Enough preamble. When I was five-years-old:
- I decided that I didn't like bananas. I remember the moment: we were on an inexplicable picnic in the middle of an empty sagebrush desert. My prepared lunch was a peanut butter and banana sandwich. One bite it and it occurred to me that bananas were completely unacceptable foods and no one should consume them ever! I screamed and dropped the sandwich and enraged my parents. This was the beginning of the systematic axing of foods from my diet that lasted for twelve straight years and cumulated in those three months when I ate nothing but fat free pretzels and peanut butter toast. I'm working on reversing the process. But I still won't eat bananas.
- My kindergarten teacher was evil. She was the sort of person who should not be allowed to look after small children. Maybe she had started out saintly-patient, but years of laboring to teach five-year-olds to tie their shoes had turned her cantankerous, even cruel. She had a particular dislike for my first best friend. Once she refused to accompany S. to the bathroom, and, when she started to cry because she really needed to pee, the teacher put her in time-out. Poor S. wet herself, her chair, and the carpet around her. We spent years speculating on the source of Miss P's vendetta. Our reconstructions indicate that Miss P's persecution of S. began when S. accidentally dropped the class rabbit after it scratched her. Obviously the rabbit was as unsuited to kindergarten as the teacher.
- My dad bought me my favourite stuffed animal, a grey squirrel, at a Grand Canyon Lodge. He was, specifically, a kaibab squirrel. I named him after my father, and he soon became king of all of my stuffed animals. His full title is King Richard the Flying Kaibab Squirrel, but close friends and family had permission to call him Ricky. [Note: kaibab squirrels do not fly, but I had no idea about this until I looked up that wiki article. I blame this lifelong misconception on my father, who read me the information card that came with Ricky.]
- I refused to respond unless I was deferentially referred to as Princess. I stopped calling my parents 'Mama' and 'Papa.' Instead, I called them King and Queen. The titles eventually dropped off, and ever since then I've called them by their first names.
To any poor souls who find their way here: what do you remember about being five-years-old?