Prickly Fall: Fear of Jumping Off
|From the Family Collection of Midge Frazel, circa 1948-1949|
60 Hilltop Dr. Cranston, RI
This is the only photo I can find that shows the concrete steps and section that connects the house to the garage at my childhood home. It was a favorite picture spot but photos usually were taken closer to the back door with someone coming or going out of the kitchen.
When I was in the first grade, my mother got the idea that I should be encouraged to jump off to the driveway by not using the stairs. I looked down and then over to the stairs and wondered why it would be better to jump than use the stairs. What was the purpose of the stairs?
My mother obviously wanted me to be more aggressive and be like other kids. What happened was that I waited until I was taller and heavier to do things like that. She wanted it now, so she could catch me since I tended to move away from people if they came near me. I didn't like the way people smelled or touched me without warning.
There was a neighbor man who wanted me to sit on his lap. I refused. My father told me I should be kind to the man who didn't have children. When my father went into the garage to get more chairs, I told him that he couldn't make me and that I would tell my grandmother.
His face changed. My grandmother owned the business. I learned that that was something my father was afraid of...losing his job. In 1971, she did just that, sold the business out from under him.
While in college I was frequently told, that I should try to "get along" and be "more fun". Instead I observed people and made my own mind up that I didn't like people who jumped without using the stairs, so to speak. People found out the hard way that I was aggressive when they weren't paying attention. It is a prickly way to live but it works for me.