I watched a recent program about examining slides made of Einstein’s brain. After many years a scientist realized that his brain appeared much younger than his age had been at the time of his death. I would be curious to know what my brain looks like, as I have always been told that I remember everything (in addition to connecting odd bits of information). My brother referred to me growing up as a “veritable font of useless information” which is to say that in almost any situation or on any topic I can find some relationship, connection, odd fact or memory. For example:
1. My Grandpa typically had a packed lunch each day that contained a box of Cracker Jacks. The dashboard of his work (electrician) van was covered in prizes.
2. The B-side of The Monkee’s Daydream Believer was my favorite song as a kid, titled Going Down it is likely the best piece of music the group ever produced, Mickey was the lead singer on it. It appeared in an episode of Breaking Bad.
3. My first pet was a green parakeet that after much deliberation I named Dicky because I had an uncle Dick on each side of the family.
4. The first line I ever memorized was for a play in perhaps 5th grade that was performed in front of the classroom, where the scenery was drawn on the black board. “Why has the king summoned us to the market place today?”
5. Knocking over my glass of milk at the dinner table was a near nightly event for me growing up.
6. Linden Hills park did not have a true gym in it but did sponsor basketball teams. Imagine our surprise when we went to play at other park houses and the ball did not go through the hoop when we thew it the same way we tossed it at the X of masking tape during practices at our park house.
7. I learned to print my name because you had to be able to write to sign a library card.
8. I took tap dancing lessens in the basement of a Quaker church where there was an abundance of mattresses stored on end. An older girl told us they were for draft dodgers to sleep on. I had no idea what that meant but thought it seemed like a life long slumber party. It was 1969 and I was in first grade.
9. Where I grew up in Minneapolis the streets were numerical and the avenues alphabetical. I learned the whole world didn’t run that way when I got lost walking home from the skating rink to my cousin’s house in St. Paul.
10. My first visit to the state fair I threw up on my own shoes after coming off a ride that I was not secured in properly. On the bus ride home my friend and I got shoved off the city bus because we were seated on the rear stairs and some commuter sort of pushed us off to exit and let the doors shut. My friends older sister who was chaperoning us got off at the next stop. We were out of money and miles from home. I have loved the fair ever since.
11. The Minnesota Boys State High School Hockey Tournament is my favorite sporting event of the year!
12. I did not pre-register for classes before going to college. I had to register when I arrived with no guidance. This is how I ended up using my PE credits for Elementary Dance Education…my majors were Mass Comm and Speech.
13. The first “name brand fashion” I recall wanting and owning were Jack Purcell sneakers.
14. As a child the majority of gifts for my parents came from the gift shop at Clark Hardware on the next block from my home. I still love the smell of a true hardware store to this day.
15. As a kid there was nothing scarier than having to go to the outhouse at the cabin after watching Hitchcock and Twilight Zone episodes after the evening news.
16. I frequently complete things because I recite “When a task is once begun, never leave it ’til it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.” I learned it from a little book my Aunt Marilyn gave me when I was learning to read.
17. My father bought my first bike at the Western gas station on Hennepin Avenue near where West High School used to be. My mother was upset because she thought I should be getting a bigger trike (they never want the youngest to grow up).
18. As a little kid I thought that being a trapeze artist might be about the most glamorous career there was. I later realized when my mother was consoling a friend whose daughter “ran off with the circus” that perhaps it was not something that would make my parents proud.
19. Instead of a night-light when I was little, my father bought a small aquarium for my room. He frosted the back in purple and it had purple gravel. I fell asleep watching the fish across the room on my dresser.
20. The first dogs I remember were Sundae and Tiger(lily) belonging to cousins on either side of my family.
21. The first time I was out of the country was on a choir trip to Winnipeg Canada in ninth grade. What happens in Canada, stays in Canada.
22. As kids our local park board teams were called SWAC. I typically went down to the park house to sign myself up, got my schedule and was responsible for getting myself to and from games from age six on.
23. I was a Bluebird and Campfire Girl as a kid, then a Brownie Troop leader as an adult.
24. I went through a sorority initiation when I was 23 and working at a school where the Zeta’s wanted me to be their “adult sponsor”.
25. I don’t like eating chicken when it has the bones in it.
26. My first job offer before I graduated was at a college on an island in Alaska.
27. The first time I flew was my sophomore year of high school when I went to Washington D.C.
28. I love Yahtzee.
29. When my dad was an electrician for a record company he was asked to lead a tour of the facilities. He said that the two men were nice but was puzzled because one of them was wearing eye makeup. When I asked who they were he said John and Daryl. “Dad, that was Hall and Oates” he said he wasn’t sure what their last names were.
30. The summer I turned 13 I got a new 10-speed bike, we had a fire in my family home and I went to a new theme park called Valley Fair for the first time. It was the bicentennial!
31. The first time I made strawberry jelly was with my aunt Patty.
32. I was always on the dance committee in high school but usually worked the coat checks at formals and semi-formals. No boy from my high school ever asked me to a dance.
33. Coed floor hockey was my favorite intramural sport in college.
34. The street I grew up on was a tunnel of trees growing up, until the summer when all of the boulevard trees were cut down because of Dutch Elm Disease.
35. The first concert I went to was Neil Diamond in ninth grade.
36. I took my husband to play badminton at my high school (where I had played on the team for several years) and we ended up in the emergency room with him having chest wall spasms.
37. My favorite genre as a kid was fictional mysteries, as an adult I prefer autobiographies.
38. When my dad died, I kept all of his white work socks and wore them for years.
39. I wore my grandfather’s swim trunks underneath my gown during my college graduation with an Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe print sleeveless T-shirt.
40. I got Sting’s autograph on the back of my Police ticket stub when they performed at the Minneapolis Armory in 1980. I liked him because he appeared in the movie Quadrophenia.
41. I cut hair for money in college. After an evening out a guy wanted his hair cut because he had Army drill that weekend. Halfway through I told him I had to go home and get some sleep. Half of his head passed inspection that weekend.
42. When I was little I always knew I wanted to be a mom when I grew up but never was the kind of girl to think about marriage or wedding plans.
43. My dad used to take me to dinner and dancing to big band music when I was in junior high. He loved to dance but my mom did not. I love to dance but my husband does not.
44. I loved going to the orthodontist because he had all of the yearbooks from the surrounding high schools. In the ’70s, long before social media, this was how you found the cute boys from other schools.
45. I used to take the kid I babysat for to car dealerships to crawl around inside the cars.
46. I credit my first Honda CRV with saving my life.
47. I do believe in a “what goes around comes around” balance of fairness that some might call Karma. When our first home seller lied in court about the home’s flooding history and got out of covering costs (we incurred the day we moved in) we simply agreed that some day he’d get his…When he was publicly identified years later as a John in a prostitution sting and lost his cushy coaching job at an area high school, I felt like I’d gotten my payout. Everyone now knew he was a lying cheat!
48. My trio of stuffed animals from childhood reside in my adult bedroom.
49. My daughter’s name is the same as my mother’s and my middle name, and the same as my grandmother’s first name and her mother’s too.
50. My uncles lost my grandmother’s original wedding band when they took it for a ride in their wagon.