There was a time when I was a little kid that I had a terrible fear of something bad happening to my house. A hurricane would come and blow us all away. A flood would carry the house out to sea. There would be an earthquake, and the house would fall into whatever dark abyss was down there in the huge crack that would appear, taking us all with it. There would be a tremendous avalanche and the house would be gone forever (or at least until Spring) covered in tons of snow. A fire would come and consume the house, burning us and all our stuff in a gigantic ball of flame.
This fear was right up there with my fear of the Thing that lived under my bed. I thought I might be able to avoid the Thing by lying very quietly right in the middle of the mattress, because if I were still enough, he wouldn’t know I was there. Besides, his arms weren’t long enough to reach me if I were dead center. But I could think of no remedies to the house disaster I knew was coming. The only thing I could come up with was to live in a brick house. Of course, my opinions about architecture didn’t carry much weight with my parents, who were just fine with the wood frame house we called home. I knew in my heart that they were being terribly short-sighted, but there was little I could do about it. I could only hope that I would survive their naiveté until I was old enough to have my own house, which would, of course, be brick.
This fear was worse at night, because everybody knows that bad stuff always happens when you aren’t paying attention and least expect it. I knew we would all be sleeping soundly in our beds when disaster struck, helpless to fend it off and unable to escape before we met our doom. Needless to say, my sleep was often fitful. I was plagued by nightmares hot with flames, cold with snow, dark and deadly in the center of the earth.
My parents were so concerned about the frequency with which I awoke terrified, screaming, hot and sweaty (or cold and shivering, depending), and crying hysterically, that they took me to the doctor. His diagnosis? Growing pains. Please. I knew better. We were going to perish in our house, soon to be destroyed in some cataclysm. Of course I was not sleeping well. If only someone would listen.
It was a terrible period in my childhood. And I blame the three little pigs.