read various chapters of this autobiography by going to the Individual Stories menu to the right.

Thursday, January 1, 1970

Alta and Bill...and Dorothy.

Site of Alta and Bill's home. 1005 East 8th St Little Rock AR
Alta was my paternal grandmother. She was divorced from my paternal grandfather "Buddy" Miller. She was remarried to a truck driver by the name of Bill.

They had a little house with an ornate goldfish pond in the front yard that had an island made of plastic that lit up at night. Their backyard had a sandbox.

Just this moment I realized after all these years the sandbox was likely built by Bill. He was a true man in the old stereotypical sense -truck driver, good with making things, played acoustic guitar and liked fishing.

Alta was good to me, let me emphasize that. I don't recall even one hurt feeling due to her or Bill. My mom says she spent a lot of time teaching me concepts with lessons and games.

I emphasize she was good to me because I have say what her, and her sister Dorothy, were...raging alcoholics. Not the get into fights and accidents kind, they didn't drive or get out much, they just drank like crazy and passed out early in the day.

They were both dead before I was seven.

Once I still remember talking to Alta and her gums started bleeding profusely. What her drinking meant to my welfare were long hours left alone in her home. I recall some of that.

One instance of being alone while she was passed out was a little surreal. Her and my great-grandmother were Southern Baptists. They believed in the Devil. Alta, while drinking, had ranted on about the Devil. Then she passed out. I was left with my four year old imagination. I thought the Devil was going to get me. They had taught me to call 0 to speak to an Operator if any emergency ever happened. I did, I dialed 0, the operator picked up with a "Can I help you?" and I said the Devil was on the sidewalk and walking onto our porch to come in and get me. The police came, discovered me there scared and my grandmother passed out.

Alta made the best damn scrambled eggs on planet Earth. A lot of black pepper, some other stuff, and a dash of whole milk. They bought me Quisp (cereal), and the coolest toy that I still to this day look for...a metal floating battleship that I floated in my baths when staying there. I spent hours in that sandbox, and in that big backyard. There was a lot they did for me that meant a lot to me.

In a typical movie script Bill, the in-law manly truck driver, should be a mean guy. No, Bill did nothing but good for me, and two of the most precious things for me in my pre-eight year old life. One thing he did was build me a crane that rode on wheels. I still remember it vividly. It used a fishing reel, had a crane boom, the end of the cable had a common wall-mount clothes hook. It rode on a wood board fixed to a wagon. I loved it, but only equal to the other big thing he did.

He took me to Lake Conway to a fishing boat! I put the exclamation point there and realized how mundane to the world that in a fishing boat. Well, to me at four or five it was as big as wonderful gets. I remember being in the boat. I remember his smiling face in the boat. I remember the lakeside cabin. For my little self years that day was winning the lottery.

I also liked going with Bill to liquor stores. We mostly went to the one at the corner of Rock Street and 9th Street, the one built with a diagonal slant for easy drive though. The old dudes working there liked me. There was chewing gum for sale right on front of the cash register, and I loved the Beechnut Fruit Stripe (five fruit flavors in each stick) gum.

What I found so primordially precious about those experiences with Bill taught me something about what North might be thirsting for from me. I've tried to do it with an intensity and frequency ten thousand times more than what I got.

And I can see in North's eyes and expression when and what means a lot to him.

Dorothy was Alta's sister. She lived with my great-grandmother. I have little memory of her, and I'm sorry to her for that. She lived in a room I would later sleep in. She stayed there a lot. She drank like crazy. She was never really around.

Dorothy, I love you. You took me on a really special adventure one night, maybe the only day or night you were sober in your last years. You took me for my first visit to a state fair, and it was more magical because our house was on the street that ends at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. We walked there at dusk, perfect because all the lights on the rides and attractions were beginning to show. It was a beautiful walk, a few blocks for a four year old is a big chunk of space. I still remember the sky and the things like ferris wheel and roller coaster lit up as we walked there.

Then when we got there we went in the Hall of Industry and they had Batman's boat and motorcycle! That was the biggest deal to me for that whole year, and I actually thought about it my whole childhood. Then back outside I still remember big intimidating images like the Wax Museum and a creepy graphic of President Kennedy, who I knew had been shot a few years before.

I never realized that day might have been your last best day Dorothy, that you might have liked it more than I ever could. I love you and glad I was the person you chose to muster your last day living and being happy.

The author of this blog also has two books available on Amazon. Athena Techne uses some of the autobiographical content of this blog and adds a philosophical perspective utilizing the ancient Greek god Athena.

Athena Techne :: Page

Autistic Crow Computer is a fiction set in Seattle, about an autistic boy and two crows. The book was written for young autistic readers, although reviews by non-autistics have been positive.

Autistic Crow Computer :: Page

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