Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Puberty, Jim has hair.

As a very young teenager I was shy about my incipient physical attributes of change. Though I slept in the same room as my brothers, I was careful. One of my young brothers however, caught me unawares one day and ran down stairs with the loud announcement to all that "Jim has hair!" My father raced up the stairs in great anticipation and pulled down my pajamas, greeting my wisps of hair with satisfaction. It's amazing that I was able to avoid detection up to that time as we, in those days, were still using the galvanized tub in the kitchen for Saturday night bathing. I was the oldest boy and probably the dirtiest, so tended to bath last, when everyone else was clean and in pajamas. I must have been stealthy as we had only a kitchen and a living room in the railway station living quarters on the main floor. The close quarters and the intense exposure of all of our habits to one another, was such a departure from today's separation and the demands of privacy as a way of life. Everyone in the family knew everyone's business because of the physical nature of the living quarters. The only one who was able to achieve a modicum of privacy was my mother, but even that was marginal. Gives new meaning to, "they were a very close family."

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