive, and I remember my amazement that this was my mother's mother's mother, and on the basis of that thought, everything seemed old: the viney garden in the back, lined with rocks, seemed straight from the Old Testament. And then I quite vividly remember looking into the coffin at her wake, when she died at 92. I had the same feeling then that I usually have now when looking at a corpse. At any moment the body will move, and everyone will spring away screaming, and it will be a miracle and a monstrosity combined into one, something very much to be desired, and something to be feared as much as death itself. And then there was Uncle Wally's "Farm," and I remember a screened-in porch over the rolling back lawn, which went down to trees growing just on the edge of a ravine through which ran a stream. I don't remember any exploring there, but I do recall that in one place we visited they owned a furniture store, and there were a number of kids something like my own age, and I somehow remember being surprised and pleased that they were NICE kids (maybe I thought they'd speak a different language, since they lived so far away in Pennsylvania). I don't remember anything about the tunnels on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but we must have used it (it was opened in 1940, and certainly we went that way after that), unless Grandpa drove due east rather than detouring south to the faster route.

16) Current Events. I don't remember Pearl Harbor, but I remember the headlines in the papers about the wars, and wondered what newspapers talked about when there was no war to take up the headlines. I remember V-J Day, since we were eating in Iacomini's, and it seems we were celebrating before the fact. I remember crying during Roosevelt's funeral, for he, like Pope Pius XII, was one of the stable people who would always be around to help "my side." I also remember Thomas Dewey campaigning for president, but I knew he couldn't win because he had that stupid moustache. I remember the newspaper photograph of the Winecoff Hotel fire of the woman leaping to her death, but I was all of ten years old at the time, though I rather feared sleeping in hotels afterwards, being careful to see where the fire escapes were. I remember when the plane crashed into the Empire State Building, whenever that was. Then there were the reading lessons off vapidly-colored oilcloth flipcharts in something like first grade, and on either fractions or decimals I remember wondering how far this nonsense could go; after all, I had ALREADY learned how to add, subtract, multiply and divide. There was one babysitter I remember, too, because I fussed and fussed until finally she was reduced to tears, and then I, very guiltily, quieted down and did what she told me to do. Then there was Mom and her friends, the Links and the Ferrises, who would come over to the house to play poker every so often, and there would be the strange smell of cigarette smoke lingering in the dining room afterwards---also, that was about the only time the dining room table was ever used---otherwise, it was always covered either by a full lace tablecloth, or by a diamond-shaped shawl of very loosely woven wool, with pigtail-like tassels a couple of inches long of solid color, mostly metallic reds and greens. And speaking of red reminds me of the red hair of Rosemary Orton, who also smelled rather strangely, and I'd pull her pigtails from my desk behind her. I DO remember the desks, first in rows all connected on the same wooden runners, and I remember the fuss of trying to organize everything to fit into the desk, including the ink bottles that more than once tipped over to clot its purple pall over books and papers and desk-wood alike. Sometimes during these early years, I was supposed to have visited Washington, but though I can remember the violet straw conical hat my mother wore in the photographs, I can't remember the Capitol at all. Trying to memorize that terrible Latin for the Mass responses was quite bad, too, but it was made up for when I got the enormous privilege of carrying the lead cross when I was in the 6th grade, when the 7th and 8th graders behaved so badly Sister Mary Edward chose me to stop their squabbles. Then the next year I was an acolyte, and then again the cross-bearer. And how strange it was to see nuns clamber up the high ladders perched on the pews and clean the gothic lamps. I had never thought that such things needed cleaning. Imagine a church getting dirty! For many years I whiled away the idle hours by pretending to be little people stranded in the church, having to painstakingly make my way from the alter floor up to the top of the ornate altar backdrop, then stringing spider's webs to every corner of the church, so that my little car could go anywhere. That certainly helped to pass the time during the interminable masses. Way back then I was presented with a Mickey Mouse wristwatch, which I treasured, because I could tell what time it was. And I do remember back to the time when I would report the time by saying "The big hand's on 3 and the little hand's between 11 and 12." This seemed to have happened innumerable times: it seems my mother ALWAYS wanted to know what time it was, and most of the time she was lying down, "resting" because she was "tired." I don't remember sucking my thumb, but I remember biting my fingernails, and then finally that stopped, whereas only this year I decided finally and for all to stop biting the flesh around the edges of the fingernails, and the flesh on the inside of the mouth. But I still pick my nose, though I no longer ream out my ears and eat what I find IN there. AH, another vivid memory from LONG ago: I remember riding back toward Akron on the Viaduct, and looking toward the Ohio Edison building. They had a sign which I DID NOT like, it seems it changed color to a terrible ominous brown which I hated, though I can hardly believe it. I did see one there that changed from white to red, and that may have been it. But I remember crying and crying loudly as we drove closer to the sign, wiping my eyes and saying I didn't like it, and anything Mommy or Daddy said didn't make any difference. I don't remember much about Grandparents Zolnierzak, except that the first thing I remember are her odd meals, but best of all was Kruschiki, the sugar-covered dainty pastry that was vanishingly flaky and tender when bitten into. And then Grandpa usually managed to press some money into my hand, which made the afternoon in the dark living room and cluttered dining room almost bearable. And then East Avenue was so very far from home. I certainly remember Confirmation when I was 10, but I also remember First Communion, and the fresh white suit, but not eating, and the excitement of the host and the odd smell of wine on the priest's fingers made me so light-headed that I turned quite pale and Sister hustled me into a classroom and got me a roll to eat, and I felt better, though still weak. There, again, there were prayers and recitations to be memorized and recited aloud in the church. What an amazing amount of memorization there was connected with the Catholic Church and School! Then I remember the Maple Street hill, steep and causing smoke belchings and shimmies to be wrung from the car---and then there was Perkin's Woods, my first zoo, with the bears stinking in their water, and the cages of birds, and the extents of grass stretching under the trees, and much later going beyond the zoo to the swings and slides at the other end of the park. There was swimming at Cedar Point, too, but I remember disliking the long ride in the car to get there. About memory my mother says "Had very good memory. Could supply many words in the nursery rhymes and his a-b-c book (when 22 mo)." So the memory trick was active even back then. At one of the stores there was the fluoroscope machine to make sure the shoes fit properly---how strange it was to see the bones in my feet! Remember reciting "oh, ya benda hoda" when I didn't know what it meant, until finally Mom shouted at me to keep quiet about it.

