For the first five years of my life I was an only child. I was surrounded by grown-ups who loved me and spent time with me, but it was not like having someone my own age to hang out with. I had cousins my age, but I only got to see them on certain occasions.
I did have two playmates, however. They were always with me. Their names were Lavory and McGuvney and no one could see them but me.
In the summer of 1940 I was four years old. It was baseball season in San Diego, and my father was on the road with the Padres. They were making their way up the coast by train to Seattle and back again—an extended road trip.
One night my mother went to the movies with some friends. She left her teenaged sister, Bonnie, who was staying with us that summer, babysitting me. Bath time rolled around, and I sat in the tub with three washrags bobbing around in the water with me. Three towels sat stacked on the floor—one for me and one each for Lavory and McGuvney. Bonnie always got three of everything out, even though she never saw my friends.
They remained mine only and because of them I was never alone.
Confession time: How many out there, I wonder, had companions like mine when you were young?