30 Years Ago 

As I began 2006, I woke up and strangely recalled 1976. That year was big in my youth. I was 9-years-old and it was a big birthday for the nation. I recall the Six Million Dollar Man lunchbox I had, spying on my 12-year-old neighbor making out with her boyfriend under the deck of her house, silver moonboots, designer jeans (yes, even for 9-year-olds) and rummaging in the neighbor's trash. I remember finding broken fishing rods and girls clothes, which I tried on in the basement of our house--my only foray into crossdressing. I checked that life experience off my list early.

Fourth grade--now that year was strange. It was my last at Walnut Hills Elementary in Englewood, Colorado, before my family moved north to a little farm outside Greeley. The school was modern for its time, with "pods" instead of classrooms. It experimented with multiple teachers for the classes, a rarity for grade school kids. Once I started fifth grade in my new school later that year, we went back to the single-teacher, single-classroom elementary school model. It was a time of innocence, but it was also a time when I was scared shitless about burning up in an nuclear attack. Nowadays, my kids are scared of terrorists. Life doesn't change much, does it?

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