My earliest memory – I have a number of memories from when we lived in Whitehouse and before moving to Huntsville when I was three, but I am not sure if they are real memories or just things I remember hearing about. So I will skip those. The first thing that pops into my head is a memory of throwing rocks at a car that was driving down the street. I was probably four at the time. The car stopped and started backing up and I was convinced I had broken it. The episode did not end well.
First airline flight – October, 1950, from Atlanta to Texas. I was five months old.
First surgery – (Not counting circumcision, and who does?) Tonsillectomy 1957
First car – 1957 Red MGA convertible. Unbelievable! Bought it with my own money in 1966 at age 16.
First death of someone close – Maternal grandfather, Albert Joseph Mitchum, 1959
First drink – I was a baby! I had colic and Georgia relatives told my parents to give me white lightning. My father and one of his uncles found a bootlegger, got some and they put it in a bottle. It stopped my crying, but it was the beginning of a bad thing...
First regret – Where do I begin? I recall throwing a tantrum when I was five that embarrasses me to this day.
First pet – Not the family's first pet (the first of those I remember was a collie, Bill), but my first pet was Black Magic, a beautiful male cat that I bought from my grandmother's neighbors for a nickel when I was about eleven.
First presidential election – 1972, voted for McGovern
First time you felt you were an adult – I think I am still waiting on this one.
First job – Working in a drive-in theater snack bar making popcorn beginning when I was 14
First realization of the axiom “life is not fair” – Third grade when I wasn't elected to Student Council (Okay, so that's not very significant, but it immediately popped into my head.)
First house – I have never owned a house on my own. My first solo apartment was at Museum Walk in Hyde Park/Chicago in 2004 when I moved there from the monastery.
First camera – Polaroid Swinger, I think, for my sixteenth or seventeenth birthday
First checkbook – 1968 when I went off to Michigan State University
Passing my driving test at age 14 (Hey, it was Texas.)
First 45 record – Not sure but I think it was a French version of Leslie Gore's "You Don't Own Me" that I won in a radio call-in in 1964. Yeah, French.
First record album – Simon and Garfunkel, "Sounds of Silence," 1965 or so.