We used to throw our Barbies out the window — then we’d put them on neat little piles of sticks — in the back yard — and burn them. They were witches–bad witches. We weren’t exactly the good witches — putting nails and sometimes glass in mud pies and throwing them at that ugly boy — the one everyone called Little Man. His real name was Howard. Such seemingly shy little girls who anxiously tore up napkins in restaurants but then foolishly risked life and limb swinging around the flag pole — after school — going higher and higher and higher—trying to outdo each other– while waiting for our dad to pick us up. He was always late. But he brought cookies or churros or that Chinese ginger-sesame candy he’d get from — I’m not even sure where.
Our dad kept a journal. I only started reading it after he died. I still look at it from time to time. His handwriting was always nice — memorable — beautiful — elegant, really. Took my twin sister forever to get his signature down. But once she did — no more after school gym class for us. Until our dad found out– and started picking us up–everyday– after school–for Squash lessons instead.
Our dad’s journal is like a cookbook — richly detailed with the hows and whys and ups and downs of his life. He was the youngest of 4 — a surprise baby — but he felt loved and wanted by the whole family. His mother was 50 when she had him.
Our dad was tall for his age–always looked much older– and was curious about everything— especially this one — worldly girl named Jackie — who lived upstairs. She was 18 and he was 11. Eleven! He would race home — everyday — after school — to meet with Jackie. Upstairs. This went on daily–DAILY–until our dad left home for the Marine Corps at age 21.
No wonder he kept us busy everyday after school!