KEVIN HAD CRAZY PARENTS. Even the crazy parents kind of thought they were crazy. I grew up in New York and crazy is relative, but I don’t mean a cool kind of crazy. I refer to the kind of people that worried about the corruption of their children by “satanic” Gargamel on The Smurfs and did the unthinkable: prohibited the beloved childhood ritual of my generation known as watching Saturday Morning Cartoons. Every neighborhood had a family like that, but Kevin’s parents were the stuff of school bus legend.
They were afraid of everything, and remained untouched by disco, the sexual revolution and rock n’ roll. They didn’t like television and they never bought Atari. They were uncomfortably turned on by Josie And The Pussycats and thought that playing the piano was the only thing their kid Kevin wanted to do with his hands.
"I felt like every mother in the development was seeing the word “penis” above my head. They just had to look away, or the word might burn their eyes."
They were the filter, the bureau, the soap to the bubble- and yet, Kevin wasn’t a jerk. For all I know, his shut in little sister might still be sitting in her pink room with her Holly Hobby.
But Kevin ended up cool as hell and now that I think of it, I should google his ass.
Kevin did what many kids do to escape suburban repression. He dug a tunnel around them and popped up in the backyard of the foul mouthed girl with little supervision that the neighbors called “Pippi”. And he wasn’t the only one. These poor bastards borrowed my comic books, thumbed through medical books, and even checked out racks in the National Geographics.
We always had these hippie guests that would never leave in our spare rooms and they soon became the source of the good stuff, especially the feminist college student chicks that left the bathroom doors open and talked about tampons.
When Kevin started to go “for runs” every afternoon, I figured he was my boyfriend. The crazy genes had left his eyes. We were growing up fine.
Things were ok until he got curious about sex and we sent him home with Judy Blume’s “Forever”.
Now some of you might be old enough to recall that in the seventies, the author of many childhood staples such as ‘Freckle Juice” and “Superfudge” wrote a young adult book that caused an uproar because it dealt with teenagers and sex. All hell broke loose when Kevin’s mother found him asleep with the book of her nightmares and when word spread that it was mine I felt like every mother in the development was seeing the word “penis” above my head.
They just had to look away, or the word might burn their eyes.
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