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Random Childhood Memory: The Pants of the Family

April 2, 2006

The first house I remember — the one in which my parents were living when I was born — was a small two bedroom home out “in the country.” By that, there was a gravel road that ran in front of the house, only two other houses within a couple of miles or so, and otherwise lots of woods. My early memories revolve around this house — and probably have evolved a bit since leaving, as I’ve had one or two corrections over time.

The house was small; a living room, eat-in kitchen, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. You walked into the front of the house straight into the living room and if you kept walking you went into the kitchen and out the back door – and it didn’t take all that many steps. Just inside the front door, to the left, was an old record player I wish I had now. It played seventy-eight speed records — the two I remember are Downtown (the Petula Clark version) and What it was, was Football by Andy Griffith. There was a console TV against one wall, black and white of course, and I remember Mom watching a daytime soap opera back then. Some lady on the soap had a long trial and I still remember the excitement when she was found not guilty . . . though Mom said she did it.

I can’t remember the bedroom I shared with my brother, but to get there you went down a short hall from the living room and turned left. If you turned right, you went to Mom and Dad’s bedroom. Going straight put you into the bathroom. Apparently there was a bit of confusion about my direction back then, because one memory I do have is of being awakened from sleep by the yells of my Dad. Apparently he was upset that I was standing (until then, asleep) beside their bed and peeing on his pants that were lying in the floor. I’m not sure why he got so upset; after all, he wasn’t wearing ’em, so it could have been worse. Turns out in asking him about it later (forty years or so later) that he had found his pants wet on a couple of occasions and had no idea how they got that way. Seems I was good at solving a who-dunnit even back then, as I put an end to speculation on that mystery in pretty quick fashion.

Over the years, in my recollection of this memory, I had remembered this peeing-on-the-pants episode had occurred after we moved to town when I was six, and had attributed my misdirection to the new direction I had to take to get to the bathroom. Turns out, not so. I’ve no idea why I was sleepwalking into their bedroom and peeing on the pants of the family, but I’m sure a gaggle of therapists could come up with a gaggle of deep-seated mental problems I must have had at the time. I know over the ensuing years I mistook a clothes hamper for a toilet on more than one occasion, lifting lid and peeing on the clothes in the hamper. I don’t think it’s occurred in the last thirty years, so apparently whatever was causing it I’ve long since resolved. But peeing on Dad’s pants is one of my earliest memories and as it recently popped to mind I thought I’d share.

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