After my 85th birthday last week, I looked back over my life and was surprised to discover in how many different ways I had been lucky, in addition to some other ways in which I was unlucky.
Among the things I did not know at the time was that I was adopted as an infant into a family with four adults, in which I was the only child.
All sorts of research since then has shown how the amount of attention and interactions with adults a child gets has a lot to do with the way the child develops. But of course I knew nothing about such things back then.
It was decades later, when I now had a son of my own, that I asked one of the surviving members of the family how old I was when I first started to walk. She said, “Oh, Tommy, nobody knows when you could walk. Somebody was always carrying you.”
Many times over the years, she liked to recall an incident when I was maybe three or four years old. She had taken me somewhere out of the neighborhood, maybe to a movie, and all was fine until we got back in sight of our home. That was when I picked up some rocks and started throwing them at her.