17) Hygiene. Cleanliness was so simple: wash the hands and face once a day, the feet when I went barefoot in the summer, clean out the stuff from between the toes when I take my socks off, and a bath once a week---that's all there was! The first "far" I could go was to the Johnson store, all of two lots away, to buy bread or milk in the irconverted garage. They had a crow, too, in their tree, and there were always huge trucks in the driveway. I remember receiving Edward's microscope set, wonderful, and asking Grandma why she clicked her tongue like that. And the blood being spit into the can when Mom got all her teeth pulled out, and I morbidly sat in the chair, like I was watching her. Of course, there were the COMICS in the newspaper: L'il Abner from "Lena the Hyena" and before, pre-Pogo, and I'll bet I could remember Dick Tracy to the year one, with Pruneface before Waffles before---who WAS the first I'd remember? From the library there was Dr. Seuss, and that lovely tale of the Chinese man who walked up the highest mountain, then kept walking upwards. Haircuts were gotten from Gomory. I remember when Scotts was built, and how it smelled, and how the popcorn machine was so unexpected, and some strange violet prescription sign glowing evilly in the back. The sewing machine was always in the bedroom, but never used; I remember before we had a pressure cooker, before Mom ordered Nutrilite, when we crushed cans for the war effort, the number of times the wallpaper was cleaned before we painted the rooms, the Shirley Temple blue cup, the tiny spoon with my name on it---though I can't remember using it. I remember Dad fussing with the choke on the car, standing on a running board, not wanting my pictures taken, and just possibly some switch from with-Mom to Ladies Room to myself to "Men's Room."
Read "Earliest Memories" (see DIARY 12646) after I lay in bed this morning FLOODED with memories from the past. Then my reading sort of mushed them all together, and I have to sit and think what I came up with. Remembered that (expanding 94005c) I'd tried to use the coal bin as some sort of playroom, with all kinds of fantasies about making it into an actual private room, but nothing ever came of it, since the basement was usually so damp and dark, and there were no lights in it. But among my jobs was the yearly cleaning of the shelves down there, and for many years I can remember my meticulously piling up things down there, until school duties grew too heavy to keep up with them. Funny what I DON'T remember: never remember my mother carrying me, nor my father playing with me. I was never seduced, and I never even got lost, so that I had to overcome my panic and find my way home. I never ran away from home, though I planned to a number of times to "show them" what it would be like without me around to help, and without me around to bully and command. Somewhat later there were flashlights under the bedclothes so that I could read; Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows" being positively terrifying in the dark of night. There were marvelous lightning storms, so that I could count seconds to see how far away the strike was, but one came so close that I could smell the ozone, hear the clap come directly behind the flash, and even fancied that I heard CRACKLING in the air as the energy dissipated. Also forgot (expanding 4006a) that I'd wanted a few times to make a funhouse out of the garage, and drew the ugliest faces I could think of in melting crayon on the wooden walls, so that these would frighten those who came around the tortuous corners of the maze that I thought I might construct out of sheets, without thinking how I would LIGHT all the twists and turns.

