I am an only child, and my parents were separated / divorced by the time I was three; my Dad was living in Northern California, and I was in Huntington Beach with my Mom. Every so often I would get put on a plane to visit my Dad. The legal age for a minor to fly alone was four, so I was instructed to “just tell them you’re four if anyone asks how old you are.” Knowing my inability to fib very well, if anyone asked, I probably just told them “I’m four but really I’m only three”…
When I was visiting my Dad in the Bay Area, I would spend a considerable time alone. At least, that’s what I mostly remember. At that time my Dad worked several jobs, among other them woodworking and real estate. He would need to work on a house – I remember sitting outside in the back yard. He would work on a project in his woodshop – I would be in the corner with a pile of small boards, some small nails and a hammer. I remember always being so disappointed at how my own woodworking projects turned out, compared to his. Needless to say I never developed an interest in woodworking.
When we were at his home, on occasion it would be suggested to me that I walk down to the local library and see what was going on. It must have been close by, because I remember walking there by myself. Those trips to the library are the first memories I have of thinking “SO MANY BOOKS, WOOOOO!” I can still see all the colors of the covers, and the texture of the paper. I can still hear the thick pages as I turned them, and the smell of the books. This must have been where it all started – my love for books and writing.
As a kid I was always reading, and always writing stories. Over the years I have stopped and started reading multiple times, and basically stopped writing altogether for even longer. Now both passions are back and I don’t think they’re going anywhere anytime soon…
The library also had some sort of activity program, because one day I returned to my Dad’s home with a prize. At the library, we had cut off the bottom of a paper milk carton, filled it with a little dirt, and planted some kind of seed in it. Oh, the anticipation, what was going to happen! Finally the seed sprouted. What a miracle!
But eventually it would be time to pretend I was four again, and get back onto the plane and go home to Southern California. Someone must have decided that half a milk carton filled with dirt wasn’t the best carry-on luggage for a small child, because I really don’t know what became of my little plant – or what kind of plant it even was.
I’d like to imagine that after I left, my Dad fed and watered that seedling, maybe repotted it once or twice, and when it got big enough, he took it to his garden and planted it there. And maybe that plant is still there today. Maybe it’s a beautiful bush or tree, with lovely, fragrant flowers.
A girl can dream.