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Filtering by Category: James Tower

Building Momentum

James Tower

By: James Tower

When I was a kid, around 1989 or so, we lived in the Columbia River Gorge in a small town called Goldendale. I was nine-ish and trapped in what felt like the middle of nowhere. My mother had left my sister’s dad and was raising three kids on one income and using every spare dime on a two-year custody battle to keep my sister. It was a dark time of recovery after escaping an abusive situation, and we were very poor.

I remember food stamps and food boxes full of government cheese and canned salmon. I remember Mom always putting the after-Christmas clothing on layaway to lock in discount prices and paying it off slowly for next year’s school clothes. I remember we had this black and white TV hooked up to rabbit ears with tin foil on them. It was a hand-me-down from someone, who, like the rest of the world, had made the switch to color ages ago. I didn’t know anyone else growing up who still had a black and white TV… but it kind of fit with my melancholy world.

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