SUNDAY, 7/8/12: 9:53AM: Just skimmed the previous material and determined that it covered material from 1950 or before. It occurred to me this morning that, although I'd thought I'd finished the JOURNALS part of the website, that the years before 1956 were still in construction, and find on the map that 1950-1957 are still "under construction." Figured that ALL of EARLIEST MEMORIES would fit into 1950 (and before), and I could CONSTRUCT 1951-1957 from 1) other journal-like files, 2) Table of Contents, 3) early DATEBOOK entries, 4) my photo scrapbook, 5) my black clippings scrapbook, and 6) some current summary writings. And think to add 7) some dated earliest writings, like "Loom" from 1959, "Luxury" from 1960 (obviously not 1950-1957), and "Census-2028" from 1952 and "The Cliffs" pre-1950. So let's start collecting year-data:

1950: This group of pages, AR\WEB50S. Note: for earliest DATEBOOK, see 1951. From black scrapbook: Birth Certificate: born 11:02AM on Monday, 30th day of March, 1936. Weight 4 lbs. 5 oz., Height 18 in.

Newspaper clipping from June, 1949: "St. Mary's tuition scholarships will be awarded to...Robert Zolnerzak of St. John's."

SJS Class of 1949 book: Class Will: "Zipper" Zolnerzak leaves his ghost stories and his terrible strength to Robert Bersnak."
1959 prediction: "Robert Zolnerzak, now a handsome missionary, lives in the wilds of Africa. He likes nothing better than telling ghost stories to the medicine man. He also writes poetry about swinging monkeys and coconut trees."
"Congratulations: 1. C.Y.O. boxers, 2. Basketball team, 3. Entire class for Universe Bulletin Campaign, 4. Robert Zolnerzak, for winning a Two Year Scholarship to St. Mary's High School, 5. Choir girls."

Saint John the Baptist School Diploma June 10, 1949.

Student-Librarian "excellent" certificate for library services 1950-1951.

From photo album: Year (number of photos): 1936 (4), 1937 (6), 1938 (5), 1939 (5), 1940 (1), 1941 (2), 1942 (4), 1943 (1), 1944 (5), 1945 (4), 1946 (1), 1947 (2), 1948 (2), 1949 (2), 1950 (1). First Communion: 5/7/44; Niagara Falls: 8/44; Louisville, KY, 9/44; 8th grade: 1945; confirmation: 4/29/46; grade-school graduation: 6/10/49; half-scholarship to St. Mary High School;