908 Ballywood (for a long time an address for some family other than the Kenneth Lee Fords) was where I grew up; a house my father had built when I was two years old. I know my room wasn’t part of the original floor plan, an add-on with two entrances, to get to it you either had to go through my parents’ bedroom or my sisters’, at times an awkward situation.
I had no privacy but, in our home, that didn’t seem to have been a big deal (or at least I don’t remember it being one)—for a Christian home there didn’t seem to have been the expected conflicts associated with modesty. We were taught early to dress in the bathroom and that we were to keep the door locked. This is what I remember: we also, as I again remember, we didn’t run around the house naked or half-dressed. No one talked about sex or where babies came from; but I was curious about such things when I was still quite young and, when falsely accused of masturbating in a school rest room, it was a big deal. (“Big deal” was a phrase we frequently used.) Years later my mother told me that she regretted having not said something to my baby sister’s best friend when mother suspected the girl was being molested by her father. See how writing about these things revealed the conflict.
There was a lot of gossiping, among the women of the household and their friends; but that didn’t keep them from watching their soaps (“our programs”) everyday on television; and we spent most every afternoon glued to the tube fixated on AMERICAN BANDSTAND. Very early on I had an afternoon paper route, but I had certain homes where I would stop long enough to catch a set or two of Dick Clark and company. Funny now how our family didn’t believe in dancing, not because of the dancing itself, but “what it could lead to,” a belief that continued until our parents could no longer control it. I went to dances in high school; but my mother remain adamant, I was never allowed to go to the youth center, where, according to her, “the rough crowd hung out.” I am writing about these things now to define them for myself and discover what’s there.
I’m thinking about space and the space relationships of my youth; the space I knew was cluttered. There was always a television on. But on my part there was no attempt to get away from it; even when I threw my paper route, I would ride my bicycle from television set to television set. My father bought the first television set in our neighborhood and set it up in the back yard so that everyone could watch it. It seems to me that in that scene you have the open space of the backyard with the moon and the stars defined by the lines of a triangle with chairs and a sofa and at the apex, a television set.
This requires more exploration and thought. I don’t have the time now. Randy Ford