My dad was in the Marine Corps after high school. He graduated in 1955, he and Mom were married in ’57 after she graduated and they were off to southern California; boot camp, Camp Pendleton – home of Gomer Pyle.
Well, ok, so Gomer was filmed in Desilu and Paramount Studios, but it was supposed to be Pendleton in the show.
I was born in Oceanside, California and my parents lived in an apartment close to the pier in San Clemente, home of Richard Nixon. That they soon moved to Fairfield, Ohio after Dad got out of the Marines is a minor shock to me now but had they not, everything in my life would be totally different – everything. Likely I would be writing stories today about surfing and getting attacked by sharks instead of getting hit by school buses.
I was born with what is called a minor inguinal hernia (sounds like I born with reptilian features, doesn’t it). Girl and boy fetuses both have an inguinal canal. For boys it is the area just above the scrotum. The testicles develop in the abdomen and then travel down through the inguinal canal. Soon after the baby is born, the canal closes, preventing the testicles from moving back up into the abdomen. If the canal doesn’t close off properly, a small section of the intestine can move into the opening, causing a hernia. Typically it can be noticed as a small bulge on the skin.
I have only two memories of California. One is a brief one of being surrounded by a bunch of birds.
My mom told me that was at San Juan Capistrano. The other is a memory of being in a hospital room in a crib with 5 other cribs in the same room. I was sure I had just been born. The kid in the crib right across from me would stand up and hang on the railing for a long time. I imagine that today he’s a prison stoolie. This is all I remember of monkey boy. The last memory I have of ‘my birth’ is that of seeing a man, (doctor I presume), walking in with my mom and they had some kind of toy with them, something I sat on, like maybe a wooden horse.
For many years I kept this memory all to myself, thinking it was a memory of being born. I think I was perhaps 7 or 8 when I finally asked my mom if I was in the hospital for anything when I was young. She was surprised at the question. “Do you remember being in the hospital? You were only two. Yes, you had a hernia surgery”. And that’s when my dad chimed in to tell me I sat on a tricycle without a seat – that’s how I got the hernia.
I believed the tricycle seat story for a long time. I believe I was 13 or 14 before I brought the topic up again and finally learned the truth. I wrote this story merely to document my earliest memory from childhood, but I also wanted to share a very important lesson I learned from this episode in my life. I learned that it could be funny as Hell to play a 10 year prank on my kids.
For proof, please branch on over to this joke played on our youngest – AD – After Dinosaurs, there were Jackalopes & Christmas Surprise
Feel free to explore the other stories in this month’s memory hop