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Intimations of Immortality

60s

Recollections of Early Childhood (after Wordsworth)

— • —
My father fainted when the doctor began stitching up my tongue. I was four.

— • —
I remember lying on the grass one summer day, watching the clouds drift into shapes, and seeing this huge Chinese head lean over the edge of a cloud and look directly down at me. We looked at each other for . . . minutes . . . hours . . . days?

— • —
When you’re five and it’s cold and Christmas Eve and you’re driving to your grandparent’s house—the moon following beside your car over the frozen wheat fields of the Idaho panhandle is such magic that you try to capture it in poem for years and years and cannot ever quite.

— • —
My father took me rock climbing with his buddies. They had a rule: If you stepped on the rope, you got spit on. That day, I was wearing a light-blue short-sleeved Idaho Vandals sweatshirt. I was 7.

— • —
In my 30s, I was putting together a book of my paternal grandfather’s memoirs for him to give to the family. I was stunned that it taken me so long to realize that he was actually horrible, insecure little prick.

— • —
My uncle, when he was a teenager,  got into a fistfight with my grandfather. I often weigh this against my own experience of not having thrown a punch at my father.

— • —
I started walking at nine months—which I’m sure was a nuisance to my eighteen-year old parents. I got my first stitches shortly thereafter—it involved a vase at their friend’s house and I got them just above my left eye.

— • —
When my paternal grandfather found out that his son had impregnated my mother—both were 17—he shamed my father so hugely and so completely, I think he never recovered. I heard this story for the first time at my father’s funeral.

— • —
My family story is a train-wreck occurring for generations over decades. Did I jump off in time?

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When I was four, my mom and my aunts took me to a drive-in movie. I was supposed to sleep in back. I did not. The movie: Rosemary’s Baby.

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I remember very vividly scraping the living bejesus out of both knees at the age of five, while riding a pedal fire-engine at a friend’s house.

— • —
When I was five, my mom would put me on the bus in Moscow, Idaho and my aunts would pick me up in Lewiston.

— • —
I would spend weeks of summer at my grandparents house—the single A night baseball games were well-attended, totally electric, and it was the best temperature of the day.

— • —
Best summer memory of my maternal grandfather: going out at night with flashlights to catch earthworms in the flowerbeds we had watered before dark. Honorable mention: Driving the golf cart at the country club and bowling at the alley he owned.

— • —
My grandmother tried to teach me how to whistle with a blade of grass (I still cannot do it, alas).

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When I was very young, I spent a lot of time in Lewiston with my Grandmother. Those moments were totally lived in the present. I wish I remembered more. I think my mind has become too organized by time since then. But I still have these memories of walking to the store to buy licorice and mountain dew (back when the bottle had hillbillies on it).

— • —
I have a very distinct visual memory of touching a hot stove burner the first time. It was totally a science experiment. Lesson learned.

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When I was six, I dropped a rock over the fence onto my friend Bryce’s head. It was also a science experiment. I am stunned over my lack of regret at the time.

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When I was nine, and at school, someone entered our house—he didn’t take anything but he did pee on the floor.

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In second grade, I told Tami that she was my favorite girl. She proceeded to march me around to her friends to have me repeat it. Lesson learned.

— • —
In second grade, at recess, I found myself surrounded by 4 or 5 girls. Lisa Sanders kissed me. I had a crush on her for years after that. Maybe even still.

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My grandmother kept a stash of JFK 50-cent pieces in the freezer. She gave them to me on my eleventh birthday so I could buy a 10-speed.

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It took me ten times trying to pass beginner swim lessons at Mission Pool in Spokane.

— • —
Elementary and Junior High Crushes: Peggy, Tami, Lisa, Shari, Denise, Joette, Debbie, Cindy, Teri, Yvette, Debbie, Suzy, Tari, Annette, Donna, Wendy, Anne, Sue, and JoAnne.

— • —
In elementary school, I ran home from the bus stop everyday one year. I cannot remember why.

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In elementary and junior high school, the male teachers had hack paddles. Some of them lovingly carved in the school’s shop to leave special marks—initials in many cases— on young boy’s asses.

— • —
In sixth grade, I was often found sitting in the hall for being a smartass. I know, big surprise. I always just avoided the hack-paddle.

— • —
In ninth grade, I was 5’2” and weighed 100 pounds at the first of football season. I weighed 92 by the end of it.

— • —
To hell with the time-space continuum—if I could go back in time I’d beat the shit out of at least 9 people, including my father and several teachers.

— • —
Fights were held after school at the pump house. The fierce recess passion had usually died off by then, but word had gotten around, it’d became a spectator sport, and the show must go on.

— • —
My brother launched a perfect toss of the bat from home plate toward first base where I stood after an easy out. The bat spun in slow motion like the bone tossed into the air in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The cut that followed was not as famous as Kubrick’s.

— • —
You cannot line-item veto shit from your past. Alas.

 

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Scott Taylor

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