About a pre-adolescent boy that never quite grows up due to a hormonal condition called Hypogonadism or Delayed Puberty. He has a strange dream that will come to haunt him for most of his life.

But she’s crying, so I don’t call the basement a “cellar” and don’t know what to do, I’m upset too.  Finally Dad gets up from the overstuffed chair in the living room and goes to the back hall refrigerator to get a Pepsi.  I hear Mom trudging up the basement steps and encountering Dad at the landing.  I don’t hear much of their conversation, except that she’s crying hysterically and he keeps saying “Honey, I don’t know what-what-to-tell-ya.”  Finally, I hear the thud of things being slammed down on the kitchen counter and see my mother run past me, sobbing into a dishtowel, and running upstairs for the night.

Dad returns to the living room, turns the dial on the Philco to an old Western, and sits back down in the overstuffed chair, long necked Pepsi in hand.  Soon he is snoring away, while I sit on the green rug, transfixed more with the aluminum Christmas tree illumined by a lighted color wheel than by John Wayne, as the tree changes from red to yellow to blue and back over again and again.

About ten, my grandparents return from church, my grandmother wearing a very gaudy brown fur coat.  They have many packages, which I suspect were being stored until Christmas at my Aunt Betty’s house on the other side of North Arlington.  It must have been a good year for car sales, as the many gifts represent a large year end bonus from General Motors for my grandfather’s long hours.   They’re all wrapped in red paper, which I suspect was left over from last Christmas.  Lois and I will not be allowed to open our presents until the morning.  Pop dutifully places the boxes under the aluminum tree, his white shirt turning colors with the light from the color wheel.   They ignore Dad, sleeping in the chair and do not ask where my mother has gone.  Nana turns the dial on the Philco back to the black and white Yule log.

I go up to bed, pajama bottoms on only as the steam radiator is much too hot upstairs in my room.  I glance out at the alley and can see the empty snow-covered dog house glisten in the moonlight….and fall asleep in tears.

I am up on my feet by the count of four but, at the bell, my cornerman reminds me that I should rest until nine.  I’m still too busy admiring my newfound muscles and body hair to listen much.  I’m glaring at my faceless opponent across the ring as one of the cornermen plunks a plastic guard in my mouth and I stand up tall,  almost six feet, as I wait for the bell.

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