Fat Legs, Vicious Lovebirds, and Drowning Mermaids: 8 True Facts About My Youth

I am not making any of this up.


“When I grow up, I want to be a cheerleader,” a girl in my kindergarten said.

“Me, too!” I chimed.

“With those legs?” she asked.


When I was little, I’d put my legs together to form a “fin” and practice “swimming like a mermaid” across the pool. It wasn’t an efficient water traversing method.


My aunt & uncle left the electric fence around their sheep enclosure on when we were visiting. I climbed on it. I later asked why the fence “felt funny” and everyone panicked.


My family owned a dog for 3 weeks that I never met. I was away at summer camp at the time. My mother gave it back to the breeder because it knocked over her favorite lamp. There is no photographic evidence that the dog was ever in our home.


I have never read Animal Farm by George Orwell.  Oh, and I thought 1984 was a pretty dry read. Sorry, Orwell.


My brother and I watched horror movies together far too young. I’d force him to have basement slumber parties with me so I wouldn’t have to sleep alone in the dark.


I grew up with a genetically-male transgender bird we accidentally called Kate its whole life. It was a lovebird — whose primary love was biting the shit out of children.


We once heard screaming from the forest behind our house. A dude had messed with a bear and was up in a tree, yelling his head off. My brother and I wanted to go see the bear. Dad made us go inside. We live to this day. Good parenting can be very boring.

If any of these things interest you, by the way, these photos were taken at Apple Hill Antiques — a really great little place near Penn State main campus. Most of the stuff is still there (I imagine), waiting for you to take it home. You can purchase these items for your shrine to my hyperactive childhood imagination.