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You’re 12 years old. It’s your birthday. Write for ten minutes on that memory. GO.

Since my twelfth birthday was 54 years ago, remembering much about it is going to be a stretch. I remember little about my childhood; I have a few photos to remind me of how things have changed since then, but the majority of it is a blur with little punctuation marks of significant events.

I can assure you of this, when I was twelve, we were still children. Of course, we’d noticed boys and giggled about them, but nothing like today’s goings on. I was in 7th grade at age 12; when I was kindergarten age, there were no kindergartens in our town in Ohio. So my mom, believing I was ready for school, put me in first grade when I was five, so I didn’t turn 18 until my first year of college. It didn’t matter; I was up to the work, and a my development seemed to be on a par with the other girls I hung out with.

I went to a small Lutheran School, which went on through 8th grade. I remember loving it; it was like an extended family, but like the parochial schools of the time, there was one year where I was in a combined 5/6 class and there were 52 in the classroom. We sat shoulder to shoulder, desk to desk. Still, the teachers were committed to our learning and personal development, and I had a chance to use many of the talents I had then whereas at a larger school I may not have had the opportunities.

We had a lot of pajama parties then, and I have no reason to think I didn’t have one. We probably had something inspired like pizza (some things don’t change), and I’m sure my mother baked me a chocolate cake. We would have stayed up too late, being very silly in that hyperactive adolescent girl way. At some point in my youth we had a scary movie on every Friday (or Saturday) night hosted by some vampirish woman, so we may have watched that. Certainly there were no videos then. You were kind of stuck with the limited amount of programming that was on the box.

I have always thought that childhood needs to play itself out, that is a child should be entitled to do childish things as long as possible. In those days we did. We were much more naive and innocent. I’m glad I had that opportunity to be child for as long as possible.

And my ten minutes is up.

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