California, Summer 1973

Uncle Jeff doesn’t talk to the family anymore. Dad said he’s having a topsoil moment and will visit soon, but I’m not sure what topsoil is or how it becomes a moment. Uncle Jeff stopped drinking a few months ago, and last week, he called to tell me he was sorry for how he treated me. I told him it was okay, cause I didn’t know what else to say. He said I was too soft to be his nephew on account of my not wanting to play boxing with him and Uncle Sal. But I never understood boxing or the point of fighting with someone you weren’t even angry with so I’d told him I didn’t want to play fight. He was drinking more than Uncle Sal that night, so I guess that’s what made him say what he said. I think when he stops by again, he’ll be bottom soil, but I’m not sure what that means either.

My sister Mava is the point guard on the basketball team at her high school. My brother Earl is starting third grade and cub scouts in a few months. I’m in middle school, and even though I wanted to play piano with our orchestra, Mom signed me up for football. I hate football, but Dad used to play in college and Mom says it will make him proud just like being the altar boy at church made her proud, but we don’t go anymore, on account of the priests they saw in the news. They never asked me about my experiences, and I never told them.

My best friend Silas lives next door. We’ve been friends since first grade, and he’s in Italy with his parents on summer vacation. My parents are veterinarians and since they get most of their clients during summer we usually only go to the beach across the street from our house on the weekends. Sometimes they go away for a few days, and Nanny Ellis stays over to watch all of us. I think she likes me the best because whenever there are leftovers of her homemade apple pie, she hides a piece just for me in the very back, so my sister and brother won’t find it.

I almost forgot, Mom and Dad are on the local vet bowling team so every Friday I get to play Pong Tron at the arcade while they play. They usually let Silas come but since it’s summer I’ve been playing with my little brother. I’m usually happy but sometimes I get mad.

I’ll write in my journal again soon, maybe after school starts again and I learn about how to play football.


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