We lived on the third floor of an apartment building in Brighton Beach. It was my Sister and Brother and I sleeping in the bedroom, my brother and I with bunk beds. My Mom and Dad slept in the living room on a fold out couch. We all loved each other very much and do till this day – at least the living members who I can contact. I mention the cramped conditions not to evoke sympathy but for you to have a scene of how we lived.
It was not until years later when we moved to California that I discovered people did not all live in high rises (except for my Aunt Sally and Uncle Hy in Queens who was from a different world anyway, but more of them, later.) There I was in my one bedroom surrounded by people who loved me no matter how mean I occasionally was to them, with a very large need for privacy. This is probably how my habit ow waking early, about 4 am daily began, a need to get away and to be alone in my childhood fantasy world.
I created anxiety in my parents from a young age as I would crawl up three flights to the roof, fascinated by the view. And anxiety in my siblings by trying things I was curious about, like the dark, on them. That is the meanness I talked about because if I was scared of course most likely so would they. I cringe to this day when I see them when I think of my ‘experiments’ and how as an older brother it was my duty, which I understood, to interact with them well.
My parents should have something about this, especially our mom who stayed home and saw more of our activities than our Dad. When we were little kids I was quite precocious and seemed that I was destined for one of the chosen fields, like lawyer, or doctor or politician. I was tops at the elementary school we attended, being tops some of us students (and their parents) wanted. So did I, but the price was high. I became nauseated every Sunday and had a very string headache. I lost one day a week of much of my childhood. My mom would joke with me when I got a 97 on some project or paper – “Very good, Richie, – but what happened to the three other points?”
What she didn’t realize was that set my inner drive for the rest of my life.
What happened to the other three points?