The Yellow Brick Road

I was born in the paperback section of the Mineral County Library in a small remote town of Superior in the mountains of western Montana. I have always looked upon my conception and birth as a mistake and though I didn’t understand it, as a kid felt like I didn’t quite belong. My mother was 17 and didn’t finish high school and my father, an all-star athlete, I suspect with dreams of a different future. They were married four months after I was conceived and I was born on May 23 1961. My mother says I was a happy baby, full of life, with an easy temperament. There are pictures that confirm this, but it is not what I remember. The overall invasive impression from those first few years of life wasn’t love but confusion, fear and hurt. My father seemed so distant with me all time and I felt more pushed away than desired. I, of course, felt smothered by my mother; I was her greatest joy and for this I felt my strongest connection to her. I became my mother’s son and a year and a day later my bother Mark was born and become my father’s son. I was sentimental and withdrawn and didn’t seem to interact with others very well. The strongest connection to those years was The Wizard of Oz. I was utterly terrified by the wicked witch and cowered behind the sofa in fear, but it was Dorothy and her journey and meeting that band of social misfits whom I truly identified with. It would break my heart every time I would watch it. Back then it was broadcast once a year on television and when I would see the commercial that it was coming up my heart would leap and sentiment would overwhelm me to tears. My mother threatened to not let me watch it because of how emotionally involved I would get and I would promise with all my heart that I would not cry this time and plead that she allow me to watch it. Looking back I think my sentimental nature is what isolated me from the others, we were a family of little to no emotions and the fact that I was bursting with them overwhelmed others. It was like no one quite knew how to deal with me and I was left alone. It was here that I retreated to a world of color. This I was good at, for this I was praised. This was my security and comfort. It created distrust in the world that surrounded me, which I still feel to this day, but it also nurtured within me a journey to search for meaning and connections in the oddest of circumstances and character, to discover a way back home, within myself.

“Once there was a man
who had a little too much time on his hands
he never stopped to think that he was getting older.
When his night came to an end
He tried to grasp for his last friend and pretend
That he could wish himself health on a four-leaf clover
He said is this the return to Oz?”

Lyric from the song RETURN TO OZ by the Scissor Sisters