Eric Talaska's Childhood
As a young child, I was considered by cute and had a shiny nose. I was of very slender build with long legs. My best friend was Natalie who I played with a lot. She was the daughter of my mother's friend from Germany. I had many other friends in the neighborhood I played with. At that time, the neighborhood was very tight-knit and close – I was able to just walk right in their homes as if I were family. It was also safe to walk around the neighborhood anywhere, anytime and so I did.
We moved to Texarkana, Texas in a nice two story Spanish style house when I was eight in 1977 because my dad got a job transfer. The house was nice, but my parents hung up a boar and deer head way above the stairs. The heads frightened me very much and my parents refused to remove them, so I would sometimes throw a towel over them. Sometimes it seemed the heads moved and I got very scared. There are two famous events I created when left alone at home: 1) I sawed the ends of my bed off because since I was tall, my feet would hit them and 2) out of boredom I shot my .22 rifle through my bedroom wall thinking the holes would be too small for anyone to notice.
I spent a lot of time playing with matchbox cars in the back yard, walking around, riding bicycles, hunting for squirrels within walking distance, etc. The neighborhood was so safe, I was often left to wander for a mile or so with no supervision or anyone to check on me. Every year for Halloween we also safely wandered the streets unsupervised. I spent a tremendous amount of time collecting stamps with my dad. This gave me great attention to detail skills, but I think also made me nearsighted and took far too much of my childhood away. I often mowed neighbor's yards for $20. Sometimes I visited and stayed with my sister and her horse farm in Bridgeport, Texas.
I was frequently exposed to second hand smoke from my parents and sister and tried to avoid it as much as possible, but was really impossible. I was noted as a clean freak and used many towels to walk on between the shower and my bedroom.
The first school I went to was Liberty Benton in Findlay, Ohio. I was a very extroverted child who would be very rowdy by singing in front of the class in the second grade. I was interested in girls too at that very young age, so I think a lot of it was showing off in front of them. I almost always rode the bus to all my schools. Sometimes I liked it when mom picked me up in her showy convertible.
Around 1985, I was in a computer science class where we had Apple IIe & IIc computers with huge floppy drives. On the first day of class, I looked for the power button on the front, but could not find it. The whole class made fun of me and thought I was stupid because the switch is on the back. Well now they are all on the front of course like I know they should have been.
I never had many friends in grade school and spent much time on my own. I often showed up for classes early and sat alone. I was often the first to have a conversation with the teachers because of that. I often ate lunch alone or walked alone to a convenient store to buy snacks. Back then the campus was open and unprotected which is shocking compared to the way it is today. I never dated or had a girlfriend in grade school, but there sure were plenty I was interested in. I never asked any girl out and never went to a prom. I was asked to take a less attractive girl to a prom but declined.
In 1986, just one year before my graduation from the school I had been going to the longest, my dad decided to selfishly move to another school district in Ashdown, Arkansas so he can go fishing more conveniently rather than just waiting one more year. I attended an auto mechanic trade school, but don't recall learning anything. So this was not a very good school and I also didn't do well there, but I graduated.
For all of my adult life, I have occasionally had dreams of my classmates and the school in general of Pleasant Grove because I went there for so long during my developmental years. In 2007, I attended the class of 1987's 20th anniversary reunion, but found the classmates much the same as before: Very snobby and cliquish. I don't keep in touch with any of them.