One. Two. Three. Four. Boys were born twelve months apart to a couple living in a house down the block in the community of my early childhood. Talented and hardworking. The parents of all four boys were gainfully employed as teachers.
As each child arrived, careful plans were made and special funds were started so that each child might attend college at eighteen. Pennies. Nickels. Dimes. Quarters. Kennedy half-dollars. Coins were dropped in jars for the funds. Regular deductions were taken from the checks of each parent.
Wanting what was best for their boys, both parents began taking progressively better jobs with more responsibilities, higher pay and more hours away from home. With the longer work hours, the couple cast about for proper childcare. Care was found. Yet, at times, it seemed as though the boys were becoming feral or as though they existed in two separate worlds—that orderly world of their parents’ preordained desire and the sphere of chaos they created under the watch of even the most trusted childcare providers.
From my childhood perspective, theirs was a house of loosely supervised mayhem down the block, floating like an untethered island on the move in a very large lake.
Turning the corner from boyhood to manhood, each man-child piled into his individual dinghy and left the mayhem of the island behind, setting a course for some point far, far away. Not one of those boys chose to pack his bags, load the family car and make the journey to university with his parents’ carefully planned financial support.