Looking back, it doesn’t feel to me as if my life was so troubled. Everyone likes to recall back to one event that must have warped the way I look at life, and I tend to think of my outcome as originating from a different source… eh, I’ll stop being so general and let’s start off.
My parents were married in Florida. My dad got a new job as a computer engineer which required him to move to California. Somewhat reluctantly, my mom and dad started anew in Silicon Valley.
I was born in Fremont, 1985. Coincidentally, my mom’s friend was pregnant at the same time, and my friend, who goes as Mikosi on the net, was born the next day.
My early childhood was very, very good. I was a gifted child – I learned to read and write, as well as play piano, at the age of 3. I have vivid memories of trips to visit relatives, piano lessons, piano improv, finger-painting, typing on my dad’s old green-screen computer and my Atari 800, birthday parties, Jewish high holidays, my very own play-structure, block parties, knee scrapes due to reckless bicycling, turning off the night-light for the first time, the arrival of my sister, 1990, complaining about my friends having Nintendos and getting a Sega Genesis, You Can’t Do That On Television, singing, laughing.
After a year or two in pre-school at Temple Beth Torah, I moved onto Weibel Elementary, where I walked to school every day, played on Apple IIs, roleplayed as Sonic the Hedgehog with one of my friends playing Tails, went on field trips, cowered before Principal Pfaffenberger and Vice Principal Rugg, and learned the important stuff.
By the end of 1st grade, I was at the head of the class, and my teacher suggested that I take the standardized CTBS test with the 2nd graders. I got 98th percentile. I remember being able to make my own decision whether to skip a grade or not. I can’t remember what I chose myself, but I was to skip into 3rd grade.
At the same time, at home, tension was strengthening due to my dad’s “passive-aggressive” attitude and my mom’s, well, “aggressive” attitude. I have a vivid memory of my sister and me crying in her room as my mom shouts at my dad from upstairs. Doors were slammed. My dad soon moved into the computer room to sleep.
Then my dad moved into an apartment. He spent a few years there, solitary and depressed. My mom moved to Marin County. I stayed with her, only to see my dad on the weekends after an hour-long car ride, and I started going to school at Vallecito elementary in San Rafael.
So in one summer, I skipped a grade, moved, went into a new school, and went through my parents’ divorce. People tell me that I’m such a poor dear for having to go through such an ordeal, but I disagree. I think I went through it quite well. More of it was the outcome – what came from the new arrangement – that “affected” me so much.
And I’ll get to that later!