Puzzle Pieces – The Beginning of my Wand’rings

Everyone has a beginning. Mine started on November 5, 1969 (earlier if you count gestation, I like to think that I was conceived around the time of Woodstock but who knows. I somehow doubt my mother and father were there anyway, but it’s a dream I’ve always nurtured, for good or for bad.)

There is no baby book, telling me what my first words were, when my first tooth came in, or when I took my first step. There are only faint memories that I’ve kept and a few stories I was told, a handful of baby pictures, and my brother, who is almost 7 years my senior.

My mother died in an accident when I was not even two years old. I have no recollection of her, at all.

My father was called Nick, but his real name was Joseph. I have vague memories of him – a cowboy hat, a guitar, a harsh voice commanding “Get back in that room!”
My oldest brother, Ronnie, was really a stranger to me. I don’t remember him at all from the early days – he was my half brother and went to live with his father (Rhode Island? New Hampshire? Connecticut? I can’t remember…) after our mother died. My most vivid early memories are of my other brother Michael, and my grandfather, Morfar.

A tricycle, a big farm house with huge rooms and many doors…I’m sitting on the seat and Michael is standing on the back, using the trike like it’s a scooter, and we’re flying through the rooms. I am happy. I see sunlight shining on the linoleum that looks like fake pebbles…I hear Morfar yelling “Michael! Michael!” I can’t see Michael, but I know he’s there. We are laughing….

We’re walking down the road (called The Towpath) to a cottage belonging to the Ellingsens. We’re walking there, and I don’t know why, the sunlight on the pavement is hot; I remember someone giving me a slice of bread. It is soft, and I love the yeasty smell….

Morfar is making dinner, I guess. I remember asking for seashells, and I can hear Morfar saying “Here are your seashells.” I’ve always loved shell shaped pasta. I see the sunlight shining on the little green glass pitcher Morfar kept the thermometer in – it’s on a high shelf by the kitchen sink….

There’s a swinging wooden footbridge across the river – it’s the Lackawaxen River, but I can’t say that. For years, all I could manage was Ax-a-waxen. We are going across the bridge, Michael and me, to see “the hippies,” named Don and Donna. I think we’re supposed to tell our father to come home to supper. Don says “Can we come?” and I remember saying “NO!” and Don, or possibly Donna, says “Why not?” and I say “Because we don’t have enough chairs!” This is funny, everyone laughs….

I remember having a splinter in my foot – we went barefoot to see the hippies – that’s only appropriate, I guess. I know my father took it out, because years later I remember talking to Michael about it, and he said that “Dad” took it out with a needle. I don’t remember it – I wish I did. It would be the one loving thing, perhaps, that I could recall about my father, but alas, he is just a faceless man with a cowboy hat, a guitar, and a harsh voice….

Michael, I want you to push me…push me Michael…push me…the sunlight is dancing on the floor…push me…

Picture Courtesy of
Sigma, on Flickr
Creative Commons 


More of my Puzzle Pieces Journey, if interested: Click Here


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