|Louise, Gerard, Janie, Mother, Toni, Dad and Teddy|
After leaving Sam the Greek's house, we moved to a first floor apartment on the east side of Main Street, a half block south of Sears. It was in a building due for demolition. If you look carefully, you can see the fireplace behind my father where, the mantle has been removed. Anything of any architectural value had been removed when we moved into the building.
It did have an indoor bathroom, so there's that.
It would be an exaggeration to say it was a one-bedroom apartment. What it was, was a living room and a formal dining room, small kitchen and bath. The children slept in two bunkbeds in the "dining room which had an ivy patterned green drape which was drawn at night to give my parents privacy.
They slept in the living room on the folded out couch.
Across the street was a grocery store that had a blinking Betsy Ross Bread sign that we could see through the ivy curtain. There's a posh imported car store there now.
I was seven and this was not a good year for me. I changed elementary schools from Forest to Jefferson where I repeated the first grade. I became obsessed with anxiety about wind. I was afraid of being blown away. Once, when a windstorm came up, Mother and Janie walked to find me clinging to a light pole, afraid of walking home. I would grow anxious when I saw leaves shaking in the tops of trees and go inside to lie down. Opoe didn't live around the corner any more. There were no other children.
Gerard and I used Sears as our playground, where stepping on an escalator was like an amusement park ride. Once they were handing out free popsicles, but the lady wouldn't let me have one, because I had a rash around my mouth, which made it look like I'd just eaten a popsicle. "You can only have one," she said.
This is the year of the famous chick story: Gerard and I were given a dime each and we went off to Sears' Farm Store and bought two chicks. We had a little carton for each fuzzy capon. We were in bliss.
We got home where our mother told us in no uncertain terms that we could not have chicks, and that we were to take them back. I see her pointing an index finger at the door.
The salesman who sold us the chicks denied selling them to us and wouldn't give us our money back, although he took the chicks.
If all this doesn't bring you to tears, then look at the way my mother fixed my hair. Could there be a geekier hairstyle? Did she want me and Janie to fail in life?