My Fourth Year – 1958-1959

Ride 'em Cowgirl!

Thank goodness for a year when I don’t really remember much about what happened and there aren’t many sources to provide details. This will be a short post. If it weren’t for years like this one, I’d never make it through my year-a-day challenge.

I’m about to outgrow this hobby horse (in the picture I mean – not now) but it was a favorite toy. At times I would bounce it so hard it would come off the floor. My mother recalls that she and Nana didn’t want me to have it but Buck got it for me when I was two. I can’t say I remember riding it, but the picture evokes a happy feeling and I’ve definitely seen home movies of me bouncing at a breakneck clip. My guess is that this picture was taken in the side yard at Nana’s house in Cleveland.

I know that when Daddy got out of the Navy we lived at 10831 Clifton Boulevard. My mother (now 81) actually remembered that address! I also confirmed it by checking the city directory for Cleveland and sure enough – that’s were we lived! I was surprised to see how close it is Lake Erie.

Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday to Me

Spoiler alert – I am an only child. I’d like to think I avoided all of the negative personality traits associated with being an only child but I’m sure I didn’t. I don’t think I am particularly selfish or socially awkward. I’m not too demanding, but I definitely have strong opinions about how things should be done. I am very independent – but if that is a trait I developed because I am an only child – so much the better. I have a hard time asking for help but sometimes harbor resentment that people don’t do more to help me (okay so maybe I got a few of the negative traits.) But all in all, I didn’t really mind it that much.

I’m sure there were times when I wanted a sibling (probably a sister) but instead, I got a “little uncle.”  You’ll learn more about him in my next post. Nana and Buck adopted a son who was born in January 1959 but the adoption was not completed until December 1959. For most of his first year, Kenny was cared for by his mother’s aunt who was Nana and Buck’s landlord. That is how they found out that his mother could not keep him. Sad in a way, but also very fortunate because I can’t think of a better set of parents than Nana and Buck. I also got the benefit of growing up with someone who was like a brother, but did not detract from my parents’ focus on me.

The time I most wished I had siblings was after my parents divorced and I was the only one available to take care of my father as his health declined. It would have been nice to have a sibling to share the load – on the other hand, I didn’t have to deal with the conflict that sometimes arises when siblings want different things for their parents. I was in complete control and I liked that. Control freak? Hmmm. . .  maybe, but as I’ve gotten older, I think my need to be in control has diminished. The negative aspects of that trait usually surface when someone tries to control me, so I try to avoid those situations.

Me with another four-legged friend.
Me with another four-legged friend.

So I’ll wrap up this account of my 4th year with a few more photos and hope you’ll check back tomorrow to see what’s in store as I get close to school age. Hint – there’ll be another detailed account from JBK, which despite the obvious bias of a doting grandfather, does offer a contemporaneous account of what was going on at various times in my life.


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