The Simple Summary

—The year 1979 brought about a couple of notable things in Boulder, Colorado: the first Bolder Boulder took place and the Colorado University Events Center opened. Meanwhile, in August, a certain family welcomed their new baby boy to the world…. me. While that event bore no significance to the rest of the city, it did allow me to stake my claim as a Colorado native and the option to proudly display a bumper sticker on my car that says so.

I don’t remember much about Boulder because slightly after I turned four, my parents decided to leave the colorful state and Boulder’s fabulous view of the Flatirons for the barren back country of west Texas. I think that this decision was motivated by my grandparents, who had been living there, and they may have either outright purchased or assisted with purchasing a house for us there. I spent the next nine years in Texas enjoying a small-town childhood before returning to my beloved state of Colorado and eventually settled in to my adult life.

I’m terrible with segues, but this is a brief introduction to what this experiment is all about: a journey back in time, regaling my memories for your entertainment.   I’ve read somewhere that the average attention span is pretty slim, so my aim is to keep this short and sweet before we get on to the fun stuff! Thanks for hopping on!!

Boulder Beginnings

—I think that because my life began in Boulder, a seed was planted that blossomed into the unconditional love I have for Colorado today. My own roots were established in the state and I eventually met my soul mate there; each of my children’s roots were planted there as well. Boulder itself represents the beginning of my life, the life of my little brother as well as the few cherished memories I have of my mother and father together.

My parents weren’t affluent, but the memories we created together were rich. They rented an apartment not far from the downtown area of Boulder and I believe they were managers of the complex (or at least worked for the landlord in some capacity). I was told that when I was a toddler, I’d walk around our immediate area of the complex and, for whatever reason, our neighbors were compelled to give me food. Don’t mistake this statement: I was a very well fed kiddo. One might even say I was “chunky”. My mother has shared on several occasions that I was exceedingly adorable as well and people would stop her on the street to admire little baby me, so I like to think (jokingly) that this was the best way for my neighbors to gain favor with me.

stuff the kid’s face and he’ll be back so we can “oooh” and “awww” at him; maybe even get away with pinching his fat cheeks!

One neighbor that I apparently frequented was an Asian family. Perhaps they sought to help bring further prosperity to my belly; their subsequent offerings must have been more than acceptable since I so cheerfully returned so often. To this day, I absolutely love any variety of Asian foods. I have to admit when it comes to food, I’ll try virtually anything at least once and reflect that this may be because of my indiscriminate forays from my early childhood. That said, Asian foods bring me the most pleasure and delight!

I can’t imagine how this same scenario would play out in today’s times. It’s ridiculously funny to think that I was just this young, free-roaming fatty fellow accosting my neighbors for whatever foodstuffs they were willing to provide. My cynical side says that my dear parents would get visited by CPS or something, or at the least, neighbors would scoff and sneer at the lack of my supervision. I am forever grateful for it, though. I saw true generosity, comradery and, perhaps most importantly, many, many snacks!

Boulder and Beyond

–I’m digging deep; resurrecting the past to share the farthest edges of my memories. These are what I believe are the earliest and perhaps most formative pieces of my life. These are the most precious, foundational and nostalgic memories that I cling to and often reflect on. Yet while they aren’t numerous and seemingly random, I hold them close mostly because they represent the only part of my life where I had a whole family; together and under one roof. Nothing separated by chasms of miles and pain; long before the cold grief of division. My view of my family was unified and plenary, so these memories are vehemently cherished and reverential. I’ll break these up as making these a cohesive piece won’t be possible.

The Big Wheel

I remember having a “big wheel”; a trike-like toy that had two smaller plastic rear wheels, a low set seat close to the ground and one large wheel in the front where the pedals were attached. I must have really loved it, because it is the clearest memory of Boulder; I suppose it was my favorite mode of transportation and perhaps signified an early feeling of freedom. I’d ride around our apartment complex on the sidewalks with other children racing or just pedalling about while my papa was doing some task or another for his work at the apartment building. On special occasions, I’d ride alongside my mother and we would go to a nearby store and I would get juice. I felt much love and appreciation when we’d go on this small adventure.

Life on the Inside

I’m certain our apartment was at least a two bedroom, I believe I had my own room because I remember being pretty scared of the dark and being by myself in a room at night. We did have a bird named Ollie and he was in the room with me so I suppose I wasn’t totally alone, but I don’t think I thought of him as a companion. One unfortunate night, my imaginations got the best of me and I had a terrible dream. I awoke with a forceful scream of terror so incredible, poor Ollie presumably had a heart attack and died… apparently my outburst was so sudden that my shriek tore through his little avian core. Sorry Ollie!

Needless to say, like many toddlers, I was easily frightened. A neighbor of ours had two daughters, much older than me. My mom had to remind me of their names, but we’ll call them ML; I thought of them as a unit and only remember the sisters together. I’m told ML doted on me fiercely and adored hanging out with me, though I’m not sure if they babysat me, but I do remember liking them and thinking fondly of them. I think it was Halloween or near halloween (to be fair this could be a modern association with this event), but I recall being in the main hallway of the apartments and looking up some stairs. To my horror the door atop the stairs flung open and the most frightening hell wolf shouted at me. It was one or both of the sisters in a mask (I only recall the wolf mask) but I remember being scared out of my wits and crying in terror. Maybe this is what sparked my nightmare that killed Ollie by proxy and I’m absolved, but sadly I’m not certain of the exact timeline of these events.

During the day, I’m sure I did nothing but find mischief like any small child, but do I remember that I was fascinated with ants. Occasionally, there’d be a line of black ones that would form a line and traipse inside or gather around our door and I loved to watch them do their thing and watch them go about their business. My mom says I used to also count them; I have to wonder how high I could count back then because while they weren’t exactly an infestation, they were numerous. On a particular day of watching the little critters, I recall them meandering in their usual line of march, but I think I was curious to see what would happen if they encountered an obstacle… like my foot. They, of course, were nonplussed and just crawled over me. I’m sure they tickled and I had a chuckle as they continued their journey up my leg — until they started biting. I remember they even bit my scrotum; a memory that makes me shudder to this day. I’m sure I screamed, because the next thing I remember is my parents giving me a bath.

Brothers for life

About three months before my fourth birthday, my parents welcomed my little brother to the world. I’m sure that during the gestational months, my parents told me that I’d have a sibling, but I do not recall that. I do, however, remember the day he was born. We were at the same hospital where I entered the world, and I was in the waiting room. I recall seeing my mother and brother through a viewing window and also being excited. I don’t remember much after that and only six weeks later, we were on our way to west Texas. This was a very significant memory though, because later in life, my brother grew to be a man I hold in the highest regard, utmost admiration and adoration. I cherish this memory like something sacred because, I’m not afraid to say, I look up to my little brother and love him dearly.