This is another one of those Facebook deals, but anyone blogging should feel free to join in.
Once you’ve been tagged, you write 25 random things facts, habits, or goals about your childhood. Afterward, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about what you were like as a kid.
1. I was adopted when I was 5 and after that I lived in a small rural town called Corbett in the Columbia River Gorge. It was an awesome place to grow up if you liked playing outdoors.
2. I worshipped my older brother, but since he was 6 years older, I was too little to tag along with him when he played in the woods.
3. When I was really young I was always asking questions, which drove my mom nuts, so she bought me The Curiosity Book.
4. Mom used to bribe me with books to get me to pick berries at Kirby’s berry fields.
5. When I was 5 years old I had a mystical experience under a blueberry bush. I didn’t know how to vocalize what had happened, so I told my mom, “I don’t know where I am.” She got mad at me for screwing around.
6. I decided I wanted to be a writer at the age of eight when a relative gave us a cassette tape recorder. I used it to dictate stories.
7. I was a total geek who thought about things that made other kids roll their eyes. In fifth grade I was always in trouble with my teacher because I was reading instead of working on my math or social studies.
8. In spite of my aspirations, I didn’t start writing until I was 13. I gave it a good try at the age of 10 or 11, setting up my “office” at the desk in the living room with a cup of orange Kool-aid “coffee”. But the ideas didn’t flow.
9. The first book I wrote was about a young girl and her telepathic cat named Charlie who got abducted by aliens. I didn’t know you had to start a new paragraph every time a different character spoke, so it was all one big chunk of text. I still feel gratitude toward our middle school librarian, Mrs. Garrison, for teaching me how to do it right.
10. I was an outcast in school but a leader among the younger neighborhood kids.
11. I liked to build forts in the woods. Really cool forts out of tree branches, pallets, scrap lumber, old blankets, and anything else that was available. Once a couple of friends and I made a sentry tower by hacking the inside out of an old cedar stump that was still standing.
12. We often created tunnels through snowberry bushes and blackberry vines that opened into secret rooms. One had a creek flowing through it.
13. I was obsessed with water and my greatest dream was to have a creek or pond on my property. The neighbor kids and I spent hours damming up creeks on other people’s property and tracking them back to their source.
14. Throwing pine cones at cars was another favorite pastime. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as hitting a moving target. I still feel the thrill of victory when I remember the sound of a Doug fir cone smacking against somebody’s sedan. Pine cone fights were fun, too, but they usually disintegrated into dirt clod fights, which led to trouble.
15. I liked to lead my friends Ernie and Bobby in secret missions where we crawled around under their trailer carrying orange vitamin C “cyanide pills” so we could do ourselves in if the enemy caught us.
16. Ernie and Bobby had a hayloft with lots of cool stuff stored in it. It was one of our favorite places to play. We threw mattresses out the big window then ran through the loft and jumped out onto them. Another trick was to make long fishing lines out of strung-together paper clips and use them to try to hook stuff we’d thrown outside. Yeah, we were pretty destructive, but the sad thing was their parents didn’t care.
17. Another favorite place was the big, upright hollow trunk of a burned-out cedar tree. You had to crawl through a little opening to get to the inside. We kept a tackle box full of candles, matches, and old birthday cards inside so we could start campfires.
18. When I was seven, Ernie and Bobby’s mom had a baby, Angela, whom my mom became obsessed with (in fact, Mom was the one who named her). Naturally, I hated the kid until someone else’s baby came along to replace Angela when she was about 8. At that point I realized that Angela wasn’t the problem, just a pawn in the game. Later her dad married my mom and she became my little sister. Through my last couple years of high school, the two of us formed a strong bond, and now Angela’s the person I respect the most in my family.
17. I didn’t watch much TV as a kid, just Saturday morning cartoons, holiday specials, and the occasional Gilligan’s Island or Batman rerun. It was more fun to be outside.
18. The summer I was 11 I went crazy over the movie Star Wars. When I went into 6th grade that fall I got a crush on the new kid, Jim, who also loved the movie. We spend all our free time drawing X-wing fighters.
19. After reading My Side of the Mountain I wanted to try my hand at living in the wilderness. I got a book about edible plants and came up with a plan to live off the land. I chickened out at the last minute because my mother had me convinced that if you ran away it would go on your Permanent Record and you’d never get into college.
20. Even though I was basically a good kid who did what I was told, got decent grades, and didn’t do anything truly delinquent, I was punished more often than my older brother and sister because I couldn’t control my smart mouth.
21. The summer between 8th grade and high school my neighbor, Carey, invited me to go to Vacation Bible School with him. When we broke up into groups, and I went with the high school kids, I sat at the back of the room because I didn’t know any of them. One boy told me to come sit with him and his friends, but I thought they were setting me up to look like a fool, so I resisted. Finally, I figured out that he was just being nice, but I still believed that he wouldn’t have offered the invitation if he’d known who I was.
22. My best friend in high school was a boy named Damon who consistently gave me a hard time, but also was the best listener in the world. We spent the classes we took together passing notes. I still have them.
23. In high school I was junior counselor for the Outdoor School program, which took 6th graders into the country for a week to teach them about the environment. Through this experience, I learned that I was not completely irresponsible and selfish, which was a total surprise to me.
24. My junior year I participated in Girls State and learned that I had leadership skills and that I wasn’t naturally unlikable—another great shocker.
25. It took me a lot longer to grow up than it took most kids, which I got teased for, but to this day I think I had more fun.