They don’t heat the outhouse.
They don’t heat the outhouse.
7 November 2017
I remember 01.03
I remember the old station wagon. It was blue. It was a Ford. We bought it at Drew Ford in La Mesa, at their old dealership in downtown La Mesa. I mean my father and mother bought it, but I say we bought it, and include my baby brother and myself, because we all went to the old Drew Ford dealership on the pointed corner of La Mesa Boulevard, near where you can come down a short block from Lemon Avenue up on the hill, yes, before they moved over to their new place next to the freeway that was soon named Interstate Eight, yes.
We bought it, I am fairly sure I remember, after my brother was born, probably even after we moved, but I remember driving it downtown into San Diego one morning to take the diaper bag to the diaper washing service. I was lounging in the back of the station wagon, reading a book, and I got carsick from reading and moving around and smelling the dirty diapers.
I think I remember we were driving that car a couple years later, maybe only one or two, when we took that trip north in the springtime because my Dad had been advised by his doctor to take some time off and get out and have a vacation, if I remember the story rightly, it was his bronchitis that had been so bad. He smoked, you know, up until the last months of his life.
It is hard for me to remember he was only fifty-six when he died in the summer of 1977. That would have been maybe fifteen years after we took that trip north. I remember how we drove through Los Angeles. For some reason, maybe it was our “new” old car, the station wagon, that makes me remember looking at the traffic on the Hollywood Freeway, or maybe it was the Ventura Freeway, anyway it was most likely old U.S. Highway 101. A couple years later we started taking the Golden State Freeway over the grapevine to take the shorter route north. At that time Interstate Five had not been built up the east side of the Central Valley, and so we followed the older route – already a freeway in some places – old U.S. Highway 99 through Bakersfield and Fresno and Merced.
2017 November 6, 2017
I remember 01.02
I remember when I knew how to pedal a bicycle. A bike. I remember when paper was what I threw at the neighbors’ houses, down the street and around the hillside corner, where the trees were going to die, soon, from too many septic tanks and rotten roots, underground I remember how I begged my father every Sunday morning to help me to drive me around my paper route, six days a week in the afternoon on my bicycle and then one morning, Sunday, before dawn.
We went up to the top of the mountain to see the comet, one of those mornings. I remember it was like a long searchlight against the dawn, a white pencil-beam of light pointing away from the Sun, too bright, too bright, my gravity bends away and I flee this memory even as I drink it down, sweet on my tongue, bitter in my stomach, always reading the Bible as if any book could explain what I feel or why my crotch itched for sex, hungry, desperate desire to fuck.
No. I remember.
Thank you for being alive.
Yes. I remember.
2017 November 5
I remember when I said I remember. It was an hour ago, thinking I should write this about something I remember. I remember I said I remember only a few seconds ago, in my mind, when I wrote it. I remember. Yes.
I remember looking out the window. There were trees and bushes and dirt and clouds in the sky, and then sunlight shining over the hills. We were moving. It was a moving window. It was a car. I remember.
I remember sometimes I look for water. I looked for water. My brother was in the back seat of the car with me, looking for water. He was one year old, maybe almost two, or maybe only eighteen months.
I remember when my brother was eighteen months old. I remember telling people he was eighteen months old. I was nine. We had lived in our new house for more than a year.
I remember we moved, on January 31, 1959, when he was four months and fifteen days old. I remember I was not there on the day we moved. For some reason which I do not completely understand, I went with family friends to Disneyland on that day. I remember that with a strange feeling in my gut. Almost guilt, almost pleasure, almost mixed up and half-forgotten. I remember it, but I don’t know if it is true anymore. I remember how I used to remember this fact with strange feelings. Why did they send me to Disneyland? Or did they send me? Were the Black family going there anyway?
I don’t remember if my baby brother went with us that day, but I think not.
I would ask my mother, but she does not remember things like that anymore. I don’t know if she ever did know. I don’t remember.
I suppose my parents hired movers, but I don’t remember that very clearly.
I remember my father moved his boat into the front yard. He was building a small sailboat. I remember the day we launched it. He launched it. We used to have a home movie of that, somewhere. Maybe it is in a box in the closet. Or maybe not.