Around age ten was when I started having more detailed longer lasting memories, and was about the time my personality underwent change. I was very lucky growing up almost exclusively in under inhabited areas. I only remember one place in the middle of town and the rest were surrounded by woods. I was always outside unsupervised, gallivanting and cavorting amongst the semi-wilds. There were always hills to climb, trees to scale, primitive weapons to construct, secret places to inhabit and other outstanding young lad delights. And I continued to do so right through military basic training where living outside was spoiled for me. But prior to ten years old, not only did I play outside constantly, I also followed in my father footsteps and always participated in team sports. For my age I was tall and did well enough at basketball, but I also participated in other sports. Then, I have no idea what happened ( I remember around this time the German Olympics and the terror attacks, but only recall the thrilling military aspect of the attack rather than being moved as a budding athlete ), but I lost interest in sports almost totally. Perhaps I was never aggressive enough and the older age groups were, and I felt apprehensive. I don’t know. But I turned into a bookworm when I wasn’t out in the woods ( which then on were almost exclusively solo adventures ).
My mum, bless her pea-picking heart, made room in our sad and pathetic budget ( my dad had gone from youth counselor to deputy sheriff and this was prior to civil servant Unionizing- budgets and salaries were small as befitted a Podunk out-in-the-boonies county ) for unlimited Scolastic book purchases through the school ( this was also the time I had my first crush on a teacher- decades later I learned my dad was smitten by the same one, so I imagine she was a hottie as well as sweet to a rapidly introverting kid ). And I also started to “adopt” fellow nerds for friends. You know the ones, the dorks with medical issues no one likes. That went on for a few years until a cool kid picked me for a buddy ( he turned out later to transform into a punker, complete with naked razorblade necklace, and introduced me to The Who, The Sex Pistols and so many others ), and I wasn’t so outside the norm until I went back into my social shell after I discovered Dungeons & Dragons. Anyway, from Lake Tahoe we then moved down to central California. I had been born in Southern Cal, we moved up to the north tip, moved back to outside the Sacramento area, over to Tahoe, and then we dropped back down to the Santa Barbara county small town of Lompoc. Home of the Federal prison, Vandenberg Air Force Base and d at the time before being completely paved over, flower seed capital of the world. This was sixth grade, so I was twelve years old.
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