When I was 4 or so, we lived in an A-Frame that was totally under construction out in the woods in Alaska. My dad was the contractor and the entire construction team. It was at the 10 mile post on the road out of town, so it was called "10 mile". We lived at "10 mile"... In fact, though, it was more than 10 miles from out of town, because the mileposts were never changed after Valdez was moved after the 1964 earthquake. Even while typing this - my past, and total consciousness - it seems so STRANGE! I'm not sure how finished the house was when we moved in, but i remember just framed walls that we could walk through, rollerskating on the plywood floor in the living room, sleeping in a little nest i made between joists in the attic that i crawled up a ladder to get to, and playing in the giant piles of sawdust my dad made from cutting down trees and cutting the lumber for the house. I remember the chemical 'toilet', hauling water from friends' houses in giant square soft plastic containers with little spouts at the bottom, doing laundry at their houses, and even showering there. I LOVED every second of it as a child, but i can only imagine how my mom felt about it!! i would HATE to live that way now! She had to get my brother to school every day in town, i have NO idea how she cooked out there, and i don't know HOW many times she got the truck stuck in snow on the tiny little road that led to our house.
ANYWAY, when we were living in this wonderland of a house, I found a box and inside this box, was a little mirror. It was one of those mirrors that seemed prevalent in the 70's: a little squarish mirror in a flowered plastic frame with a little handle. I remember wanting one of these mirrors SO badly! (I hope that doesn't say anything about my vanity...) I took it excitedly to my mom and said "MOM!!! Where did this come from?? Is it for ME??" She whisked it away and said something about snooping through boxes and "go play outside". Christmas morning (yes, i imagine we were sitting around on the plywood floor in the living room) there was my shiny, perfect mirror IN MY STOCKING. FROM SANTA. I asked my 5 years older brother if mom and dad were Santa, and he said "yep." without a pause. I didn't have the heart to tell my parents that i knew, so for YEARS i played along on drives looking for Rudolph in the sky, and thanking Santa for the AWESOME barbies he left for me. I'm not sure how old I was when they finally sat me down to tell me most teenagers don't believe in Santa anymore... i wanted them to think they were doing a good job!
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