|Like the rose bush, another of my earliest memories is also
an unhappy one. One afternoon, long before I began to attend school, I was startled
from my reveries by my angry mother, snatching me up from whatever innocent pursuit I had
been indulging and rushing me into the living room. There she called my attention to
a small section of wall beside the piano where I found my own name inscribed with pencil,
in a waivery and childish hand.
"Did you do that?" she inquired. (Across the street, one of the neighbors
said, "do what?") Terrified, I shook my head in the negative.
"Don't lie to me!" she demanded, and proceeded to thrash me. After a few
seconds of vigorous corporal punishment, I was transported across the room to another spot
where the windowsill had been likewise embellished. "Did you do that?" she
once again inquired. Again (having apparently not learned my lesson) I shook my
head. "Don't lie to me!" Thrash thrash thrash!
|As children often do, I told and retold this tale all
throughout my childhood years. My mother defended herself against this charge by (a)
questioning if I was all that sure that I had not, in fact, written my name on
that wall, (b) suggesting that she was perfectly justified in accusing me, since I was a
precocious child and had been well tutored by my sister , and (c) denying that this
episode had ever happened.
One day we were all sitting around the table, and I was
(once again) recounting the story of my unjust punishment when Daran began snickering and
finally confessed that he had been the actual culprit. The truth at last! I
appealed, but the miscreant received no punishment. It would have been difficult, I
have to admit, since he was thirty-something years old by then.