I don't remember anything about my life before age eight or ten when
I showed up in the Warren's back yard , having apparently followed the dog home.
When I try to remember a time before that, I eventually find myself
drifting along through mists with the sense someone unseen beside me
and the voices of distant people floating in and out of my hearing until
suddenly the raft hits the shore and there he is: dirty, stinking Pap. Whether he is a dream, a memory, or a story , I shiver with fear and revulsion,.
No doubt this is mostly a memory of Mother Warren reading Huckleberry Finn
to David and me. She must have read it to us three or four times before we were left to our own reading, and then long before I actually taught myself to read (uncle Scrooge Comics) I pretended to read Huck Fin to myself. It was assumed that I would never learn to read, and even that, though I listened intently, I did not really comprehend.
I suppose there may be a real stinking Pap in my background, but I also suppose he is long dead and rotted away. And anyway I am not interested in my biological parents, even though others have put a lot of effort into following me backwards to that end. I have had fathers and mothers enough since the ones who abandoned me..
What always interested me more was the river in the mists which the attempt to remember conjured up, the invisible person beside me, and the river which connected all things and carried the distant voices and music as well as me and the invisible person beside me.
The sense of all that was always with me, or available, and literally so at times like Saturday summer nights at Lake Bonaparte when the lake was still and from Loon Island I could hear the roller skates on the basement floor of Priests' store coming across the water as if ghosts skated on water.... and floating over the water or eminating from its tightly stretched surface is the music : always "Irene Good Night", which was popular that summer when I more or less disappeared, floating over the lake like the music.