My childhood was very random. I sometimes have difficulty remembering it. Or remembering exactly when things happened. My life wasn’t as hard as others, but it wasn’t easy either. My mom liked to move a lot and I lived with her until I ran away to live with relatives. Sometimes we would move and I didn’t even realize it. I’d visit relatives for a weekend and come back to a different apartment. I transferred back and forth between the school districts so often that I had several sets of friends that would be excited when I moved back. Memory is oddly tied to a sense of place.
I had two constants in my life. The first was books. Books followed me everywhere.
The second was Star Wars. I loved Star Wars like some people love the Baby Jesus. Every month my mother received her “check” in the mail. That was code for welfare check. My father died when I was fairly young and my mother spent the insurance check like there was no tomorrow. Sadly, there was fifteen years of tomorrow I had to deal with.
I kept the Star Wars figures in a small shoe box. I collected them all. I picked up Hoth Han Solo, IG88, Bespen Luke, and Dark Vader. I entertained myself through some very dark times with those toys. There was one week when I was ten that I was left alone out on a farm. By alone, I mean that my mom left on a Friday and didn’t come back for an entire week. She thought that someone was supposed to pick me up and didn’t bother to check on me. We didn’t have a phone so I couldn’t call anyone.
I don’t really remember much of that week, but I remember the stories I told myself. I’ve been working on Abigail’s Dragon and trying to remember what it was like to be that age when I started remembering. It brought up one of the stories I remember telling myself about space pirates, which made me laugh. I mention this because twenty three years later, I started outlining that story for an anthology submission.
It also makes me a bit sad because when I did get a real job the first thing I bought was action figures. My wife and I started a Buffy and Angel collection. We moved into a swank new place and don’t have room for them so we’ve been putting them on ebay. I’m sure a Freudian would have a wild time with that one.