Portrait of the Artist as an Eighth Grader
By way of my very dear friend Jackie Kahn, who was the secretary of my elementary school while I was there, two pictures of me when I was but a youngin’. The larger one is me in the eighth grade, when I attended Sandberg Middle School in Glendora, California; the smaller one is me in either fifth or sixth grade, when I was at Ben Lomond Elementary, in Covina. Yes, I once had hair; it would have been rather depressing to be balding at age twelve.
And what was I like when I was twelve? Oh, you know, pretty much as you would expect: A precocious little dude who spent a lot of his time reading, playing D&D with his friend Tom Zimmer, Intellivision with Jim Cave (who was well over six feet tall in seventh grade) and riding bikes with Mike Burns (who is now Burns! of some Internet note), and, yes, reading more than a bit of science fiction, although not just science fiction — eighth grade was when I read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, and I remember at least a couple of my teachers being somewhat disconcerted as I walked about school with that particular tome tucked under my arm. But in all I don’t think anyone who knew me then would be at all surprised that I grew up to become a writer, and notably a science fiction writer at that.
It’s kind of neat to look back at these pictures and see some of the same features staring back at me in prototype form; in particular my eyes look pretty much exactly the same. Looking at them in a 12-year-old setting also reminds me that they are one feature Athena’s inherited from me (as I inherited them from my mother); it’s nice to see the continuity from generation to generation. If I could go back, I might give myself a slightly more stylish hairstyle, but other than that, well. Welcome to me, in 1982 form.