It was early on a Saturday morning I blinked at the sun streaming through the venetian blinds onto my face as I lay basking in my bed later than normal for a mid winter’s day. Slowly, it all came to me that it was the middle of the Christmas vacation from school. In fact it was the exact middle; the respite from school was half over. Christmas was done and New Years day was fast approaching and then it would be back to the scholastic grind of seventh grade.
“Oh No” I thought, “this can’t be! It’s too soon to be thinking about school again.” I had finally gotten out of the school year routine and into vacation mode and now it was going away far too quickly. A glance over the edge of the bunk bed showed my brother below, still deep in the grip of sleep. I was caught in this nowhere land of no longer a little kid ready to go out playing and yet at 13, not quite ready to take on the trappings of a teen ager; leather jackets, DA haircuts and a reputation for getting into trouble. The other parts of being a teenager really appealed to me; girls, rock and roll music, girls, sports, girls, high school and did I say, GIRLS!!!
But for one last time, I wanted to enjoy the trappings of being a pre-teen, carelessly playing with the toys I received at Christmas and dare I admit it, the ones my younger brothers played with too. I realized then, alone in my early morning reverie that my life was about to take a turn from which it would never return. Childhood innocence was a thing of the past. Soon I would begin learning the process of shouldering the responsibilities of being a man. I would have to be accountable for my actions and find my place in the world. But just then, I was transfixed, one foot wearing my Daniel Boone slipper surrounded by the toys of childhood and the other wearing a penny loafer surrounded by tools and other manly things. Yes, that year I would risk the cold edge of a razor against my still baby faced cheek. It was time for me to take the next step.
Looking forward to my teen aged years, it seemed that they would last forever! There were seven long years to go before my twenties. I would start and finish high school, start college and because I was a child of the 60s, a military career. Yet to come was the supreme joy and heartbreak of falling in love; that first kiss and the abject sorrow when it was all over. Up until now, time was merrily moving along at a snail’s pace, but I knew that the rate of time passing was soon to begin accelerating towards light speed.
So there I lay, realizing that this was the middle weekend, not only of my Christmas Vacation, but also of my youth. For just a minute, time stood still, the dust motes hung motionless in the air, glistening in the actinic sunlight of that winter’s morning. I could see what I was leaving clearly and in sharp focus. But I could not see what was coming; it was all hazy in the mists of uncertainties and the obscurities of possibilities. How would it all turn out?
Today, on this weekend between Christmas and New Years over 50 years later I can see how my life unfolded. I can still see that first kiss; I can feel that first heartbreak. I can see the unexpected turns my life took. I can see that I have settled in a place far away from where I thought I would spend my life. I can remember clearly that first job and the unexpected turns in my career path. You know what! Most of all I can see that so far life has been good to me! I have lived a rich life full of excitement and adventure and done many interesting things; from flying a jet off the deck of an aircraft carrier and breaking the sound barrier to being a radio DJ playing the top tunes to the next generation of teenagers, to designing, building and repairing complex electronic equipment and computer programs. I have travelled the length and width of this great country seeing places I could only imagine as a kid. I have no complaints! During this weekend between, I say “Bring on the rest of my life, I’m ready!” Oh MY!