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I didn't do cute things as a kid. I was in foster care as an infant and toddler and came back to my biological parents frightened, hateful, and sad.

I didn't talk much until I was four--I mean really, hardly any words, and I had a habit of either cutting off the endings, changing the words altogether or making up my own meanings, so when I came home from my toddler foster home where I left the woman I thought was my real mom, I called the chifferobe 'the roller robe' (it was a portable one); the basement I referred to as "The Base," i.e. going down there because of tornado warnings, I imagine.

I called grasshoppers "Booker Ts" and I wouldn't tell my Mom why but I knew why: I heard people say they spit tobacco juice, and I knew about sharecroppers, and stayed with a black family, so Booker T came up and I tagged grasshoppers with that nickname.

I also could tell people's character, gut instinct, very young which shocked my Mom.

She said I told one uncle, "You're ugly"; another, "I don't like your nose"; and I called a third one "a cripple," because I had heard that word and he was paralyzed on one side of his body from shooting himself in the temple.

There was only one uncle I did not insult, and my Mom said--I can still hear the shock, "He never tried anything with me, and he was never violent."

At three-years-old I couldn't articulate that someone frightened me or that I felt their interior ugliness so I focused on externals back then.

I had another uncle I wouldn't have said anything mean to or about, I know... He was my mom's favorite. He was an ISFP or INFP--I can tell by the stories I was told about him.

One time he was sitting in a tavern after work having a beer. He was 6 foot 4 inches tall, built muscular, very quiet and unassuming... and some guy with a short-man complex came in wanting to take out the biggest one in there so he walked over to my unclel who was sitting in a back booth alone, and said, "I'm looking for trouble." Dell looked over at the man and quietly said, "Then you found it," rolled up his sleeve, stood up and knocked the man out cold with one punch, then sat back down to finish his beer. He didn't start trouble but he ended it. I can relate to that and to him very much.

I didn't get to know him though because about the time I was entering the second foster care home, he committed suicide after his wife left him for another man. He put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger with his toe. I got a few suicides in my family, all men, all with guns but the one cousin who was like a brother to me: He starved himself to death.

So, no, I wasn't a cute kid at all in manner or attitude although I was 'The Pretty One' and called 'The Sweet One' which in my family meant shy and didn't cause trouble. I was, so my Mom says, her 'best baby.'
 
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