Some things about me that I’ve been thinking about tonight for whatever reason. Not sure why. Just am.
I think there’s a lot that my friends and family don’t know about me. Most of them know I grew up in Montana, was in the Army, served in Germany, and I’m a gamer. But how much more? I dunno. So I’m going to ramble a bit, and see how much I even grok about myself.
I wasn’t just raised in Montana. I was born there. In Plains, MT to be exact. It’s this pretty little one street town in a bowl valley in the mountains in western MT. Mapquest it some time. It’s right groovy. Plains is one of those small towns with maybe 1500 or 1700 people that nobody really pays attention to unless they live there, but for some reason I’ve always liked it. First, there’s the irony of it being in the mountains and being named Plains. Second, it’s just plain peaceful. On either side of it along highway 200 there’s big horn sheep in groups just grazing along the side of the road. There’s the VFW in the middle of town that my dad and I stopped by when I was in the military. Those old men that hung out there showed me more respect and made me feel prouder than I’ve ever felt in regards to serving my country. To truly feel appreciated is a great thing. Then there’s the knick-knack store that my cousin, Candy, used to work at. Candy has Downs-Syndrome, and she’s just an angel. Finally, there’s the Llano Theater. I’m not sure if it’s even open any more, but ever since I read the "Incarnations of Immortality" series written by a man who calls himself an ogre, I have always called it the "yano" theater out of my own amusement. So that’s the town I was born in. Never lived there. But I did get a double-hernia operation at the small hospital there when I was about 12 or so.
My parents lived in this apartment/duplex in Thompson Falls, Montana. After a place I remember only in blurry images. We called the first place the "tar paper shack", though it was really a house that had a unique thick black paper and wooden framing rather than being painted. I don’t remember much of the shack except for the fact that it wasn’t a shack really, there were usually animal pelts around (my dad trapped and sold fur to get extra money, and to have an excuse to be in the woods), and I remember my father cutting his head in one of the utility sheds there. Not sure if the last memory is even true, because it feels so dreamlike. I was maybe three or four when we left there. And somewhere in there were a few other places closer to Trout Creek Montana, but the first I remember distinctly is the white duplex in T-falls. I loved that house. It’s still up. Still looks the same. If I had the money I’d buy it. There’s a garage on the side. A couple of bedrooms. My brother and I shared a room and it was sort of small, but sharing that room helped us bond as brothers I think. We’ve grown apart over the years, which truly sucks. But I don’t know how to get him to pull his head out of his ass and open up. Anyhow… One of my favorite things about the house was that it had this entry on the side that had french doors. And the sun would stream into it and just make the entry into a perfect room. I liked the sun back then. Not sure why now, but I did. Perhaps a million and one sunburns makes a person jilted. I remember playing with the neighbor girls. The Shimmels. A unique crowd to say the least. It kind of sums them up to say that the kids of the youngest girl are now legally my cousins because she couldn’t raise them, and there are a lot of mental issues in that family. I remember the front yard being the first place that I ever dug a truly good hole. Something EVERY young boy should do I think. My brother and I dug a hole a few feet down, and then started to tunnel. Fortunately for us, the tunnel only went about a foot, and ended up getting filled in fairly soon after we dug it. There was a tree swing too. Oh, and I suppose this is memorable…I almost died in the front yard. My dad had parked his old International truck in front of the house along the street. There were ropes hanging from it, and I was playing with the rope, swinging around. Fortunately, after I began choking, my mom looked out the window and noticed and saved me. Good thing she’s somewhat paranoid and attentive.
Another thing I remember about the place is that it was on a really steep hill, or rather, right at the bottom. The town of Thompson Falls is mostly built on a huge hill overlooking the Clark Fork River, and a dam. Anyhow, directly above our white house was the school, about four blocks up the hill. That hill was stellar for riding a big wheel down. The only problem was that, at the bottom was a cross-street, followed by a 20 foot or so of drop off to the train tracks, and another drop off to the main street of town. So, if you didn’t stop jussssst right, you plumetted to your death. Or, at the very least into a "pinochio-nose" tree. I don’t know what sort of tree it was, but that’s what we called it. You could take the seeds, split them in two, and stick them to your nose. *shrug* Ok. Never mind. I just googled it. It was in fact a maple tree. Obviously it’s in serious need of renaming. I remember my older cousin, Larry, either not making the stop like he needed to, or falling out of that tree while climbing it, and slicing the hell out of his leg. Was rather gory. I was five. It was AWESOME. Just don’t tell him I said that. I don’t think he would agree. He still has a rather nasty scar.
