[NetBehaviour] When I was young

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Thu Mar 24 17:26:23 CET 2022

When I was young


I remember my father coming home from wwii, he brought two
abacuses and some children's book, all Japanese, I had them for
years, they disappeared, I was most likely 2 or 3. But I

When we moved there was a green bed-table at the head, I had
photographs of Anne Frank and a hydrogen bomb explosion
underneath the glass. Later I had a signed photograph of Milton
Eisenhower, we were in Washington DC at a restaurant and I saw
someone who looked important. I walked up and asked for his
autograph. He said do you know who I am, I said no, but you look
important. He said he was the President's brother.

I wrote a paper in highschool or gradeschool? on the Miners'
strike of 1902 and won an award for the best essay from the
Historical Society. I was proud of that.

I listened constantly to shortwave and took dictation down
around the Hungarian Revolution, I was 12 or 13. I typed
hundreds of pages and read everything I could.

My father yelled at me constantly, when he came home I was in
the way. I'm sure of that. Mostly what I remember was temper. He
never hit me but he made sure I had no place in the family. I
was damaged by that. I never learned how to behave properly but
learned how to avoid behaving. There were other things, more
indistinct memories, involving a woman taking care of me, but
I'm not certain.

At overnight camp I was called in by the head who told me I
moved to fast, I'd be dead by 25. I gave the weather forecast
daily to everyone, was an early observer of a comet, had a rock

In my bedroom I had pictures of trees, I had joined the American
Forestry Association. I also had a collection of perhaps 700
fossils which I gave to the Historical Society; these were lost
in the 1972 flood.

I thought about suicide a lot. I never fit in anywhere; I still
don't. I lived increasingly in my head, my mother wanted to take
me to a psychiatrist, I stopped talking about that.

I had a cat, Poochie, most of my early life; she died when I was
in Israel for a summer, my parents didn't tell me until I
returned. My grandfather on my father's side died as well and
again I didn't hear until I returned.

I remember a Governor's council on youth, something like that, I
spoke at it. I had discovered smoking, and had a pipe with me. I
was seated at a long table waiting to speak. 1. I made smoke
clouds. 2. I accidently set the ashtray on fire.

Athletics terrified me; I would stay outside the field fence and
throw footballs and baseballs that went over it, back to the
players. I found a lantern there; it burned oil I think. We used
it during a bad hurricane that came through the area.

Every day I read the mine schedules and news in the morning
paper. It was a life I couldn't imagine. As Jews, we were
isolated; at least I was.

My father, on the same trip to Washington, took me to the
government printing office bookstore. I purchased two volumes on
the Nuremberg War Trials, the Medical Trials. Was was detailed,
in text and photograph, was, and still is, inconceivable to me.
The books have haunted me all my life.

I cried constantly and felt and still feel damaged. I passed a
novice shortwave radio amateur's license, but was too scared to
contact anyone. I joined a ham radio club, and remember
fidgeting outside the building and was told to stop it.

I felt close to my maternal grandfather who died as a result of
an auto accident when I was around 13; I had to be carried out
of the temple, overcome with grief, at the funeral.

There were monsters under the bed.

There was no place for me. I felt haunted. I came out bad,
skitterish. I made and make skitterish things. I still can't
sit still I was always told to sit still. My grades were really

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