Growing Up

If I had to classify my childhood using one word, it sure as heck wouldn’t be “normal.” I think I’d have to go with something like “unique,” “bizarre” or “flippin’ weird.”

Sure, most people, if not everyone, would describe their wonder years using those phrases, and that’s okay. But how many people can count Budweiser as one of their first words?

I thought so.

Yes, one of my first words was Budweiser. No, neither of my parents were alcoholics. I was, however, raised with the aid of television. My other first words probably included “Jack Daniels;” “Nanoo, nanoo” (God, I hate that show) and “Marlboro.”

I was an odd child.

Emphasizing my unique vocabulary, I was a talker. It did not matter if you were a perfect stranger. If I ran into someone, I would talk his/her ear completely off, not even giving him/her the leeway necessary to make it a full-fledged conversation. My mom would stand back and laugh as I verbally assaulted whoever I came across with, “Hi, my name is Mindy,” then break into my entire life’s story. Fifteen minutes later, after the person’s ears had melted off his/her face, my mom would drag me off to the car, my mouth still flying, not wanting to finish my tale until I was completely spent.

That earned me the nickname Motor Mouth Mindy, which I still am called from time to time

In addition to sporting a vocabulary that would make parents cringe and talking non-stop, I was kind enough to save Mom the effort of teaching me how to read. Mom thought I was faking it when I read an entire billboard for McDonalds at the age of three. Surely, I had to have memorized it after someone read it to me. To prove her wrong, I then began reading other items like road signs, drive-through menus or grocery lists.

I loved to read too. I read anything I could grab. In school I’d race through class work so I could grab whatever literary entertainment I could find and dive in. I prayed for rain so I could read through recess. Once, in first grade, I even went as far as forging a letter from my Mom so that I could stay inside and read. Fortunately, Mrs. Hiles, the greatest first grade teacher in the history of the world,┬ádidn’t get to read my horrible attempt at cursive as God decided a little rain was necessary, and I got my wish, without having to resort to petty fraud.

My childhood memories run the gamut from joyous (running through my great aunt’s house shouting, “It’s a boy” at Allen’s birth) to sad (watching my great grandfather die of a heart attack when I was three) and from silly (like the time when as an infant Allen gave me a bloody nose by sticking his finger in it) to the truly bizarre (when I went fishing using a bamboo rod the first time, which is a story that I shall share soon). But I wouldn’t trade any of those interesting events for all the money in the world. Without them, I wouldn’t be the goofy oddball y’all know and love.