Perhaps it was Tinkerbell who stole that moniker from me not that long ago. Reminiscing on almost 80 years stumbling around this great planet of ours, I’ve come to the conclusion that there were a lot of things I never accomplished in my youth and growing up was one of them. Finding a stable home life like that of ‘Ozzie and Harriett’ or ‘The Beaver’ (don’t laugh, I was very impressionable at that age) gave me a false impression of what ‘real home life’ was supposed to be like back then. It wasn’t to be part of my backstory.
Our 50th and 60th high school class reunions reminded me of two different high school experiences for two different groups of students. One group was college-bound and the other more focused on ‘getting a good job’ after high school. Both could probably be best described as your typical late fifties high school drama, trauma, and angst. Add to the mix that ours was an all-boys high school and the interaction between boys and girls was stilted at best and handicapped to some degree.
The first two years in college followed pretty much a similar pattern although the girl part got a little better. Then the US Army, finishing college, escaping to Europe and finally a single searching life back in the states put me back on track like my friends.
Most of my youthful aspirations were never meet. I never traveled around the world on a tramp steamer or shipped out of New Orleans to cruise the Southern Hemisphere as a rambling vagabond.
My rambling around the countryside like Woody Guthrie was provided by Uncle Sam who limited my ventures to California, Louisiana, and Virginia.
I never did the expat thing very well. The first time around in Europe, my job in a Danish laundry didn’t leave a lot of time for exploring the countryside or other countries. On my second venture East, I applied for work at the BBC but a Yank in London had a real uphill climb to be accepted there.
Domestic life ensued and fifty-one years late I’m retired and busy with other things. My youthful naïve dream of becoming a writer started in the early 70s with two typed up westerns then took a hiatus for another fifty years until it finally became a real and new vocation and career for me starting around age 65.
Now I write full-time, drawing on my imagination and anywhere else I can steal an idea. I guess it doesn’t hurt to still have a little youthful exuberance attached to the task of churning out storylines for my blogs, plays, novels, etc.
Now with ‘Sweetpea and the Gang,’ I get to rekindle the joy, excitement and wonder at the antics of my grandchildren. I don’t need maturity to go back in time and rekindle the joy of youth once again.