The house across the street overflowed with little ones, and always another on the way, including twins. With each birth another room was added to their tumble-down home. One day a girl close to my age invited me to a tent revival with the family, and I reluctantly agreed, squeezing into the back of their big old station wagon with seven others. I sat wide-eyed and terrified when people began to fall to the floor, their bodies shaking or writhing while saliva and undecipherable sounds streamed from their mouths. If not the fear of God, I developed a fear of preachers who could bring about such horrors, and a terror that it could happen to me. Between my religious experience and nightly watching the skies for aliens, uncertainty filled my days. (I should add the movies like Forbidden Planet, The Blob, and War of the Worlds triggered my imagination in those days.)
Mom did her best to brighten our home, transforming the yard into green lawns, beds of Shasta daisies and Calla lilies, fruit trees, a bountiful garden with fresh strawberries, vine-ripened tomatoes, and a special treat—home grown artichokes. That garden had more influence on me than anything else to tell the truth. I enjoyed sitting on the front porch, snapping green beans, shelling peas and listening to early rock and roll. And the pies mom made—peach, apricot, strawberry, apple—the best pies in the world. Such are memories.