Wednesday, November 2, 2011

E is for EMILY (The Early Years)

Emily (em-uh-lee)  noun
(as defined by
  1. a female given name; from a Latin word meaning industrious

Emily  (em-uh-lee)  noun
(as defined by my memory)

I was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1979.  That was when high-waisted, tight-ass pants were still cool, men wore bandanas tied around their thighs (you never know when you're gonna need a tourniquet), and station wagons were the shit. I was blessed with a first name that I've always loved...and a last name that prevented me from ever being all-the-way-cool.  I tried whispering it, but then I was asked to repeat it louder...and spell it. D-I-C-K-M-A-N 

Since it didn't look as though my modeling career would ever flourish in Arizona, my parents packed up our wicker furniture, our braided rugs, and all of our bandanas and we moved west to Southern California.  In true hippie fashion, we took up residence at a Camp (not of the nudist variety).  My dad was the caretaker, my mom threw pottery and cleaned cabins, and I made friends with the neighbor kid who always seemed to be in a full-body cast.  My dad carried me around on his shoulders a lot, which I don't understand the concept of - Who is that fun for, anyway? And my mom liked to dress me in nothing but a frilly apron with a bandana folded in a triangle and tied over my head. (My dad must have had extras that he wasn't using for tourniquets.)

Somewhere between killing rattlesnakes and pushing water out of our flooded Camp House carpets with flip flops, my parents decided that the Dickman Team of Three would be more effective if we spread our forces.  In other words, Mr. and Mrs. Dickman got a divorce.  Since I was only 4 at the time, I don't remember much about the whole process.  I can only assume, though, that they said something like this, "Emily, we are getting a divorce.  Mom and Dad will live in different houses and take turns seeing you.  We still love you."  And, this is what I probably heard, "Emily, we are getting a dog that looks like a horse.  Mommy and Daddy will live in different houses because the DogHorse will be too big to only live in one house.  We will all take turns riding DogHorse.  We still love that you suck your thumb.  Feel free to continue doing so until you are 6.  DogHorse will buy you braces."

I only remember one trip to the courthouse for the DogHorse Case.  After which my mom and I left in search of her van that held a coveted 2 pound bag of peanut M&M's.  (Bribery? I don't know.  Maybe.) Unfortunately, as we learned that day, peanut M&M's make your big, giant '70s era van invisible.  That's right - invisible.  As in, it doesn't matter how many hours you spend wandering around downtown San Diego looking, you will NOT find your van.  Well, at least until the 2 pounds of M&M's are melted.  THEN you will find your van.  So much for bribery.  That was the last time I let someone lure me with peanut M&M's.  (Ok.  That's a lie.  I allow my life to be dictated by peanut M&M's all the time.  Except the red and blue ones.  Those are gross.)

I don't know if it was the idea of being responsible for a DogHorse or if he had simply worn a hole in his last bandana, but my dad finally left the Hippie Life behind.  He moved into an apartment and bought me a bunk bed and a play kitchen!!!!!  Oh happy day.  I spent my nights cooking fake food and washing dishes in a sink the size of my eyeball.  Of course, that was how I unwound from my hectic days at Preschool.  Playing with LightBrights and pretending to be the Boss of all the Four Year Olds was tough.  The only way I could keep my energy up during recess was to eat sand out of the sandbox (the one with the least amount of cat poo) and pilfer doggie biscuits from the storage shed behind the preschool.  Nobody could have possibly lived off of snacktime alone.  I mean, really?  An apple slice and an Oreo????  Puh-leaz.  I'll supplement with dirty sand and Milkbones, thank you very much.

I think my naughty snacking era coincided with the period in my life when I discovered how truly far I could push my mom's patience.  That was when I discovered bubblegum, but lacked the ability to blow an actual fucking bubble.  My mother let me keep trying, tho.....every morning on the way to preschool in the '70s era van, the woman ENCOURAGED me to try again and again to form a BubbleYum bubble until there were more wads of gum on the floor than in the damn gum package.  Is that normal behavior for a mom??  If so, then I failed epically with my kids because they're almost teenagers and I wouldn't trust them to blow a bubble in the middle of a dirt field, not to mention huck their slobbery wads on the dash of my Escalade.

I wonder if I ever came home to my dad's apartment with gum in my hair.  That would explain our daily hair-brushing-dance.  While I may have been bald and fat (and bald) until I was 2, I more than made up for it by age 5 with curly thick hair that hung to my cute little butt (Let's just go with the thought that it was cute then because it sure as shit isn't now.)  Everyone thought my hair was soooooo pretty.  I thought they were all idiots and should, just once, experience having it brushed by my father.  Do you remember what it was like to brush Barbie's hair?  You'd use that itty bitty brush and pull on Whore Barbie's hair until her head was touching her butt.  (Sometimes her head would actually pop off.)  But, you'd make Barbie endure this because, damn it, if she was gonna be out whoring around with Ken and turning her beautiful locks all a-fro, this was the price she was just gonna have to pay.  Yep.  I was Barbie (minus the whoring around and minus the boyfriend named Ken - my boyfriend's name was David).  My father was the kid with the itty bitty brush.  It's a miracle that I have any hair left.  What's even more amazing, tho, is that I didn't grow up to be a circus freak with the ability to put my face in the crack of my own ass.

Just the thought of that talent being a possibility for me is really distracting.  I have to go see if I can do it.  I'll write more later.



  1. I can't even tell you how happy I am that you are writing again. Seriously... It makes me laugh until I cry and gives me a little "humor break" from work and the real world. Can't wait for your next post!!!

  2. That makes my heart happy, Ashley! And, the next post should work out nicely for your "humor breaks" since I spent a lot of time as a 5 year old wearing nothing but facepaint and bubbles. :-)