At first, I was terrified of the water because of things I won't get into in this post. I ended up going to swimming classes when I was six or so. When I did, I wouldn't go under water until I had been to several classes. Once I was used to that, I was over my fear.
In that same summer, I fell in love with the water and with the idea of mermaids. I'm pretty sure that same summer, Uncle BS and my grandparents took me to Sea World. We went in a submarine and saw giant rings in the water. I asked what they were and my uncle said, "Those are for the mermaids to play with. You can't see them now because they went some place else to hide from humans." In a Texas lake, but it made total sense to me.
I was totally convinced mermaids were real and I wanted to be a mermaid why were my parents human. So like any other kid, I pretended to be what I wanted to be, by swimming basically every day in my grandparents' pool or trying to swim in the bathtub. My uncle would swim with me and he was the only one who would entertain me instead of just agreeing with whatever I said. He helped me make up the stories. It was amazing until a story we made up involved sharks in the middle of the pool, at the deepest part. I knew that they weren't there. I could see they weren't there. I still felt like they were there and stayed in the shallow end after that.
What do parents and schools teach about stray animals? I don't know about now, but when I was a kid, they taught to get into the fetal position with our hands over our heads and to hide our faces if we ever saw a stray. I thought adults were stupid. I never once listened to that.
At one point, when I was seven or eight, my friend and I found a small stray dog running in my yard. We were across the street in her yard so what did we do? We went back to my house, I knelt down with her hiding behind me, and I called the dog over. I was too small to lift him so I held his collar and read the tag. He lived on our street, so it became my mission to return him home. I convinced my friend he was a good dog and went inside my house to get a leash and permission to go down the street.
Once I had both, my friend and I started walking. We weren't allowed to go behind our street but according to the numbers, that's where his house was, so we got three houses down before a huge black truck pulled up and a guy stopped next to us. My first assumption was I was about to be kidnapped and I should have listened to my mother. A man opened his window and said that was his dog. So I said, "He came to my house so we're trying to bring him back." The dog hopped into the car, the man thanked us, and we ran back to our house because we had expected a nice lady to talk to, not a big scary guy in a huge black truck.
A few weeks later, a stray cat came to my next door neighbor's house. He looked like he hadn't eaten for a while so what did we do? We got some cat food and since he wouldn't let us close, we set up a Roadrunner-Wild E Coyote type of trail, only it didn't result in the cat being blown up, poisoned, or eaten. It just led to us and a pile of food.
And guess what?
It fucking worked.
My friend and I co-owned that cat after that. He would be at my house every morning where we would be and then follow us around between houses. He let us pet him that first day and let us do whatever we wanted after that. He was a major part of our games and by the end of the month, he had other houses in the neighborhood feeding him, but he still chose to be victim to two eight year old girls with very active imaginations.