Yup, I learned a lot up there on Rainier Ave. - some good, some bad. I learned I don't really like babysitting. I remember babysitting some kids across the way and just hating it. The only person I liked babysitting was my young neighbor, Gerald. I would sit with him on Sunday nights while his parents went off to church. Gerald was the easiest child I've ever sat for. He pretty much entertained himself while I was there and when I let him know it was time for bed he would, without a word, turn towards the steps, smile and say, "Okay, good night then!"
Yes, it was that easy. And if that's not enough, his mom always made me some sort of dessert to enjoy while they were gone. On the one occasion when there was no cake to munch on she apologized profusely and let me know that she'd left me all the fixings for a banana split.
I learned playing in the snow can be painful...especially when chasing someone (Freddy) with a snowball and slipping on a patch of ice that lay hidden underneath 6 inches of snow. To this day I can still recall the horrific sound of my bone breaking.
I learned it's really not that fun to miss three weeks of school.
Thanks to those three missed weeks there's one thing I didn't learn- how to diagram sentences. There are days when I wonder if I missed anything at all. Other days I'm sure I there is a void in my life that could be filled by that one skill. One day...
I learned how to drive. It wasn't the easiest thing in the world, well the driving itself was okay, but throw in learning on a stick shift and parallel parking and things get a little dicey.
On a similar note I learned when driving in a torrential downpour be careful of streams that rise out of their banks. The water is deeper than it appears. You should not attempt to drive through no matter how safe it looks. However, if you make the wrong decision it's best to climb out the window and hold onto the car until reaching shallow water.
As far as school goes, I found out that middle school really isn't much fun for an introvert with a low level of self-esteem. Thankfully, high school is better.
After 7 years on Rainier Ave. I learned enough for the next stage of life. In August of 1980 I packed up my things and headed south to St. Mary's College of Maryland.
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