In the early days of my memory, colors were not memorable or perhaps my brain was not developed enough for colors to form memories. My oldest memory of color was my first home in Lawndale, California. The house was painted yellow with white trim abound the windows and front door. Next to the front door was a wall with a small octagonal window also with white trim. I still have no memory of the colors of the inside of the house.
I finally arrived at that age of mobility and language. Along with it came a bit more of color memory. We got a pet dog. It must have been viewed as MY dog because I was allowed to name her. The song “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” was popular then (at least within my home or nursery school) so, I named her “Bonnie”. Because she was a purebred collie, my parents listed her name on the registration papers as “Lady Bonita” thinking that it more closely befitted her. To me, she was just Bonnie. Bonnie was black with a white mane as I remember. She was a good toddler sitter and playmate playfully knocking me down and licking my face as she was still less than a year old. She would pitch a fit barking and whining whenever I would open the gate of our home’s white picket-fence. I can “see” in my mind the fence, gate, and the yard but, not the grass. I have seen photos of the house and yard so I know it had grass which logically was probably green but I have no memory of its color.
As I wrote above, Bonnie would pitch a fit if I left the yard but left her inside the fence. Of course this would bring my mother out to see what the fuss was all about and managed to cut my explorations (interpret that as “freedom”) very short lived. This happened so often that my escapes lasted increasingly shorter and shorter.
Necessity, being the mother of inventions, and Shirley, being my mother, often had major discussions about me. Mom wanted me to stay in the yard. Necessity provided her with methods of securing the gate so I could not open it. They both failed. I opened every attempt to keep the gate locked. Necessity’s son, Precocious, had been arguing that I should not be confined to the yard since I needed to explore. So he decided to defy the two mothers and keep me safe at the same time. He gave me the idea of taking Bonnie with me whenever I would leave the yard. First, I would put Bonnie in my red wagon and pull her about the yard. Then when I judged that no one was looking, I opened the gate and pulled her out with me. Guess what! No fit pitching. I was then off-to-the-races. My mother worried less because she knew she could find me by looking for the dog also. Besides, I always went to the house two doors down to visit another boy who lived there — without permission of course.
At the age of three or four, my color memory was beginning to yield results. Arriving at that age about the same time that we moved to a new house in Redondo Beach, California. That house was purchased through the VA. It was white stucco on the outside with a brown porch railing. The windows were trimmed in a mid-range light-blue. My bedroom had a circus motif linoleum floor with blue walls and a red ceiling meant to resemble a circus tent. I had a Bozo the Clown light switch whose red bulbous nose was pushed up or down to operate the ceiling light. Blue became my favorite color ever since then up to this day.
In 2010 I finally admitted to myself that I was normal and attracted to males. Surprisingly, along with that attraction came an increasing appreciation for and interest in shades of purple. This interest in purple is vying for the position of my favorite color. It is so strong an attraction, I asked a friend if gay men gravitate to the color because they are gay — a manifestation of gayness perhaps. In my case, it may be true but, I am not convinced yet. I remember another possible cause. When I was two-years old, my mother took me to a baby show, which was a popular thing to do back then. I was crowned King of my show.
Purple has been associated with royalty for many centuries. I think that my attraction to purple has to do with my royal past inserting its influence over my favorite color changing from blue to purple as it is more fitting to my heritage.
The next time I attend our Telling Your Story group, I will be wearing my Royal Purple shirt. You may then call me “Your Highness”, “King John”, or “Purple Dude”. Just don’t call me “Late for Dinner”.
© 6 Mar 2016
About the Author
When united with my mother and stepfather two years later in 1958, I lived first at Emerald Bay and then at South Lake Tahoe, California, graduating from South Tahoe High School in 1966. After three tours of duty with the Air Force, I moved to Denver, Colorado where I lived with my wife and four children until her passing away from complications of breast cancer four days after the 9-11 terrorist attack.
I came out as a gay man in the summer of 2010. I find writing these memories to be therapeutic.
My story blog is TheTahoeBoy.Blogspot.com