Speaking of the old truck though. My family had some interesting vehicles when I was growing up. At one point my dad drove a tractor just about everywhere for some reason. Then we had the International I mentioned before. A forest service green 50s … plymouth?…I dunno. It was ugly, and the springs in the seats were poky. Then a green ford that I tried to paint pink for my mom. For some reason, she didn’t really appreciate that. psht… parents… Then a Subaru wagon, which later became my first car. Then a Chevy Citation. A Ford pick-up. A lariat I think… And a red Datsun. Those aren’t necessarily in chronological order, but screw it.
I remember moving a lot after that white house. My mom had issues with her parents, the Sanders County community in general, and I think, herself. Where her parents are concerned, I think she felt unwanted, or like she should have been a boy. My mom worked her ass off, and I don’t think she’s ever really gotten credit. As in any small town, everyone knows your business, and my mom had my older brother without getting married. A very big deal in countrified Montana in the seventies. And of course, I’m pretty much the reason my parents got married. I was surprise number two. Yay me. So, with all that drama, she sort of ran away. We moved to this dinky town called French Town.
We weren’t in FT long though. Which is good. The house we lived in sucked. The school was right next to the run-off for the pulp-mill which means it smelled like phosphorous and rancid assholes. We never ended up going to school there, which I’m grateful for. Instead, we moved to Missoula, and lived in a trailer park, and I went to Desmet elementary. I HATED IT. I went from having friends and being happy, to being the new kid that got beat down at lunch on the playground. I distinctly remember a tower of tires that I got trapped in regularly, and the fattest kid in the class would sit on the top preventing me from escaping. Not so bad when it was snowing, once you pack all the snow down on the bottom, and if the kid didn’t have gas. To top it off, the teacher was an evil bitch. Ms. Parks. The running rhyme was "Ms. Parks barks sparks." She was ALWAYS yelling, belittling kids, and generally shitting on people. I am SO glad we moved away from there the next year.
I’ve always been bitter that the next move wasn’t back to Thompson Falls. I might have had a chance at saving my social skills/life a bit earlier if we had. Instead though, we moved to Clinton Montana. Crappy little hole in the wall. 4th and 5th grade there. I found a few more friends than at the last place. Even managed to cause a bit of mischief and NOT get caught for once. My sister wasn’t old enough to follow me around getting me in trouble yet you see. A friend and I went out and played Ding-Dong Ditch. It has another name. I’ll let you look on urban dictionary for that one. Was also the first place I ever lived where I got shot at. Was by accident. We lived at this place that had a vacant lot between us and the neighbors. Neighbor kid was shooting at gophers in the vacant lot with a .22. The round ricocheted and ended up coming through the house. All I remember is that it stopped in the wall about two or three inches from my head, and nearly popped my parent’s water bed as it went through a couple of other walls. My dad called the cops, then grabbed his .357, and ran out the door. Came in a few minutes later with the kid’s rifle. Filed a police report, and life went on. I think the kid got probation, and had to go to a safety course. I wish his parents had gone to a course, maybe they would have realized that you supervise kids with weapons so that nobody gets hurt. Dumbasses.
Anyhow… Now that I’m done with that tangent. Clinton sort of sucked. My best friend there was Vance Cannon. I don’t remember much about him, except that we played PIG and HORSE a lot, and rode our bikes around. Good times. Sort of. I remember that while we lived there, I got my first new bike, I didn’t have good shoes at one point, and I remember that I waded through a frozen over ditch that the top layer of ice kept breaking for some reason. I’m lucky I didn’t lose toes or something over that stupidity. But hey, the sledding was AWESOME that day. I was a kid. It was groovy. Was still a nerd. I remember Vance being a dick in front of everyone else, and was cool only when nobody would see him catching my cooties. … I still sort of feel like that’s happening sometimes. Eh well… I kissed his sister, so F him. HA!
Eventually though, my grandmother’s diabetes got really bad and we had to move back to Sanders County. My parents had to sell the house they’d been buying. We moved to Trout Creek where I went to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. I remember not feeling like I belonged, but in retrospect everyone was a lot nicer to me there than anywhere I’d been since T-Falls. Perhaps because they had a worse nerd to kick around. Skeeter Bastible. I always felt bad for him, and I wish that I’d been kinder to him myself. His parents didn’t take care of him as well as they should. He stank pretty badly, had the WORST acne I’ve ever seen, and dressed in clothing from the thrift store … no, the place was a 2nd hand store… Not the trendy "thrift store" of today, that’s for damned sure. Anyhow, the kid had a rough life. At least I’d left some of my torture behind.
Anyhow… I’m tired, and may actually be able to sleep.
Good night all.