Although my memoir is called Home Free: Adventures of a Child of the Sixties, my early formative years were really the fifties. Actually, I believe I remember seeing this on our first TV, when my mother and I lived in a boarding house on West 91st Street in Manhattan:
That was taken on Nov. 3, 1948, five days before my third birthday. Of course, studies show how malleable memory can be.
In my many fruitful years of therapy, I’ve examined even earlier memories. And, in Chapter 16 of Home Free, you can read about the time in 1975 when, late one night, as I lay in bed—stoned—I seemed to re-experience myself as an infant, heartbroken, looking out through the bars of my crib.
My Eisenhower years are all too clear, complete with elementary school drills at P.S. 9, where we were taught to dive beneath our desks in case of nuclear attack.
I was at Carthay Circle Elementary school in LA when the words “under God” were inserted into the United States Pledge of Allegiance.
In our fifth grade classroom, we sat in clusters of four connected desks, with bins under the hinged wooden desktops for storing your books. Ever precocious, I used to finish my assignments before my classmates and spend the extra time each day writing a serialized story about an Inca prince. In LA at that time, history was taught starting with the city (LA was first a pueblo); then California, the U.S. and so on. In spring, 1956, we were studying Peru, so my tale was about the young Sapa Inca and his trials, especially having to walk so many miles through the mountains to see his girlfriend. During free periods, I’d read this work to the three girls who sat around me and was thrilled when they’d beg to hear the next installment.
I was recently asked “Why do you write?” My answer: I write to share the stories of my life. To me, the amazing diversity of experiences I’ve had speaks of the infinitely creative and mysterious power that seekers have pursued throughout the ages. I fondly hope my readers will feel some of the gratitude and wonder these events inspire in me. And, as a former acting student, I love to entertain people: I want to provide them with a fun, even fascinating, ride.
Home Free: Adventures of a Child of the Sixties will be published on
May 16, 2017.
2 thoughts on “Fifties Childhood”
Really lovely and strong
Thank you, Gail!