My Early Childhood

One of my earliest memories is standing in our driveway and my mother telling me I was going to start kindergarten. My birthday is in February and so I started in February. We had summer and winter classes back then!
One memory from kindergarten was when a friend and I both told the teacher that a ring was ours. I knew it was mine, but I don’t remember what happened; if I got the ring or she did.
Another memory was learning to ride a bike. I was about 5 years old. My brother, Kenneth, and I shared a small, red bike. Our driveway was long and I would go up and down it till I learned to ride! No one helped me! I don’t recall it taking me too long, as I was very coordinated and athletic! 🙂

Picture attached is me and my duck, Maverick.  We would feed him watermelon rind and I would watch him peck at it till most of it was gone.  When he got older, we took him to a lagoon by the beach in Westchester.

As a baby, (12-18 months) I fell out of my crib with a glass milk bottle.  The bottle hit the floor and broke and then I fell on top of it.  I cut my eye, eyebrow, and chin.  Because I had been drinking, the doctors had to wait to give me ether.  Of course I don’t remember any of this, only what my mother told me.  You will notice in pictures of me outside, I am closing my right eye as the pupil does not dilate or constrict much. I was supposed to wear glasses all the time, but really didn’t until my left eye started to need correction.  That was in my early 20’s.

My parents, Bernice and Ralph Biggs, were divorced when I was very young. I really don’t recall my father ever living at home.  He would come on Saturdays and take my brother and I to the park.

I had an older half brother, Jerry Mathews.  He was about 17 years older than me so I don’t remember much about him as a child.  By the time I got a bit older, he was in the Navy in Korea. Then he married Carol Miller and moved out.

I was always interested in playing any sport.  In 6th grade I beat all the boys in my class in tetherball!  I had a tetherball at home that my dad put together for us.  He put cement inside an old car tire and then cemented the pole in the middle.  We could move it around the yard fairly easily, and I would play for hours.  I also loved to throw a tennis ball against our wood garage door and catch it with my baseball glove.  I could do this for hours too!

One Christmas I asked for a football!  All the kids on the block would play football in the middle of the street. We would also play hide-and-go-seek till it got dark.

Roller skating!  I had skates that fit over my shoes and yes, I wore a skate key on a string around my neck. I would skate up and down our sidewalk.  Later, I nailed the skate wheels to a board and had a skateboard!  Nothing fancy for me!

Surfing was becoming popular and I loved to go to Playa del Rey and body surf in the ocean.  Dockweiler beach had round fire pits and we would roast hotdogs and marshmallows.  Even the lure of food sometimes couldn’t get me out of the water!

All during elementary school and beyond I was most happy when I was involved in playing any sport. And I loved being outside!  Of course we had no “screens” other than a TV.  Most of the shows were on at night, so being outside was the most fun for me.

One more thought.  The Helms Bakery man.  He would come by in his truck Saturday mornings and I would run out and buy a jelly doughnut.  My favorite! We also had a milk man.  He would deliver our milk in bottles early in the morning.  Then we would put the empty bottles in the basket and leave them on the porch for him to pick up on his next delivery.

When I was about 3 years old, we went to visit my Uncle Jimmy and aunt Jessie on their farm in Nebraska.  I wouldn’t drink the “cows” milk; yuck.  So they bought some milk from the store and then refilled the container with the “cows” milk.  I never knew the difference!

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