Tonight, a friend of mine sent me a 66-page PDF of some childhood stories he wrote down and gave to his mom. As I've been reading them (I'm about halfway through) and laughing as I imagine a terrified little kid in church or him having to put up with his family's antics, I'm realizing I don't have that many childhood stories to share.
Growing up an only child pretty much guarantees an existence where you are left to fend for yourself on most occasions. I have snatches of memories here and there, but mostly just little 5-minute snapshots or memories of people instead of events.
My childhood was mostly filled with two things: 1) books and 2) Nintendo. I devoured books. I read quickly and grasped concepts even quicker, so I went through hundreds of books. By first grade I had read almost the entire Nancy Drew series and was starting on the Hardy Boys and Bobbsey twins. By third grade I had read the entire children's section of the library and was hankering for more, so my mother (always the mystery novel fan) started me on mystery novels. In 4th grade I was reading V.C. Andrews ("Aren't you a little young to be reading those?" I remember my teacher saying), and that's how I learned about sex. Yes, I learned about sex from a book where a paralyzed guy in a wheelchair got stuffed by a younger lady. That's all I remember. (Someday I fully intend to read them all again just to see what that was all about.)
My parents were 37 when they adopted me (I was adopted at age 3 days.) Thus, their friends' kids were all grown up as well, and my childhood was filled with the antics of characters in books instead of real friends. That is, except for Meghan.
When I was young (too young to have started school), someone started building a house next door to us. I was fascinated by this. They dug out the ground and built a basement first, and (much to my mother's chagrin) I was over at the construction site every day climbing around in the mud and thoroughly enjoying myself. Soon, the basement was finished and the walls started to take form. My dad and I would take walks through the house at night, and I can remember being utterly fascinated with knowing exactly where the toilet was going to go. "How do you know?!" I asked my dad whenever he said "That's going to be a bedroom" or "That's the bathroom." So he'd point out the plumbing and doors and I was totally amazed.
Eventually, they put all the walls on and started locking the doors, and I had to be content with staring at it while the rest of the house was built. Soon, it was finished and our new neighbors moved in. It was very fortunate that they happened to have a kid almost exactly my age -- Meghan, who was born 12 days before I was. I was just at that age where I needed a best friend (5 or 6), and soon Meghan and I were constantly together. Meghan was the oldest of 3 -- I remember when the youngest kid, Seth, was born.
Anyway, back to my other childhood passion -- Nintendo. Somehow, Meghan (I think it was her dad's idea) got a Nintendo as soon it was out. We quickly figured out that if you held the gun riiiight up to the TV screen, you could kill ALL the ducks in Duck Hunt. (My childhood was perpetuated with "Don't sit so close to the screen! You'll ruin the screen/your eyes/the Nintendo!") Of course, after playing it so often at Meghan's house, I knew what my must-have gift was that Christmas. I had to have that Nintendo.
I remember that Christmas quite vividly. My parents aren't religious, so Christmas never held more significance to me than "presents." That morning (knowing I was going to get a Nintendo, as it was the only thing I really wanted), I ran downstairs, found the biggest box (a Nintendo had to be in a huge box, right? After all, it came with that big gun for Duck Hunt.) I opened it...and found a pair of snow pants and a jacket! "Nooooo!!!" I howled. (My mom looked like she didn't know whether to laugh or cry.) Furious at this "trick" that had been played on me, I lunged into the second largest box... and found my Nintendo, complete with Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt.
I've been a video game junkie ever since, and I still have that Nintendo. If you look hard enough around my parents' attic, you'll probably even find that gun. My poor mother. I think she thought I was going to be blind before I turned 20...
So that's one of my childhood stories. I guess I had a few.