The Early Years

I was born in Los Angles California. The year was 1953, and my father,who was a veteran of W.W.II, was attending the University of Southern California. He and mom were renting a little place in Pasadena. At the time, in the early '50s it was a really nice area I am told. I also hear that the neighborhood has slipped a bit since then.

Like many veterans, my father was taking advantage of the GI bill to further his education. He was working toward a Doctorate in biochemistry. It was during his time in school that my sister and I were born. We lived in sunny southern Cal for two years, none of which I can remember. (OK, I do remember a couple of scenes, but they don't amount to much.) After all, what do you expect out of a two year old? It was soon after my younger sister was born that we moved to the East coast..

After dad finished the degree and got out of school, myself, my parents, and my then infant sister moved to the East coast, where my father had obtained a job with the Food and Drug Administration. By the way, my father worked his butt off. I tend to get a bit irate when people talk about how lazy government workers are. Government workers are like other people. Some are lazy, some work hard. My father was one of the hard working ones.

Both of my parents were born and raised in New York City, and for them returning to the east coast was a move closer to home and family. I have often wondered about the person I might have become had we stayed in California. We lived in Alexandria Virginia for about six months, and then moved to the house in which I grew up, a three bedroom split level in the suburban community of Silver Spring Maryland.

The move was evidently something of a shock to me. The weather was different, the people were different, and I was beginning to look harder at the world around me. Perhaps this was aggravated by the fact that I was a very active kid. I was always running into things and splitting my head! I have had a lot of stitches. Hey! My hair covers them all now! You would never know.....

The new house was, at the time, on the very edge of the suburbs, with farmland at the end of the block I lived on. I got to play in the woods a lot as a kid. It does not take much woods to fascinate a three year old, but I learned to love the green spaces in which I played and hid. To this day I pity children who grow up in urbanized environments where they never get a chance to see nature. Some of my best times as a child were spent walking in the woods, making tree forts, or simply exploring. Pushing the boundaries of the known just to see what was beyond.

Sad to say, the encroachment of civilization nibbled away at, and finally destroyed, the sylvan environment that I so treasured. The constant construction in the area, although furnishing me with plenty of lumber and nails for the many forts myself and my companions build in the dwindling woods, finally gobbled up my playgrounds. As a result, I have harbored a lasting antipathy for real estate developers! In between escapes into the woods, I did all the regular kid things. That is, I went to school and avoided school. Learned to play with the other kids, learned to fight with other kids. Got into trouble, got out of trouble. You know the drill.

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