Thursday, February 19, 2015


MAY 19, 1937

I didn't celebrate my eighth birthday as I had wanted to. We had a fierce apple fight the day before, during which I took a heavy hit near my left eye that developed into a lump like a plum. The doctor assured me that the eye itself had not been endangered, so I could relax on that count, but he warned me against "rough-housing" for a week or so. Now, how can you celebrate an eighth birthday without rough-housing? Then, I had most eagerly looked forward to my visit with Jennifer, the aging ten-year-old who lived next door, whom I liked a lot even though she often acted like a mother, telling me to wash my hair or clean under my fingernails. She had promised to let me see her naked, as a birthday present! In the morning her mother called to say that Jennifer, who had earlier in the week romped in the fields in her bathing suit with her dog Jumpy, had gotten a very serious dose of poison ivy, and was covered from head to toes with calamine lotion. That was definitely something I did not want to see: the blisters and accompanying rash can be quite ugly. (I did, however, have a fleeting idea for our next Halloween!) To ruin the day further, there were reports and rumors of the sudden appearance of snapping turtles in the part of the lake where we were to hold our celebratory games and races. Some old men delighted in telling us what those shelled creatures liked to do to little boys! Since we usually swam au naturel, those events were canceled. It wasn't too bad a day in spite of all this, but I kept expecting more bad news, like hearing that Jumpy had eaten my cake. When that evening we did get around to it, I gave him a good slice of it.

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