It seems that no one has had a trauma-less childhood. Everyone I know saw a scary movie or read a scary book and was traumatized by it. And the thing is - it never completely goes away.

Many traumas make sense, like my brother's Killer Klowns From Outer Space trauma. When he was about 10, he rented the video. I told him that if he watched it, he would be traumatized. He did. He was. He's still looking for a copy to get over it. And so many people have It (the movie) traumas. My scary trauma came from a book called The Madman's Diary, I think that was the name. I just saw it in a book store, and saw a crazy collage on the front which included sharp instruments and body parts, and read the back cover. All I remember is parts of a sentence: "... he raised the axe over his head.... brain mingled with blood..." That's all I remember, but it kept me up for many, many nights, and the word "mingled" sent shivers down my spine for many years.

The weirdest part about childhood traumas is that we often remember the trauma-causing incident, but have no idea what was so traumatic about it. That's how it is for me and Annie. When I was in first grade, in school in Boston, we saw Annie. We saw the first part one day, and were to continue it the next day. But I wouldn't go to school the next day. You couldn't have dragged me there with a team of horses. No Sir. And I have no idea what was so horrible about it. I still haven't seen it since then. I remember a bald man. Maybe he sacred the hell out of me.

The whole experience remained subconscious for many years. Then, about two years ago, Jay Z came out with It's a Hard Knock Life. I was driving along, and the song came on the radio. Suddenly, all of my hairs stood on end - literally. I was goose pimples all over. I had no idea why. After a little while I figured out that it was from the song, and it took me a good minute or so after the song ended to remember where it's from. Then I remembered Annie. It was about 16 years between seeing the movie and hearing the song. I could have easily had an accident, with my body reacting to it like that.

I guess it never really goes away. My dad is still edgy when he talks about a Charlie Chaplin film that freaked him out when he was about 10 - some scene in an alley (that's all he remembers). 50 years, and the scar remains. And what silly scars. We can't for the life of us figure out what was so scary that it infiltrated our minds like that. And yet it stays. It will probably stay there until we die. Strange.

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