For two years, when I was eleven and twelve, my family lived in north-eastern Indiana.

I don’t remember that my three brothers shared a bedroom. I don’t remember my eyeglasses getting broken by exiting the school restroom into a fist-fight. My parents tell me about those parts.

I spend a lot of time in the bathroom. In a busy, loud world, sometimes it is the only peace and quiet. Once I sat in the school bathroom waiting for others to leave and the girls doing their makeup yelled good-bye at me. I’d wished I was more invisible.

Once, my grandfather visited us. My father, older brother, grandfather, and I went to the Indy 500. We sat in the bleachers, watching the cars go around and around. My father and grandfather drank beer and the people near us cheered.

We went to an amusement park in Cleveland, Ohio, a few times. Looking at a map, it must have been a few hour drive. My father would go on roller coasters with us while my mother stayed with our younger brothers. Later, he said that my older brother really like roller coasters. I don’t remember how I felt about them.

We drove to Chicago. I got a t-shirt from the art museum, it was covered in hundreds of artist signatures (Degas, van Gogh, etc). I think that we went to the top of the Sears Tower to look at the view.

We visited Amish country. My mother loves hand crafts and she was interested in quilting at the time. We walked around a tourist-friendly area. Later, she said that she wished she had bought a quilt. She took basket weaving classes a few years later.

We went on a family trip to Dollywood.

Once we went on a weekend trip to the Indiana Dunes. That is all I remember of that, but in my idealized memory – probably only loosely inspired by fact – it was rolling hills of sand. Wasn’t there a passage in Le Petit Prince about that?

My aunt got married when we lived there. We drove two days to get to Boston. I sat in the room with my mother and their sisters as they got the bride ready, and the stylist did my hair or makeup or something. My mother’s bridesmaid shoes were bright pink; the photos say that the dresses were, too. After the wedding, they had to explain to me that my aunt wouldn’t be living at my grandfather’s house anymore.

The weather was extreme. It was over 100F in the summer and below 0F in the winter. I would slide down the icy sidewalk to get to school in the morning.

We moved to California after that. I barely remember any family adventures in California. My aunt said that when she visited and we all drove to look at a fault line, my father yelled at my older brother and me to stop reading and look out the window.