May 22, 1955
I was born today. My
mother’s name is Shirley Ann (Carroll) Strickland because she married my dad
Charles Vaiden Strickland, Sr. He gave
me his name so I am a junior. I wonder
what that means. Will I be like him or
will I be someone else. Only time will
tell. I was born in Zebulon North
Carolina. My doctor is Dr. Thomas and I
was born in his clinic which is in his house.
It must be a big house.
May 22, 1956
Today I am one year old.
I don’t really know the difference do I?
I wonder if I had a birthday party.
Someone knows. Or maybe they were
all too busy to give me one.
May 22, 1957
Today I am two years old.
I’m starting to remember things that I do and things that my mama tells
me. I had to start remembering and listening because mama says when I don't listen to what she says I'm gonna get a spanking, At first I didn't know what a spanking was but it didn't take me long to find out that I didn't like them not nary a bit. My granddaddy says not nary a bit all the time, so I do too. Mama says I talk up a storm, but she wishes I would not talk to her so early in the morning. It's morning, I just woke up and all I want to do is talk, because I haven't said anything all night. Just talk to me, please. Along with all this other stuff I've had to learn I have to learn to be quiet because I have a little sister now; her
name is Deborah Ann Strickland. Everyone
calls her Debbie for short. Mama says I have to be quiet so Debbie can sleep, but I like to wake her up and watch the faces she makes when I yell boo. Then mama comes in a guess what, I get a spanking. I didn't do anything wrong, I was only playing with my sister. I like her
but not when she makes me get spankings. Also I’m just a little jealous. She gets
more attention than me. But she cries a
lot too. I guess its OK, but if she don't stop she's gonna get a spanking from me. Mama says you can't spank babies, that don't seem fair to me. When mama tells me to stop doing something and I don't I get a spanking, so when Debbie don't stop crying when mama tells her to, then she should get a spanking too. Only fair right.
May 22, 1958
Hey I’m three years old today. Life is starting to get tough, all this
walking by yourself and playing by yourself and trying to talk to myself. I would talk to the grownups but they don't seem to understand much that I try to say, either that or they are just ignoring me. I heard my grandma say that she just ignores people she don't want to listen to. I just want to talk to them but they speak a different language. Uncle Charles tells me t shut up and I understand that part but I don't know what a little shit is. Like I said, a different language. They won't tell me what it means either. I found out though the hard way, mama was talking to grandma the other day and Debbie was crying and I said, shut up you little shit, and guess what another spanking. She wouldn't tell me what it meant either, she just said if I said that word again that she would wash my mouth out with soap and give me another spanking. Man soap tastes bad and makes your tongue swell up. Why is it so hard for them to understand me? It’s really hard to get these clothes on
every day. I would rather just wear
underwear but mama keeps putting clothes on me anyway. And I keep taking them off, hehehe. I got a little brother now too, his name is
Michael Allen Strickland, what a cute kid; he looks a lot like me when I was
that little, at least that’s what grandma says. We are living somewhere called
Berkeley California. Where in the world
is this. Daddy is never here, he must work a lot or something. Daddy and Mama fight all the time. Uncle Kenneth is living with us here and I
don’t think he likes it here. Mama is
gone lots too but I don’t mind, I just play in the yard and get dirty. I liked it better when Granddaddy Carroll
would take me to the tobacco fields to watch him work. I miss my Granddaddy and Grandma.
May 22, 1959
Today I am four years old.
I’ve learned lots of new stuff this year. Tying my shoes and buckling a belt and the
best is to button a shirt. I guess
that’s part of growing up and learning to do things for yourself. You learn to play by yourself and have fun
alone. I speak much better but these
grownups still don’t understand me. They
keep telling me what to do and when to do it.
I know when to go pee and sometimes I don’t have to pee just because
they tell me too. Sometimes I like to
take a nap but most of the time I just lay there and play in my mind. Sometimes I dream and sometimes I don’t. I like my dreams. I like Debbie too, she is fun. She is spoiled by grandma and
granddaddy. Mama and daddy fight a lot,
something about a Jeannie.
May 22, 1960
Guess what? I’m five
years old today. I guess I had a
birthday party, only no one showed up.
We are living in North Carolina again, with Grandma and Granddaddy
Carroll. Man is life tough now, so many rules and stuff. I can’t go out and play in the dirt like I
want to, but I do it anyway and then I have to take a bath. Yuck.
My friend and I play in the tobacco fields while Mama and Grandma and
Granddaddy and Uncle Ray and Uncle Charles and Aunt Peggy and lots of other
people bring the tobacco to the barn and string it up. Then they put it into this great big barn and
cook it. Granddaddy says it will make
you sick if you eat it, so I don’t. But
some of the people here smoke it, wonder why that doesn’t make them sick. I guess there are still lots of things for me
to learn and remember. And everyone is
talking about me going to school. What
is that? I don’t want to go anywhere,
I’m happy here. Just playing and eating
and sleeping and trying to stay out of trouble.
It seems like everything I do is wrong and I’m always getting a spanking
for something else I did wrong. Oh
yeah, I got another sister too. Her name
is Sandra Jean Strickland. Now she gets
all the attention. When will this
end. Little kids just keep showing up
and I got to let them get all the attention.
That’s not fair. Everyone says
they are so cute and all they want to do is hold them. What about me I like to be held to. I guess I’m just too old for that now. Sure would be nice though, just to sit in
Grandpa’s lap and listen to him tell me storied from when he was a kid and all
the things he did. ASounds like lots of
fun. Why can’t I have fun like that? Mama and daddy fight a lot, something about that
Jeannie. I wonder if that’s where Sandy
got her name. I hope not. I probably won’t like Jeannie; she keeps my
daddy away from me.
May 22, 1961
Wow, today I am six whole years old and I don’t feel any different,
how strange is that. I do feel smarter though, I been going to school for
forever it seems. Mama says it will be summer vacation in two weeks, two weeks
is a long time, gosh. I want to go play in the tobacco field. Its summer time and everyone is working in the fields again.
We’ve finished planting the tobacco so now it’s time to go fishing with
granddaddy, he sure knows a lot about fishing. He always catches the biggest
fish and I catch the little ones, he’s says I need to be quiet and not to pull
the pole so high. I just like to watch that thing on the line splash when it
hits the water. Granddaddy says those rings in the water are called ripples and
they scare off the fish, so that is why I need to sit still, be quiet and not
make any splashes. I like to go fishing with my granddaddy but he sure takes
the fun out of it. But he is my granddaddy and I love him.