Finish the Autobiography

I’ve participated in a few of the “Finish the Story” Threads. I don’t know if this variation has ever been done.

Here’s how I think we should work it. You gotta pick up where the last post finished, but you gotta use your own life. So if the post prior to yours ends with highschool graduation you pick up the story at “summer after highschool graduation” age.


You are allowed to be inventive when it comes to segues. Like, if the prior post ends with “at age 12 I lost my legs in a car accident” but for your own personal age 13 you won the long jump at your middle school track meet you’ve got to explain how you won the long jump without any legs.

Young Dopers, if you want to join in you gotta contribute early. Once we pass your age, you’re out!



I was born the second of six children to a school teacher father and a stay at home mother. I was a very vocal child and expressed my opinions with great force at an early age- such that, when my grandmother would babysit, she would sit with me on the front porch so that the neighbors could see with their own eyes that, although I was screaming non-stop, she was not actually beating me.

At the age of two I put a purple Smartie (sugar candy) up my nose. My young newly initiated mother paniced when she could not get it out and she rushed me to the hospital. Finally the doctor saw us after we had been waiting for some time. My mother explained the situation with much distress not noticing that, by this time, the snot from my runny nose had dissolved the candy and I now had a stream of purple snot running down my face.

When I was three my little sister was born.

My mother did one good thing for me as I was growing up: She taught me to read before I started kindergarten. Thanks to her, I became addicted to books.

The books I learned from were collections of Walt Kelly’s Pogo comic strip. leaving me a lifelong comics fan, and making me the only child born & raised in Chicago with a faux Southern accent.

When I was in the second grade we moved across town and I had to start attending a different elementary school. I missed my previous teacher, she was young and vibrant. My new teacher was a gray haired old maid, who told me I wasn’t supposed to be so far ahead in our reading book, after I showed her how I figured out a new word on my own.

When I was in the third grade, we had a really pretty teacher named “Mrs. Stupas”. Everyone called her Mrs. Stupid. I was a really good kid, but the goal of most of the kids was to make the subsitutes cry. I barely remember anything else about 3rd grade.

Except that I do remember that in 3rd grade we studied astronomy. We had to bring in balloons of different sizes, and make papier-maché models of the planets. One kid brought in a huge beach ball for Jupiter. When we were finished, the teacher hung the best of each planet from the ceiling. Jupiter was hung right over my head.

Sure enough, one day Jupiter fell out of orbit, right onto my head.

I missed several days in third grade due to a tonsillectomy. I don’t remember much of the surgery, just that I got a stuffed bear I called Yum Yum.

In fourth grade, I had the misfortune of having a fairly annoying teacher. He seemed to have it in for me- for some reason or another- and he tended to show it in class. I still got a good grade in his class, which makes his behavior even more peculiar.

Sixth grade was my best year of school ever, thanks to Mr. Bradbury. A first year teacher who still had all his enthusiasm, he liked science fiction, and even encouraged us to write sci-fi stories. He read us a chaper of The Hobbit each day, which introduced me to fantasy as well. Because of the sci-fi and fantasy interests he developed in me, I’ve met people and done things, like cons, that I would never have thought about before. Mr. Bradbury even invited us to his wedding, the summer following school, and I spent all of seven dollars on a butter dish, creamer, and s&p shakers made to look like cut glass. that was the first time I wore nylon stockings.

In seventh grade I flunked out of the very upscale all-white private school where I had gone since I was five. (The only reason my family was able to afford it was because my mother was a teacher there; though our middle class family probably reduced the average income of the families enrolled there by a decimal point, but my older brother and older sister both graduated as valedictorians from the school.) Suddenly I was enrolled in public school twenty miles away where not only was there no central A/C but teachers had to supply box fans from their own pocket (one teacher had a heat-stroke my first week there) and where kids not only were not sheltered snobby Christians but used words in casual conversation so sexually explicit I had to ask my brother to define them. On the up side you weren’t sneered at for buying shoes at K-Mart but considered one of the haves if you were the first person ever to wear your shoes, and where not only did the principal not pull you into his office and personally cut your hair if it touched your collar but there were black kids with full afros (a decade too late to be fashionable) and kids of all races and genders who were already sporting moustaches in 8th grade. It was a culture shock to say the least, though for the first time I became one of the most “famous” if not most popular kids in the school when the rumor began that I was a space alien; my nickname for years was Space Invaders. Best of times, worst of times…

The summer after 7th grade I had my first girlfriend.

Both our families spent our summers at the Jersey shore. We had been in sailing classes together for a few summers in a row and had been flirting since preadolescence.

“Dating” meant that we would hang out in the evenings with a group of friends and walk up and down the boardwalk, eating junk food and loitering at the amusement park.

Towards the end of the evening we would walk down to the beach and find a vacant lifeguard stand and enjoy our privacy until curfew was up. First time in the lifeguard stand I was pretty intimidated. I went to Catholic grade school, but she went to public school. I had no first hand knowledge of public schools, but I just knew for sure that she’d know instantly that I’d never put my tongue in anyone else’s mouth before.

If I did poorly she never let on. As the summer wore on, she even let me touch her boobs!