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  • I remember the summer of 1982. We lived in Rochester with Dad while Mom and Aunt Debbie sunbathed topless in our Ohio backyard, blankets strewn to protect their privacy. Mom thinks it might have been 1983 but Dad thinks I'm right...

    How can anyone forget the year of her divorce?

    I remember New York and living close enough to get news of the city but not close enough to see it. The Statue of Liberty needed repairs; her right arm was swaying. Decades would pass before I would see her.

    I remember Niagara Falls. The US side. The Canadian side. Grandpa Palmer came from North Dakota and went with us to take a boat through the spray.

    I remember Toronto, riding a roller coaster, eating croissants. The flakes irritated my throat (I had strep) and gave me a lifelong disdain for flaky bread products, but I think that might have been a later trip.

    I remember running barefoot through the grass behind the apartment and slicing my foot on a piece of broken glass.

    I remember my brother's broken leg – a girl pushed him off the slide. Two days and many states later, he went to the hospital to have his leg examined and cast; he rode for weeks in the stroller Grandpa Dean's company had made, the hard white plastic stroller with the pink plastic seat that folded into a suitcase. We were too old for strollers by then, but I was jealous.

    I remember reading a digital clock.

    "The clock says three, dot, dot, two, three."

    "What time is it now?"

    Pad, pad, pad, pad, pad.

    "The clock says three, dot, dot, two, seven."

    I remember drawing a bird that looked like a bird instead of a v in the sky of my pencil drawing. It was a birthday card for a girl who lived across the parking lot and my heart broke at the thought of losing my bird. I traced it on page after page after page, but it never looked the same and eventually, the handmade card was given.

    I remember the swimming pool. Catching frogs in the grass. Playing with other kids from the apartment block, but I don't remember the names of any of them.

    I remember our babysitters but only vaguely. One of them let my 10-year-old sister drive. My sister remembers the babysitters sitting around, getting stoned, while we played poker for pennies. I was six, my brother five.

    I remember learning to play poker as we watched MTV and I waited for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. I love rock 'n' roll so put another dime in the jukebox, baby. I love rock 'n' roll so come and take your time and dance with me.

    I remember walking to the corner store and buying candy with the pennies we won and quarters from the babysitter.

    I remember Dad telling me to eat a carrot as it came because he didn't want to peel it.
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