Vignettes of a Baby Boomer
Journal Entry #1 Toddler
I venture into the hills behind our California mid-century wooden bungalow on the coast of Santa Barbara. The golden-brown dandelion fuzz crowning my two-year-old head blows in the breeze. I kick off my flower panties and run like the wild horse I imagine I am. I declare then and there that nothing or no one will ever corral me. I am every bit of the nickname my Grandmother Gutierre has given me – The Terrible Miss Bang.
My mother screams my name over and over as she runs back and forth through the hills. I feel badly for her, so I stop and turn around. She coaxes me back with the promise of Animal Crackers and time in front of the television program, The Mickey Mouse Club. My brother, still wearing his black Catholic school corduroy pants and starched white shirt, lays in front of the TV making car noises for his Hot Wheel car.
Our father is on another sales trip and didn’t leave enough grocery money to last the week. Mom is heating up a can of Campbell’s tomato soup and grilling cheese sandwiches for dinner. I am instructed to put on some underwear and a striped sun suit, the kind of one-piece that ties over each shoulder with an elastic waist. I wander out of my room with the shoulder strings hanging, left loose for my mother to tie. I prefer to be naked, but mom says the neighbors judge her harshly when her children run around unclothed.
My brother, Steve, mom, and I huddle together on the couch singing M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E in unison. My mother’s warm arm wrapped around my waist makes me feel safely anchored to my home shore until I’m ready to sail the seven seas of my imagination. Tomorrow is a new day for The Three Mouseketeers.
© 2019 Jeaninne Escallier Kato