Whenever Jason is telling me a story from his childhood, like the time he put on cowboy boots just to slide down the neighbors driveway and everyone applauded, or when he burnt the skin off his toes stomping out a secret "experiment" that caught fire, or when his sister spraypainted "CP" on every tree in the backyard, or when the next door neighbor's husband got struck by lightening, or the time David Turner got the breath knocked out of him after he failed to clear the creek on his bike, despite the plywood ramps they had constructed for the event, and they tried reviving him with a waterhose, my first question is always, "Now, how old were you when this happened?"
And he is never quite sure how old he was, because he spent his whole childhood in one place-- the house on Karla Circle. He claims the years bleed together in his memory. He will then perform a little equation like, "it was after Matt got his beetle but before my mom died, so that would be '88, '89." Or something like, "that was the year we got bikes for Christmas and right after that, Van busted his spleen riding, so I was probably 9."
It's not that he's forgetful. Jason's stories render detail as if he's describing a video he's edited, or a painting he's studied. I guess "home" does define our sense of a personal timeline, and his lasted 17 years.
It doesn't help that neither of us can remember seeing any baby photos of him. There is little documentation, but we still found bits of evidence: a faded "CP" on the brick and a scrap of rusty chain embraced in the bark of a tree.