First dress my mother made for me: Age two. See left. It was the seventies. Don't judge.
First curse word: Age three. Goddamn. As in "goddamn dog," in reference to our monster English sheepdog, Taffy, for knocking my ass out of the way every time she moved.
First scary: Age four. I didn’t have an imaginary friend. I had an imaginary enemy. I didn’t know his name, but I called him “the bad man” and he followed me every f*cking place I went.
First crush: Age seven. His name was Sean. We lived on a military base and all the other boys had crewcuts, but Sean had long hair. When he first moved in, they teased him. Then he beat up four boys at once all by himself. I fell hard.
First kiss: I was eleven. No tongue. I kissed a boy named Troy and made up a song about it called "A Boy Named Troy." We used to sing it at the bus stop.
First disdain: Twelve. I had a brown puppy with white feet that I named "Fogfeet" (a line from a Carl Sandburg poem that I misheard when my mother read it to me, "the fog comes in on little cat feet"). When my mother sold him to a couple down the street, they renamed him "Brownie." I hated them for their lack of originality.