Monday, August 2, 2010


In fourth grade, I went to three different schools. At first, I was going to school in San Rafael, and then we moved to Berkeley. My mom made an attempt to go back to finish her B.A. Before fourth grade ended, we moved to Oregon to be near her parents. At that time, my mother was progressing in her alcoholism and was unfortunately unable to handle the pressures of school and single parenting.

Berkely was scary for me. It was during the time of school integration. I was bussed across town to a mostly black school. My brother was bussed to a mostly white school. I remember being so afraid to use the restrooms at school that every day after school I would run around the back of our apartment building and jump onto our balcony (not sure how) and pee my pants.


1921 Delaware, Berkeley, CA



I always think of this time as the birth of my sugar addiction. For some reason, I remember being allowed to get off the school bus at other locations (which seems unbelievable to me now). I can remember where the donut shop was, and the asian store with candy, and the gas station with candy bars... etc.

We moved from Berkeley, California, to Corvallis, Oregon, in the summer of 1974. My grandpa came down to drive us all up, with our cats. For awhile we lived with my granparents, until we found our own place. We mainly lived in various cheap apartments or small run down houses in Corvallis. It was quite a culture shock moving to a fairly well-to-do small town after living in CA. Luckily it was a college town (OSU) and had a lot of exchange students. Nevertheless, most people thought my brother was adopted (and Mexican instead of half caucasian, half African-American).

My grandparents were like second parents to me. I often had meals there. My grandmother bought me a lot of school clothes, etc. We had our holidays with them. I had spent a few summers with them before we moved up to Corvallis, so I was familiar with my grandparents home as a haven of sorts. Here I am in my grandmother's bedroom, with the daisy wall paper. I always think of this image as representing my inner child.
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