Let’s start sort-of at the beginning…
One of my clearest memories from my youth is when I was almost 3 years old. I was wearing nothing but underwear and a green blanket. We were in some strange man’s house and that same strange man had a strange mustache. Back then I didn’t know what that mustache was called, but now I know it is referred to as a Foo Man Chu. This new place was strange and I remember being scared and so I stayed hidden under my green security blanket.
Being so little I didn’t understand quantam physics, Euclidean Geometry, the 4 laws of thermodynamics or divorce. I didn’t know why my mom had taken me to this man’s house, I don’t even remember my sister’s being with me, but there we were.
The house was nice and it was located in The Colony, a small suburb about 20 miles north of Dallas. The Colony was filled with brick Fox and Jacob’s homes and it was a nice quiet area where I learned to ride a bike and I swam in an old creek that was filled with a broke down Volkswagen Beetle and rusty washing machine. The Colony was where I met my first girlfriend, Suzanne, and where I learned that running around naked in the sprinker with your girlfriend, although awesomely fun, is not allowed. I also learned to use the word semod as in “We made 5 dollars and semod cents.” My sisters and our friends had a yard sale and I distinctly remember loving the word “semod” even though now I realize it isn’t a word at all. Life on Squirres drive was great, but for some reason we had to move.
We left The Colony and moved into a trailer park and I am not sure what city it was located in. It was an “upscale” mobile home community that only allowed you to have 2 children. (Isn’t that odd?) I don’t remember much about life at this location due mostly to the fact that we weren’t there long. I remember one day my sister Precious standing on the counter to get some food out, I think we were making macaroni and cheese, and Precious hit her head on the smoke alarm and it went off. We panicked. Our parents told us “DO NOT GO OUTSIDE FOR ANY REASON!” So we were vexed. We didn’t know if we should run for help or stay inside. Finally, we ran down the street to my step-sister’s house and I don’t remember what happened next – except we got evicted shortly after this incident. We think our neighbor ratted on us for having too many kids.
From there we moved into an apartment complex in Dallas off of Josey and Northaven drive. This apartment complex is where I met girlfriends Melissa and Cammy, it is also where I learned that sometimes grown men like to show you their private parts while you are picking up cans to make money so you can go roller skating. Sickos. It happened on 3 or 4 different occasions and so our parents decided to move us to the country. Like the Beverly Hillbillies we loaded up the truck, but instead of going to Beverly Hills, we went to Sanger, Texas.
Sanger is a small town and it boasted a grocery store, a gas station, a Dairy Queen and about 2,000 people back in 1983. If you know that I was born in 1975 then you can mathematically deduce that all the previous moving that we did was done in the first 8 years of my life.
Where our land was located in Sanger there was no trash pick up and no sewer system. My parents bought a Mobile Home and we moved out into the country and my dad planned to build our septic tank himself and he had a plan for how to dispose of the trash as well.
We had running water and so my dad setup the plumbing so that the “gray” water ran from a pvc pipe to the creek next to our property. However, we couldn’t use the toilets and so we had to tape trash bags into the toilts and use them and then we took the bags and put them into a large hole in the back yard and burned them. It was our own version of a mini-landfill. Dad had a bull-dozer come out and dig this big deep hole and we would fill it with trash and then set it on fire. I don’t remember how long it took us to build the septic system, but I remember digging the hole with my dad in the ground and then pouring the concrete flour and then bricking the sides of the hole with bricks. I helped carry the bricks to him and I even learned how to mortar. When you build a septic system you have to have lines that run throughout the property for drainage and those, thank God, my dad paid someone to come out and build.
We lived in this trailer for 3 or 4 years and during this time I remember it was a nightmare. The country is full of mice and when you are the first inhabitants in a huge field then you are destined to get a lot of mice in your house as well as other insects and vermin. I could tell you some stories, but I don’t want to make your skin crawl and so I will leave out the gory details.
We sold this Mobile home and moved into a paid for smaller home and I slept in the living room of this mobile home until it burnt down in 1990. Lightning struck our house and caught it on fire and it burned up in about 14 minutes. We had no insurance, but we had a lot of friends in the community and between them and the Red Cross we got by.
After that we moved into another Mobile Home in Sanger and I lived there until I was 23. I’ve only been out on my own for 7 years, but it seems like so much longer. As I was writing this I realized that wow, it sounds like we were so poor, but I never thought of us as poor growing up. We were always busy doing church stuff. My parents were youth pastors and they spent most of their money on other people that needed it more than us. I guess if you look back, in things we were indeed poor, but we were rich when it came to love.
I guess when you look at us we are still a little bit country, but that’s alright with us, we like it that way.