Kid Me
by Kenneth Pobo

Billy called me half boy, half girl,
he of course being all boy. Russell
called me little girl. I loved
paper dolls and Chinese jump rope.
This brought trouble. Balls
had to be tossed, victories won
or even lost—but no girly stuff.

My stuffed animals listened,
didn’t judge. Our house,
not big or small, not school or church.
Villa Park, Illinois,
Ovaltine and purple sedum.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: I was (I believe) five in the picture.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I lived in the original Villa Park side of Villa Park, Illinois. Ardmore and Villa Park united in 1914 to form Villa Park. As a result, we had two essential business districts. In the fifties and into the sixties, farmland gave way to subdivision and suburban life. The Ovaltine factory has been retooled into a condominium (it will always be Ovaltine to me). During the Depression, Ovaltine kept many workers and their families having a paycheck. Growing up, I heard the sharp sound of the factory whistle at noon, and we often smelled burning chocolate and other substances in the Ovaltine drink. Villa Park now has a Historical Society five blocks from our old house. However long that I live, I will always be a Villa Park boy. I haven’t lived there since 1977, but Villa Avenue is still my address in my head.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kenneth Pobo‘s new book, Bend Of Quiet, is forthcoming from Blue Light Press. Catch his radio show, Obscure Oldies, on Saturdays from 6-830 p.m. EST at  www.widecastradio.com.