My Life: Table Formatted — Part One, Childhood

Year
Age
Event
1964
0
Born in Detroit, Michigan (November)
1965–1968
1–3
Molested by my paternal grandfather, per hazy memories recovered in my late 20s.
1969
4
Mom takes me for my first visit to a psychiatrist because I am “too hard to handle.” Diagnosis: extremely intelligent.
1970
5
My grandmother, Margaret, starts my education in race relations.
“This is coffee. It’s black. This is cream. It’s white. When you mix them together, you get brown, which doesn’t go with anything.”
1971
7
Starting in third grade, I was responsible for getting my younger brother (age 5) on to the public bus after school, home, and fed. I was to clean the kitchen and prepare dinner. I wore our housekey on a string around my neck.
1972
7+
I start getting my first beatings from my mother. Punched in the back, slapped across the face, whipped with a belt. Stuff like that. Once, she threw a frying pan at me. It bounced and hit the wall and the handle broke off.
1972-77
7-12
I don’t remember much from these years. It’s probably a blessing.
1976
11
“The Twinkie Incident”
I was supposed to clean out the freezer. Being 11, I didn’t get to it right away. My friend Caroline was at our house for dinner. My mother opened the freezer and went ballistic when she saw it wasn’t cleaned out. She started pulling frozen food out and throwing it at me. She hit Caroline in the back of the head with a frozen twinkie. I stopped inviting people over to my house.
1977
12
Disneyworld!
My brother and I win a trip to Florida to visit my grandparents. I remember the “It’s a Small World” boat ride driving me insane, the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse being the coolest thing on the planet, and my grandfather pushing me down over the edge of the bed when no one else was home and dry humping me for what seemed like an eternity. I never let myself be alone with him again.
1977
12
Ask Dad if I can play with the makeup in his bedroom, thinking it belonged to his girlfriend. Dad tells me that it’s his makeup—he’s planning on having sex change surgery. “So I’ll have two moms and no dad?” “Yep.” “Does this mean I can play with the makeup?”
1977
12
Tell my seventh grade teacher that my dad wears women’s clothes. That night, she calls my mother to tell her that I am spreading lies in school.
1978
13
Accepted as a student as Renaissance High School, an experimental public school dedicated to gifted children. I applied at my mother’s insistence. This probably saved my life.
1978
13
Discover my father’s copy of “Justine” by the Marquis de Sade. Find it an incredible turn on. For some strange reason, equating pain with love doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch for my brain. Go figure.
1978
13
Car accident, broken collarbone. Start high school looking like a linebacker because I have to wear the crazy brace thing to hold my shoulders back. Nothing like beginning a career in a new school looking like a freak.
1979
14
June Honors Convocation. Awards Received:
Academic Honor Roll
Metropolitan Detroit Science Fair
National Mathematics Association of America Math Competition (3rd Place)
Language Fest, Oakland University (1st Place)
I also sang First Soprano in the choir.
1979
14
Attended Introduction to Engineering at Wayne State University during the summer of 1979.
1979
15
First suicide attempt, two weeks before Christmas. I spent six weeks in the Child Psych Ward of Mt. Caramel Mercy Hospital. Yes, that includes Christmas Eve. I got a day pass for Christmas. I could see the smoke stack of my high school, two blocks away.
1980
15
Attended Physics Laboratory Experiments Course, Wayne State University, Saturday mornings, Spring 1980.
1980
15
June Honors Convocation. Awards Received:Academic Honor Roll
1980
15
Last time:
During one of the beatings I received from my mother, I snapped. She was choking me around my neck, slamming my head against the refrigerator, and screaming “I hate you! I wish you’d never been born!” I was yelling “Stop, stop, stop.” She stopped, put her hands on her hips, and sneered, “Why, what are you going to do, hit me?” I said yes. She slapped me. I decked her and knocked her on her ass.That was the last time my mother physically assaulted me.That night, I ran away from home. I didn’t deserve to live in my mother’s house after hitting her.
1980
15 As part of the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program, I attended the Michigan State University Advanced Pre-Engineering Summer Program. I received Certificates of Achievements for the following:
Completed Math 081-082
Highest Test Score
Expository Paper (my first technical writing!)
Computer Science (programming in Fortran IV)
1981
16
Member, National Honor Society
1982
17
May Honors Convocation. Awards Received:
Academic Honor Roll
Michigan Youth Arts Festival Writing Award
Scholastic Writing Awards Contest Commendation
Honors Graduate
1982
17
Certificate of Merit, National Merit Scholarship Program
1982
17
Renaissance Scholars Program, Physics, Oakland University, June-July. I recreated Michael Faraday’s experiement on how a strong magnetic field changes the polarity of light.
1982
17
Free at last!
September: flew to Albany, New York to begin my freshman year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Major: Physics. Merit Scholarship Recipient.

5 thoughts on “My Life: Table Formatted — Part One, Childhood

  1. What is it about posting on your blog? I can’t ever get it right the first time.

    s/yymv/ymmv

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