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Day 23: Phases of life (Part 1)

I've been trying to exercise my memory and see what I remember from growing up. Sometimes friends and family tell me stories that help put pieces together, but for the most part, my earlier life feels like I was stumbling to put one foot in front of the other and trying to fit in. Here's my first attempt at remembering, and I'll probably come back in and fill in more as memories arise.

0-6 months (Dallas, 1977)

I was told I was a difficult child, and I can’t agree or disagree with that. My mother told me that I wouldn’t take a bottle for the first 6 months of my life, but then I had to, because she and my father got tickets to an away Cowboys game and got to go on a private jet. She told the nanny to let me cry until I was hungry enough to take the bottle. Tough love.

6 months-3 years old (Dallas, 1980)

I don’t know much about this time period, but I do see pictures of me and it seems I was quite expressive, opinionated and was a loner. My parents both said they wanted to hold off before getting pregnant again because they were afraid I’d kill a younger sibling.

3-10 (Dallas, 1989)

A blur. An old nanny from that time found me on Facebook and said I was a very “precocious” child and she’d never forget me. Huh. I had to look that word up to understand it exactly. It means: “adjective (of a child) having developed certain abilities or proclivities at an earlier age than usual”. Awesome.

1987 (Cashiers, North Carolina)

I started going to camp at Camp Merrie Woode, in Sapphire, North Carolina. The camp was all girls and I really got involved in their whitewater program and attended the camp for 7 years. I’m still friends with some old classmates and that experience taught me so much about life. The first 2 years I went for 2 years, then 3 weeks, then the remaining years I went for 6 weeks at a time. I learned how to make mix tapes, how to be in a play, how to slow dance with a boy, how to sneak out of camp and go use the pay phone on the highway, just for the phone of it, that pimples were bad and needed to be covered, that I love campfires, that I love horses, I love white water, I loved being a part of something, I loved working as a team (to get ice cream at the end of the week, you had to have a clean cabin every day of the week), how to dance, how to write a letter and how to miss my family when I was away. Camp rocked.

13 years old 1990

I made my first big move on a friend in 8th grade. She was my neighbor, we’d known each other since 1st grade and we’d grown up playing soccer, basketball and volleyball together. I invited her to go with my family on a road trip for Spring Break to Louisiana. I hadn’t formed a ton of close friends at that point, but I was determined this was my chance. We had a great time. As we were leaving my grandmother’s house in Baton Rouge, I saw my friend had left her Dooney & Bourke wallet on the counter by the door; she was already in the car so she didn’t realize she’d left it. I picked it up and carried it to the car, but then put it in my backpack. Several hours into the drive my friend realized she’d left it, so she said we needed to call my grandmother the next chance we got and let her know. I didn’t tell her it was in my backpack and I never did. Six months later we’re getting our books for 8th grade, and I had my parents credit card in my Dooney & Bourke wallet. I’d completely forgotten where I got this wallet, but continued to use it. As we were checking out, my friend’s mom looked at the wallet and then looked at me and then told her daughter they needed to talk, right then and there.

She recognized the wallet because there was a marker line on it that her mother had accidentally made. When my friend confronted me, I admitted it, returned it and apologized. I’d been busting for stealing and I had nothing to say because I didn’t know why I did it. Her mom invited me over a few days later and when her brother opened the door, she was at the top of the stairs and she threw the wallet down at my feet and said, “keep it, adn stay away from this house.”

This friend was one of the popular girls in school, so it felt like the school turned on me after that and I got bullied. I fantasized about ending my life and even cut my skin a few times, so my parents sent me to a psychologist. I just made up stories.


I lost my virginity the day before my 16th birthday to a boy I’d only talked to a handful of times. He went to a public school in Dallas, we’d gone to a few parties together and I’d heard he liked me so we went to a bunch of movies together. His father owned the Budweiser Beer distribution in Dallas, so I felt like this would be the kind of guy my parents would be proud I was with. He was the first guy I ever met who had a phone with a long cord plugged into the cigarette lighter in his car. I moved away the following day after I gave him my virginity.


My family moved to Park City, Utah, a place where I’d been visiting on vacation for several years and learned to ski. I didn’t think people lived there all year round.


On April 2, I lied to my parents and told them I was going on a Spring Break trip with a church group. In hindsight I have no idea how they believed that. We had a phone number for them to call, a friend who was acting as the group leader, and I told them we’d be rock climbing. I’m afraid of heights, so that should have given it away. Instead my friend and I were going on a 5 day trip with 2 older guys who work at the local ski resort. And for some reason I’d decided to tell them my name was Katie.

We ended up getting into a horrific car accident, and I woke up a few weeks later in the hospital having been in a coma. The guys we were traveling with were there, and were wondering why everyone kept calling me Harriet. Explaining to them was the least of my problems. I needed to learn to walk, talk, eat and write again, so I thanked them for the experience and they moved back to Washington state.

More tomorrow, I'm past an hour and at 1000 words.


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