When I was Growing Up, a mini-memoir by anita c. fonte 8/2/15
When I was growing up, the first four words I learned to speak were: tv, bird, cookie, dada.
TV-- because I watched Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bill. When I came down with measles, my mom said I looked like Howdy and I cried. He was a freckled puppet who jerked when he danced, not at all graceful like the dancer who, at five, I wanted to be.
Bird—because their chirps, trills, and colored feathers as they fluttered at the feeder outside my grandmother’s window suggested adventure, beauty, magic.
Cookie—because I loved sweets at all meals. Breakfast was Rice Krispies and milk, sprinkled with sugar. Lunch, white bread and butter with brown sugar smeared on both sides of the bread. Dinner ended with dessert, often my mom or grandmother’s baked sugar cookies dotted with raisins or chocolate chips. The only kitchen time I enjoyed (and still enjoy) is baking.
Dada—because my dad was a looming figure from toddler-hood through my sixty-five years. His arms had hands that could lift me above his head or slap me hard. He had the will to shovel snow off roofs, push lawn rollers over bumps and gopher holes. His determination was hardened by his childhood poverty and his service in the Army burial corps arriving in Normandy on D-Day plus 2.