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Rated: E · Preface · Experience · #837500
{b} Bio/background info for early projects of"Hermanator" to Writing.com{/b}
When I started grade school in 1952,Harry Truman was president, and most of the other kid's Dads were World War 2 Veterans. Hatred for Germans, and all things German was a palpable thing in small-town Indiana.
I was taunted daily with little rhymes like " Herman the German,the bow-legged Vermin" and more obscene jibes that I fortunately didn't understand at the time.
The fact that I was named for the county's most revered Physician, and that our families roots were in Wales, made no difference.
The fact that I was starting first grade 3 weeks before my fifth birthday didn't exactly endear me to the local rednecks either.
This early entry was due in part to my older sister Linda, who was a genius,and started early too, based on the fact that my Grandfather,(Herman the 1st), had taught her to read the newspaper at 4 years old.

I probably wouldn't have resented my name so badly if all my siblings had weird old-fashioned names too. My brothers are named David,Robert, and Stephen, and I couldn't appreciate that I was the first child born after my Grandfather's death, and that it was an honor to bear his name.

Weird name not withstanding,I had other issues with school. I was an unusually shy child, and I was bored with school from the start. Having read my brother's and sister's copies of Dick and Jane long before, I almost refused to stand up in class and read "See Spot run, Spot can run fast". I was already reading Mark Twain's books, and would spend hours gazing out the classroom window, daydreaming about Tom Sawyeresque adventures, and about the forts, wigwams, and other projects my brother and I had going on in our 40 acres of woods.

As a result of all that escapist behavior, my teachers always found it necessary to note on my report cards that "Herman doesn't participate well in class activities, and daydreams constantly". When written below straight A's, these comments didn't concern my parents overly much.

My academic career continued about the way it began,I changed schools a couple of times, skipping a grade each time, and soon found myself a 12 year old High School freshman, with no math skills, and a social outcast due to my parent's divorce, a shocking event in rural Indiana of the "1950's".

I believe that all children of divorce are deeply affected by it, but it was much more intense in it's negativity during the conservative "50's". There were actually some kids who weren't allowed to come play at our house. I guess their parents must have thought our house was a breeding ground for anarchy, and juvenile delinquency !. What with no father present? Those children just run wild,..and their poor Mother, there are so many of them, that she can't keep track !
These small-minded people never seemed to notice that we were always clean, well dressed, and had near perfect attendance at school and church.
It took me some time to get over these slights by our neighbors, and actually, the whole 'broken family' thing. I'm still the only one of my siblings who has only married once, so I think the whole divorce thing is a self-perpetuating cycle.

In recent years, I find that my peace of mind means more to me than an intimate relationship. This is very strange, because I spent so much time and energy in my youth,(teens through 45), making sure that I always had a live-in lover, and one waiting when I was tired of the present one, or she tired of me. I believed I couldn't live without daily sex, and when circumstances made me celibate, I found the first clarity of mind, and inner calm that I had ever known.
I wouldn't want to tell any of my younger male friends about this clarity and calm, because they would laugh in my face, much as I would have done had some old dude told me that in my younger days. I have mentioned it to some older acquaintances when I have observed them obsessing over their lack of a 'girlfriend', and some have even listened without scoffing.
In retrospect,I see that these childhood traumas and dramas helped toughen me up for what I would endure in the service of my country, and in my young adulthood as a single-parent.
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