Dream A Little Dream
When I was in grade school I dreamed of being an entrepreneur. Puffy painted t-shirts were easy enough to make, had a low, in-house cost, and—at least at the time—were undeniably fashionable. I especially favored an Atzec pattern my mother bought me at the fabric store in Tigard, a pattern I could use over and over, alternating the colors as I pleased.
Using the heavy, steel, Smith-Corona typewriter my parents kept downstairs, I typed up a manual for my “employees,” complete with price sheets for my merchandise, and calculations indicating the average cost of making one t-shirt from start to finish. When I had finished, I went to my father’s desk and asked to use the hole-puncher. He gave me an old binder to hold my papers and, as far as I could tell, everything was in order. For weeks I planned and painted, ironed and cleaned, designed new patterns and plotted new potential markets.
I had it in mind to set up a stand outside Jackson Middle School—the school I was not yet old enough to attend but that I favored for the number of potential buyers that flocked to its doors nonetheless. I would need a makeshift roof for my stand, naturally, because part of being an Oregonian meant expecting rain. I hadn’t yet deciphered how to direct the flow of traffic to and from my stand without disrupting the school buses, but that was what I would have an assistant for.
All of this dreaming, I suppose, would point me the direction of being self-employed somewhere down the line. While the stand never came to fruition, nor did any t-shirt sales, it mattered not. This was before I knew for certain that Santa wasn’t real. Before I knew that girls who had kissed boys were forever different than girls who had not. It was long before I ever sipped a beer and what seemed like an uncountable number of years before I got my first period. What mattered then wasn’t what I didn’t have, or what experience had proven real and what experience had proven false. No, what mattered then was that thing most children cannot name but indeed pay more allegiance to than God or parents or pets alike. What mattered, was the imagination.