Sunday, July 8, 2007
The First Quarter Of The First Third
from birth to age 7.
I would rate my childhood highly. I had loving parents and a large extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. the belew side of my family, my father's side were country folk in the true sense of the word, scattered throughout northern kentucky and down into tennessee. my mother's side of the family, the frost family, lived in the city concentrated mostly around the greater cincinnati area which included covington, kentucky where I was born. for the first five years of my life I lived on a farm in alexandria, kentucky. I had a dog named missy. just a farm dog. missy loved cherry pie but was crazy about ice cream, just like me. when I had an ice cream cone I would sit on the front step "here's one lick for missy, and one lick for me" and share it with her.
my parents sharecropped a small farm with another couple. there was a single floor L-shaped house. we had one side, they had the other. I slopped pigs, helped put up corn into a large silo, and generally had a ball bouncing from hay bale to hay bale in the crusty old barn's hayloft. I loved the surrounding countryside with it's endless creeks and fields.
because of the way my birthdate falls at the end of the year, I went to school one year earlier than the other kids. my first grade teacher was Miss Fouch. she was young and pretty and being the smallest (and probably the smartest) kid I was her teacher's pet. I clung to miss fouch like velcro. strange as it sounds, I would even go with her to the bathroom (I would stand outside, of course) when she needed. my strongest memory is of the smell of mimeograph ink from all the times she would take me to the office to have copies made of her paperwork.
one fabulous night mom, dad, and I went to a place called the Big Barn. there was a crowd of all ages there dancing to live real old-fashioned country music. they had door prizes and my dad won a swing set! we put it out behind the barn.
then came our first move. back to the city of covington where I was born. we shared my grandma beckett's house at 227 west ninth street. we had the upstairs. it was a block away from Carlisle High School where my mother went as a kid. a low-rent area, grandma's shingle house was well kept. instead of fields and creeks there was one slight strip of garden between her house and the next. it was a concrete world. across the street was a neighborhood bar called Lamb's. this was when my parents were young and would still sip an occasional beer. before they got religious.
I remember clearly the night some of my aunts and uncles were visiting and all of us went to Lamb's, even the kids. they had a jukebox right inside the door. I was five years old. people would give me nickels I would feed into the jukebox. then I'd stand in front of it and sing along with the songs. this went over like gangbusters with the adults, especially my aunts and uncles. they always were a salty bunch of cut-ups. one of my uncles gave me a nickel to sing the latest hank williams song, jumbalaya. he whispered a change of words he wanted me to sing and the whole place erupted when I reached the part, "sonovabitch we'll have some fun on the bayou."
my entrance into show biz.