"It's a boy Missus Walker, it's a boy.
It's a boy Missus Walker, It's a boy.
A son. A son." -- From "Tommy" Conceptual Album by The Who
James has a surprisingly large amount of childhood memories from before she could ever talk. Mind you, she did take a little while longer to start talking. This mostly because it just simply required pointing out WHY she should have learned how to talk.
I mean--when your parents go through all sorts of troubles to go through that cupboard you pointed at screaming to get what it is you want--you really have no reason to ask for crackers. You get the crackers just fine anyways. The results are essentially the same. Except your parents are little bit less irritable if you just ask for the crackers.
For some reason, for an action that got, more or less, the desired results, but was not the typical response parents expect a child to do, the parents thought James may have been retarded or possibly slightly deaf.
I dunno--I look at it this way, if I could point in a general direction of something I wanted. And started screaming, and got it after a short amount of time screaming, I would think that I was getting a pretty good idea. As it did get the desired results--and I had to put no effort into it. Maybe I am kind of retarded, as I think most people, would also like to have this sort of gig too.
Imagine it this way. You want ice cream. So you just point to the freezer and let out a high pitch shrill. After a bit of trial and error, you find you have ice cream in front of your face. Now since you have not been given any reason to think that this method really has any flaws (I mean, you got your ice cream--and it is made of nom... except for that vaguely almond taste), why would you really be interested in doing anything different?
That is--until your younger brother points at the cupboard, and says "crackers", and gets the crackers without much issue.
Oh right, first things first, James is the first born in this family. She also has a younger brother who is about a year and six months younger.
James' memories mostly include crawling around, trying to drink the drags from various beer bottles left around that the adults seemed to really enjoy drinking from. There was rarely any drags left in them. If there was a spot in the house for her to crawl to--she would crawl there.
Other memories include one night she was feeling really sick and got some Vic's baby rub on her chest. They played some music on her Dad's stereo system that night--and were generally sitting around like well--a loving family. This is possibly one of James' most happy and serene memories of her entire life. Keep in mind, at this point she was under a fair amount of effects from various cold and flu remedies--and still very new to this world.
There was also the time that she visited her Mom's Dad. She felt weird around him. She also really did not like Mom's Dad's place. The food was weird--and generally poorly cooked. They were also way to anal about keeping the place clean. I mean, there is clean, and there is getting way too stressed out about making everything spotless and sterile.
I mean--it may have been justified if the furniture was really that nice and the food was actually fairly decent. However, this was a family of Irish people who just came over about sixteen years prior to escape various riots in Ireland. What they had so far was--quite a bit more than a lot of people in their condition. It still was not that nice--except for a few items. Most of it was cheap furniture from the 1970s--and really--they went way too over board on making certain it was spotless.
Though, when Baby James did visit her Dad's parents, she did enjoy it a lot more. That side was a lot more fun to be with. Grandpa would tell variants of Dad's stories and even a few more. While I cannot be certain if this was a later memory that James had, but well, she regales of her Grandpa taking one of Grandma's cookies (which were awesome--James wanted to learn how to make them just as good), and just putting it into his fist in front of James. Then, slowly crushing it in his hand until it was dust on the table. He pointed at it, "that is the way the cookie crumbles."
James mentions that her Dad at one point took some milk from their fridge, and poured a little bit onto the floor. And started crying. Only to tell her that this was another story that came from her grandfather.
There was the one time that she was up past her bed time, and wanted to go exploring. She was unable to go up the stairs due to a stair guard. So she went into the furnace room. This was the most scariest experience of this period in her life. The shadows that were everywhere seemed to move on their own accord. Crawling over each other. She screamed at the terror and ran to her room. Only to find Mom somehow found out about her being out of bed.
There was also the weird event where quite a few strange people showed up that occurred at a (thankfully) rare amount. Most of who she barely knew. They would sit all around a table and talk and gather. Giving James way more attention than was comfortable. There would be sweet food and gifts. When they did this for her brother it was mostly because he needed it (in her mind), as she had to go through it, so her brother had to go through it. As well--it made her feel better to be able to pass on the awkward and alarming experience onto somebody else. Though, she did like the hats they wore. Silly hats of glitter and sparkles--sometimes with ribbons attached.
She does not remember much else of this life. Really no memories of the family dog Odis--except he was there every now and then.
Her father she did not remember seeing much. When he was there he was stretching before going out for a jog. Which she would try to impersonate and copy his stretches. He also seemed to have a few drinks with friends. He was fun when played with her. Especially when he put her up on his shoulders and carried her around.
This was life for Baby James in Calgary. Until she moved to a town, in rural northern Alberta, about an hour's drive north of Edmonton. She would soon be moving to a small oil town, were she could meet a lot of new people, and make a lot of new friends.