I have been a cynic since the fifth grade. In my opinion, I’m lucky I made it that far. I can pinpoint the exact moment that my life changed for the worse. It was going so well. We lived in a nice neighborhood. We had a pool at our house. We had a sauna in our house. We had a bidet in our house. We moved into this house in 1978, people. Mothah, who is like 5 ft. 2 (if that) , drove a Cadillac. Granted, it did look like a pimp mobile. It was navy blue with some glitter in the paint and it was a two door. It was loooong. I think it may have been called a sedan-de-ville. It had crackled white leather seats and a white leather top and wire wheels. Can’t you just hear some Curtis Mayfield playing in the background as you are reading? Superfly…. I know you are laughing your asses off, just imagining this. When my brother or I would get out of the car, the doors were so heavy, we could not hold onto them and they would go flying off onto the sidewalk and get stuck, making this awful scraping sound. ( I am laughing my ass off just typing this) We could lay in the back window, on the speaker area- and we loved to do that. I think Eli and I could lay up there at the same time-one of our head’s at each end. Seat belts existed back then, but of course were not a requirement. Daddy had an orange Corvette. God, that thing was U-G-L-Y-it-didn’t-have-no-alibi-it was UGLY, but baby, we were stylin’ and profilin’. I walked to school or rode my bike, and guess what? The school was not in sight from my house. In fact, it was about a mile away. I don’t remember anything sinister ever happening. Imagine that. Well….except for the time that I cut through a yard I was not supposed to cut through, and these people’s dog bit me on the butt. Mothah said, “Well, Jennifah, you shouldn’t have cut through their yahd.” Imagine that. We used to roller skate up and down the hill in front of my house in boot skates with metal wheels. I can remember saving up my babysitting money (.50 an hour) to buy the skates. They were $12.99. Skating down that hill is how I broke my wrist. We played in the creek behind my house. We played “Cowboys and Indians” and none of us had ever heard the phrase politically correct before. We played with all different kinds of toy weapons-guns, knives, bows and arrows. We loved cap guns too-those were lots of fun! None of it was never deemed inappropriate. We ran in a pack of neighborhood kids-after school and in the summer. It was just the way it was. Life was carefree and fun-until the fifth grade. I almost hit a snag before the fifth grade , when a friend of mine told me about the horrors of sex. I think that was around the third or fourth grade. I was certain she was wrong about all of that. That was such vile and disgusting information– I had to go to Mothah and ask-just to make sure that something so nasty was not in my future. I was instantly sorry I had opened that can of worms. It resulted in my having to watch NOVA’s The Miracle of Life video and then having a Q and A session with Mothah afterwards, that was mostly silent. NOVA had explained it all very well. The only real question I had was, “How could I get out of doing it ?” and I don’t recall asking Mothah that. I could forget about sex, I decided. I just put that nasty junk out of my mind, as it was a long way off for me. Sex was nothing compared to the complete and utter devastation that came in fifth grade, when this same friend, who shall remain nameless, as we are still friends today, informed me that indeed, there was no Santa. I assured her that this time, she was dead up wrong and how dare she take the name of Santa in vain like that? She started laughing and asked me how I could actually believe that a fat man in a red suit traveled in a sleigh, with reindeer, to every house on earth, in one night, delivering gifts to every child? I thought about that for a moment and had to admit that the idea was a bit ludicrous….yet I went back to defending the great name of Santa….When I got home from school, I went to Mothah, hoping like hell she was going to tell me that of course, my friend had it all wrong, Santa was totally real! He was magic! Magic was real! Yet, to my disappointment, that is not what happened. She told me a beautiful story about how Santa is love. Santa is how your parents show their love for you at Christmas time. I can’t remember now exactly how she said it, but it was beautiful and we both cried. I looked at her, sobbing, and I said, “Well, I guess this means that there is no Easter Bunny and no Tooth Fairy either?” and she nodded her head. And that was it. Fuckety fuck me. Life, as I knew it, was over. And things have never been the same again, and they never will be. I will say that things improved, somewhat, when I had children of my own, and could do the whole Santa-Easter Bunny-Tooth Fairy-thing myself, but, it’s still not the same as it was . It will never be the same as it was. Damn it.