I was the middle child in our family, the only girl, and the neighborhood was full of boys. Our street was the scene of constant war games, chases, races, bike wrecks, anything to do with sticks or guns and lots and lots of simulated explosions. My mother tells me I was delighted when they let me tag along, which must be true from the looks of this picture. I’m looking adoringly up at “Moose,” who earned his nickname by being a head taller than all the other kids his age. Pat and Timmy were brothers, double trouble. They deserve their own blog post. My brother, Jeff, was still fighting the Civil War back then, forever hopeful that Johnny Reb still had a chance. My younger brother was just a baby at the time of this picture, but he had his own gang coming up through the years, and on our street at least, I was surrounded. How I longed for a sister!
There were girls in the neighborhood too, even though I had to walk a block or two to get to them, so my tomboyish tendencies were balanced out by slumber parties, Nancy Drew and love affairs with horses and B.J.Thomas, respectively. By the time I reached adolescence my admiration for the big boys was tinged with a certain amount of wariness. These guys had apparently not paid much attention to the messages of the time regarding equality of the sexes, but I had been listening and somehow learned to hold my own. I knew that no matter what they said, it was not the little sister’s job to bring chips and sandwiches to the basement during the ball games, and when we got the 8-track player in the Mercury Marquis and were each given money to buy the cassette of our choice, I would not be shamed by my preference for Bobby Sherman’s Easy Come, Easy Go over the Rolling Stones. Despite such small rebellions, we still got along pretty well, however, and the early lessons of drawing boundaries and knowing what I like have served me well.
It’s different for Angel, who in the novel grows up almost exclusively surrounded by women, and her longing is for an intact family. But as you will learn, she has her own boys in the ‘hood and has to discover her own boundaries there as well. Although her experience on that score is much more disturbing than any I can claim, the parallel of each of us trying to sort out our place in the world is universal.
Looking forward to sharing her story with you!
ANGEL by Mary E. Kingsley, will be available in paperback and ebook starting mid-November at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and anywhere books are sold.