Sunday, November 5, 2023
I do not remember much from my childhood from before I was a teen, and even what I do remember is generally not very specific. But every now and then, something will open some floodgate and memories will come rushing in. Usually, that something is completely random, such as a random video about rock power ballads which didn't include the Kiss song "Beth," which I suspect should top everyone's list of hard rock ballads if they're over a certain age. And since the person posting the videos invited comments, I posted that this would be number one on my list, and the floodgates opened. Suddenly, I was transported to Lehigh Acres, Florida, and I was eight years old. I only lived there for just under two years, but I had a small group of friends. James, Jay, Sean and I were pretty inseperable for the short time I knew them. We were in one of their homes, I can't remember which, and they had just gotten Kiss - Alive II. My dad, who I lived with at the time, and his various wives had always had country music on the radio, so hard rock was entirely new to me. And I fell in love with it right away. I was too young to really understand most of they lyrics, but I knew I liked the sound of it, and "Beth" just oozed melancholy to eight-year-old me. And I loved it, too. But the memories didn't stop there. I remember we moved to Florida with my dad's third wife, but she wasn't in the picture very long after the move. But I also don't remember my dad being around much, either. Just me and my two sisters most of the time, and us hanging out with our various friends. I remember in the winter of fourth grade, my class were all required to take either band or orchestra. If you took band, you had to buy or rent your instrument from a music store, and my family was way too poor for that, so that left orchestra. The school had a couple of violins, cellos, and upright basses which could be loaned to students, and a couple of girls got the violins. I was way too short to handle an upright bass, so that left cello. So I learned to read sheet music, and the first stringed instrument that I learned was cello. I don't remember being particularly good at it, but I do remember practicing it, and I remember having to lug that thing back and forth between the school bus stop and my house, which was not an easy task for such a little guy. Poor eight-year-old me would have been able to carry a violin much more easily ;) I don't remember much about my time in Florida other than that, and an aligator walking into our kitchen while my older sister was preparing dinner once. Sometime during the fifth grade, my sisters decided they wanted to move back to Ohio to live with my mom, who had remarried by then, and my dad gave me the choice of going with them or staying with him. I don't know if he would have honored my choice if I had chosen to stay with him, but they were my sisters. What kind of choice did a 9-year old really have? I think I saw my father one time after we moved back in with my mom and step-dad, when I was maybe 15 or 16. He wanted to give me advise about some personal stuff one of my cousins had told him I was going through, and I wanted absolutely nothing to do with him at that point. I no longer even resent the man. I just don't know him, so don't really have any feelings at all at this point. I do know he remarried yet again, and had another family. So I have two half-sisters and a half-brother whom I've never met.