I’m always me. But what does that mean? Looking back I’ve been so many people over the course of my life. I think of my oldest memories. They are like flashes of light, pieces of a story that go through my mind. First I remember when I was three. I have to memories from this time. The first and most vivid is of the car crash I got into with my mother. The second is of my first step father. Of playing tag with him in the driveway, running circles around his car to avoid being “it”.
The crash was a bad one. I was in the front seat of my mom’s Toyota Corolla, no car seat, no seat belt, standing up. I was playing with some interesting rocks I had gathered from our last stop, I don’t know where it was, but as a child I was always collecting rocks. They came from some kind of landscaping, white rocks. Shiney with quartz specks in them. I don’t remember the crash, but I do remember the hospital. I was badly injured, unable to walk. I was in a room. My grandmother was there with me, I didn’t know where my mom was. I remember her being wheeled into my room in a wheel chair with bandages around her head, and her sobbing when she saw me because I was so badly bruised. She said it looked like someone had taken a bat and beaten me with it. My leg was also injured and I was unable to walk for a while.
My mom stayed in the hospital after I was discharged. I stayed with my grandparents. I can remember spending days recovering laying on their couch, and my grandmother helping me hobble to the bathroom. They had a housekeeper, a large black woman named Inez. I loved her. I also loved my grandparents. I was too young then to know what a large role they would play in the rest of my life as I got older, but I will save that for another day.
The other memory from that time was a game of tag I played with my first step father. His name was Mike. I know he and my mom were already together when the accident happened but I can’t recall if they were married yet. I don’t think they were. I remember him chasing me around his car in the driveway of a house that I no longer remember. I don’t think it was a place where we lived. I love that car. It was a Firebird with the Eagle shooting flames decal on the hood. I thought it was so fast! I remember that not far off from that I was the flower girl at their wedding. I remember that we moved to apartment in Pensacola together and lived on the second floor for a year or two. I remember there was a hurricane when we lived there and that I had at least one birthday party there. But the next thing I remember after that is moving to Tampa, when I was six. I’ll save that for another post.