Album 1: My Early Years

One month old and, from the looks of hair sticking straight up, I must have seen a ghost already. We lived in an old Victorian house in Wheeling, West Virginia (similar to the one where Danny and Christina live in The Very Real Ghost Book of Christina Rose). 


Here I am as a "rarin'-to-go" toddler. When I found my legs, I liked climbing the stairs to show off what a good West Virginia mountaineer I was. This picture appeared in the local newspaper, for reasons that escape me. It was one of my grandmother's favorite photos of me.


I also liked exploring our house. It had a secret passage between my bedroom and my parents' bedroom. Plus, it had a very dark attic and basement. And for a time, when I was little, we had a woman named Miss Lizzie living in the attic. It was a fun place to grow up.

The scariest house I ever encountered was my grandmother's house in Parkersburg, West Virginia. She lived in a neighborhood full of big houses with turrets and leaded-glass windows and dark and spooky attics. She had an unused room (closed and shuttered) at the bottom of her stairs...right next to the only bathroom in the house.

What would a childhood by without embarrassing photos taken while on vacation, and my parents took their fair share of those photos of me. I'll share this "rest stop" in the 1950s. They carried the potty chair in the car when we went on vacation.



Here I am in St. Augustine, FL, looking a lot like Indiana Jones (though he hadn't been created yet). I liked Howdy Doody and Hopalong Cassidy and Winky Dink (the first "interactive" TV cartoon that only worked with a plastic overlay and a grease pencil).



As a young child, my most favorite activity was playing outside in the snow. Since we lived in West Virginia, there seemed to be plenty of snow every winter. Once I built my snowman, I would go sledding.

My parents believed in dressing me like a little man...from another century? Here I am in my tweed double-breasted coat and cap. They also made me wear bow ties and short pants with my Buster Browns.





Of course, I wanted to grow up to be a baseball player...but the uniform didn't quit fit. My favorite team then was the Cleveland Indians, but I was also a big Brooklyn Dodger fan. I collected baseball cards, too.