|Needles & the house on Maple Street|
My earliest memories are of Manistee, Michigan and the house on Maple Street, where we lived from 1954 to 1955. It was a large, two-story house with a basement and a huge, multi-story (3) garage. A doctor owned the house, and my parents only rented it for one year. Supposedly, my parents discovered a embalmed fetus, left over by the doctor, in a jar in the basement!
I have only a few memories from the house on Maple, but among the earliest I remember talking to a neighborhood friend about how I felt about having children when I grew up, and that I did not want to have kids. I also remember the story about the time I fell out of the passenger-side door as my mother was backing the car out of the driveway and onto Maple Street (a busy main thoroughfare). I have no memory of the event, but I do remember that it was talked about on various occasions throughout my childhood.
My intuition tells me that those two events – the realization of never having kids and falling out of the car onto the street – were related. What I do remember about the incident where I fell out of the car, was that for many years following, whenever the incident was discussed within my family, I would say something to the effect that, "I wasn't hurt because I was run-over by the tire, and they are soft and made of rubber." Lately, I've thought about the incongruity of that statement, and have begun to question how it became something I believed in, and why it was that it went so long without either of my parents (or my siblings) pointing how obviously absurd that story was. In fact, I don't ever remember any of them actually refuting this belief on my part, but rather feel that it was something that I eventually figured out on my own, and quit telling the story like that.
My suspicion about how I decided to never have kids goes something like this:
For years and years, and all throughout my youth, I was deathly afraid of doctors, dentists and being injected. (For example a good story to illustrate; when I was 14, I was bitten by a dog, and taken to the hospital for stitches. They wanted to give me a tetanus shot, but I didn't want it, and ran out of the hospital, and it was about a half-hour later before my parents found me – I had almost made it back home! And, yes, they forced me to get the shot!)
My suspicion is that my mother was going to take me to the doctor or dentist, and that I jumped out of the car door when I figured this out and as she was backing the car onto Maple Street. Maybe I hit my head and that's why I don't remember anything, or maybe it was simply from the shock of seeing a car coming at me? But, the way the story was told, there was traffic on Maple, and I was lucky to have not been killed in the oncoming traffic. My mother used to say that I quickly scrambled / crawled across the street to curb on the other side, and thus avoided being hit by a car.
I think that whatever happened, there was a needle involved, and I see no way that I was able to avoid eventually being jabbed, whether that day or on a later day. No matter what a kid may say or want, the adults always rule, and the kid invariably gets the needle! I think this is where I began listen to and learn from my conscience, and realized that I could never subject another child to such abuse.