Monday, August 19, 2013

Books, McDonalds, and Self Seclusion - The past visited #4

Moving onward in my life to other events or moments that I think shaped me into the writer I am today. 

I don’t do well in person.  People tend to make me nervous.  On line or on the phone or even in a big group setting, I do all right.  But the one and one stuff, wow, could use a little work.  I spent a little time wondering about this and how I ended up so socially awkward.  Here are a few ideas on that front.

We moved a lot when I was a kid.  No, I mean A LOT.  From as early as I can remember we moved every single year.  One year, when I was in the second grade we moved twice.  It wasn’t always far and there was even a time or two that we stayed within the same school district.  We always moved though.  I stopped trying to make friends after the few times.  What was the point, we were just going to move in a few months anyway, why bother?  I grew quiet and introspective.  I spent more time with books.  I would spend lots of weekends with my grandpa instead of with friends.  He would make three stops each Friday after I was dropped off for the weekend. 

The first stop was to Children’s Palace.  This was THE toy store of the world.  It was in the shape of a castle and was HUGE.  I loved that place.  It is no longer in business, sadly.  Toys R Us killed it.  Each time we went to the Palace, I was allowed to pick out any one item.  Nothing too expensive and nothing to loud, but any one thing I could get.  I liked cap guns for a while and I remember getting packs and packs of the caps to pop with or without the guns.  A hammer worked really well for this.  Just sayin.

The next stop would be to the Half Priced Book Store.  Here I could get anything I wanted as long as it was a book. Oh the hours I could spend in that store.  I found V.C. Andrews within the stacks one summer.  Stephen King was soon there after.  Once I was through all his books I moved on to Dean Koonz an then Anne Rice.  No one said a word about my book choices.  Since I had reading issues for quite a while, they were happy to see me reading. 

The third stop was then to McDonalds.  Every Friday I would get a Chicken Nugget Happy Meal.  That was back when it was real’ish meat.  Not the pink slime they now use. 

So how did these three stops affect me?  One, I spent way too much time with my grandpa and not with my peers.  Oh I wouldn’t change it for the world as I have more good memories of that wonderful man than I do of any other one person throughout my childhood. 

I have also come to realize the trips to children’s palace were a way to make me feel better about being with my grandpa instead of home or with my sister at my father’s house.  It didn’t actually bother me though.  I was happy to be with Grandpa.  I don’t remember the why of it now.  My sister went for the weekend to my father’s and I went for the weekend with my grandpa.  I have a vague feeling of being unwanted, but nothing really concrete.  So we will just say that my father wasn’t all that keen on me when I was a kid and move on from there.  The toys were gifts of reparations.  I didn’t know it at the time, but as an adult and parent of my own children, I get it.  The McDonalds, that was just a perk and an easy way to feed a kid. 

All those things are great by themselves, except for one thing.  I was allowed to grow further within myself during that time.  My grandpa didn’t mind if I spent all weekend reading a book and only coming out when it was time to eat.  He would take me fishing and while fishing I would be reading about blood sucking vampires or incest and child abuse, or monsters and mayhem, for hours on end.  I completely escaped my world for days at a time.  Didn’t matter that I was under 10 when I started reading some of those books.  I was a good and easy kid while I was reading. 

I think this is one of the main reasons I am socially awkward today.  I would much rather be within the pages of a good story than doing anything else.  Whether I am reading it or writing it doesn’t matter.  I much prefer the story, over real life.    This is only one reason why.

Next week we move on to Sunbury, Ohio, which was the last move my family ever made.  It also brings us to the hell that was my junior high and high school years.  I have tried to block it out, but…at least it makes great fodder for my stories.  How many people have I killed of within the pages of my writing?  I’ll never tell.  


  1. When I started homeschooling my daughters, people said they were going to be socially awkward if I kept them out of public school. Turns out, they are VERY social. Outgoing even. Better around people than I could ever be. If anyone in this family is socially awkward, it's me, and I went to public school. There are definitely many things that shape us. Glad you are finding story fodder in looking back, Courtney.

    1. Thanks for coming by, Ruth. Anymore, I find story ideas from everything. The expired milk in the fridge the other day has a horror idea tinkering around in my brain.

      I agree there are so many things that shape who we are. Looking back and seeing just how many has been fun.


  2. I am so enjoying learning more about you! Growing up I never considered myself socially awkward, however I definitely am over the phone. Something about talking on the phone just makes me cringe! My entire family has this "phone disease" except one niece. It's weird.

    But now that I'm older and my husbands job has transferred him so many times, I have become "friend awkward". I make friends easily enough but only on the surface. It takes alottttttt to get me to do things with friends or get too close. And that aint easy down south where everyone wants to be your best friend. The minute they meet you they want to hang out. Not me. I was raised in Ohio so I'm still very much on guard. Plus deep down I'm afraid to befriend anyone anymore because I'm afraid we'll just have to move again and... there goes another friend. It's too hard losing friends. So I've just become pretty much a loner these days. I do hope that when we retire and move somewhere we intend to stay, that I'll shake out of that and start wanting to make friends again.

    Your childhood of moving from place to place, I can definitely understand. It must have been even harder to keep losing friends when you were much younger. Your grandpa sounds like he was a very special person in your life. You were a very lucky little lady to have him! And a trip to McDonalds when you're young... well there's nothing better! I have many fond memories of our parents taking us there too, when we were good and they had a few bucks to spare.

    Can't wait for your next post!

    1. See you get it! The moving around so much was hard with friends. I thought I would out grow that, but so far, not so much. As for my Gpa...I miss that man. He was wonderful. Even though I have to be really hungry (starving to death) to eat at McDonalds. I can't think of the last time I had anything from there. Its been years at this point.