March 1, 2017:

In the kitchen closet: a broom; a dustpan; a mop and scrub brush inside a plastic pail; two very inexpensive tennis rackets in presses; a bicycle pump; a football; a basketball; a baseball glove; frisbees; a patch kit for bicycle tires; needles for the pump to fill the football and the basketball; a BB gun. On the wall: the circuit breaker box which I meticulously mapped while malingering out of fourth grade.

On the wall between the living room and kitchen: black aluminum shelves from Sears, adjustable with black screws and washers. Not yet filled with books, but with model airplanes and ships and monsters, centered by Godzilla who I painted yellow and named my first cat for. There was the Starship Enterprise; the raylike flying sub from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; an F4, an F8, an A4, an A6, an F104, an F106. There were Hotwheels and chess sets, aircraft carriers and battleships and Lego blocks and jigsaw puzzles.

So that her world was taken up mostly with objects of childhood. It was her way of avoiding contact. She sat in her chair smoking and reading science fiction, trusting to toys to keep me occupied.

They largely did. Between her inwardness and my malingering I spent most hours alone, entertaining myself with models and games and Tolkien, and The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Gilligan's Island.

3422 Cowley Way #1, San Diego, CA 92117. 714-276-2026. Twenty-two years.