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Original Topic for Today

I was originally going to talk about two things that I had forgotten I did as a child that make me happy to think about now. (And Lord only knows how badly I need a happy thought.)

First, when I was a kid, I used to lick batteries. Y'know the 9-volt ones that have both ends (+ and -) on one side. I became quite a connoiseur. Actually, they're best if they're used, not new, because the old ones give you more of a flavor than a shock. I had this stuffed Ewok whose eyes would flash (they were little lightbulbs) when you turned off the light (or held him to your body). He used a single 9-volt battery. It was hidden in a compartment in his back, under his hoodie. So at night I would take out the battery ('cuz he also went, "Weeee, dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee, deeeeeheeheeheeheeheeeeee" whenever his eyes flashed and it bugged the shit out of me as a child) and lick it. So that's childhood happy memory/disturbing quirk number one.

The second thing is that we had a hackberry tree in our backyard whose growth had been stunted when I assume it had been struck by lightning. When I was in 3rd grade, about 8 or 9 years old, I was just tall enough to climb up and sit in its lowest branches. The trunk was more or less straight and the branches splayed out from the top of the trunk and made a nice hammock-seat-kinda place to sit. One day--I had borrowed a book from school--I sat up there and read an illustrated children's book about Joan of Arc and the story made me positively ill. The part where they burn her at the end upset me so badly that I left the book in the tree. Of course--this is my luck we're talking about--it POURED the rain that night and there was an AWFUL storm and there was lightning and thunder and flooding and I couldn't go back outside and get the book (besides the fact that I had totally forgotten about it). I was so distraught when I remembered the book the next day (it was more or less destroyed in the storm--the pages could hardly be pulled apart) that I couldn't bring myself to return it, even though I hadn't taken it with anyone's knowledge. So I forgot about the book for a year, then another year, and so on, until I finally remembered and decided to turn it back in when I was in 7th grade. But there was no excuse for me to be near the 3rd grade classrooms, so I just left it on the last day of school in my 7th grade English teacher's (Ms. Straughan's) room. Who knows what happened to it. But the sitting in the tree and reading all alone until dark was one of the happiest memories of my otherwise scarring and unhappy childhood.

Just thought I'd share....before I forget again.

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September 2006
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