there was a haunted house every halloween in a small building behind the pool. i never went inside. my brothers (matt and todd) always did. one year todd told me that amid the cheap party store horrors showcased in the haunted house was a real human heart that a particularly ghoulish doctor would thurst in your face. he claimed he saw hospital workers packing it in a cooler at closing time. i completely believed him, and i’ve had an aversion to haunted houses ever since. ironically, my brother is now a regular participant in the haunted house run my morris costumes in charlotte. this particular haunted house features a “surgery'” room.
we used to go fishing in the large pond behind our house. i don’t remember catching a fish. i do remember catching many snapping turtles. while our puny fishing hooks usually disappeared into the crusty musty jaws of the turtles, i always secretly hoped it hurt them a little. they were known to pull mallard ducklings underwater by the legs.
my best friend, meghan, lived across the street. one afternoon i split my knee open on her front porch after saying goodbye for the afternoon. despite the abundance of blood and excessive hollering, her mother didn’t reopen the door. i still have a scar.
our next door neighbors once put a dead snake on our grill to scare my mom.
i won the class spelling bee in second grade at saint bernard’s with the word “people.” i was eliminated in the school-wide spelling bee with the word “gaseous,” a word i still have trouble spelling.
my mom worked at a store called the paper chase, which was in a strip mall next to the entrance of our neighborhood. i have a newspaper clipping of me and my mom at the store. i’m wearing a red dress she made for me and clutching a gigantic white stuffed bear. i have no idea what the story was about.
i used to wear those white ankle socks with pom poms on the back of the heel. when i fed the ducks at the pond, they thought the poofs on my socks were bread. they would bite my ankles all the way up the hill.
franklin, tennesse was the site of one of the bloodiest battles in the civil war. as a second grader, i did not care. i did think it was really cool that there was a framed bullet in mcdonalds.