Hello.

My name is Andy. Andy Van Berkum.

I was born on Dec. 7th, 1980, at 3:46PM in Le Mars, Iowa.

I grew up in Armel Acres trailer court, here in Le Mars. I have fond memories of the first five years of my life. It was such in those days, that children were not looked after (in my experience.) We roamed the narrow streets of Armel Acres, half and sometimes completely naked. We lusted for sex and candy. We somehow got cut by thistles.

There were bicycle disasters and bullies. And "the Dirt Pile" where a friend and I often ventured. It wasn't an enormous pile of dirt, but we were boys, and it was dirty.

I had a babysitter named Glenda. She was very kind to me. Once everyone forgot me, though, a five year-old, wandering the streets in the rain. Friendly grandparents took me in. I'm ashamed to admit, I wanted sex.

Glenda would punish me by making me scribble; I can't remember why. The Scribble Book. It was the punishment. And sometimes I would sit alone in one of her rooms, that had strange wallpaper, too vague to recall, but my toys were empty boxes of spices. They don't make boxes of spices like that anymore.

This was only part of the fun, though. We built blanket forts and had sleepovers. Glenda would get the kids excited by doing something fun like ordering a pitcher shaped like the Kool-Aid Man. Or buy little wind-up cars in Happy Meals for me to play with on the floor. Of course, my favorite thing to do was play with Little People and watch He-Man.

I left the trailer court at six, when dad rented a house by my new school. One day he brought home a dog named Inga. Later he got rid of Inga. I went outside and screamed, "INGAAA!"

To get Inga to go to the bathroom outside, we were ordered to say, "Get through! Get through, Inga!"

I hung around in the bushes, before entering kindergarten, on the street outside of school, watching the children play at recess.

I think we got kicked out of the house. We moved back to the trailer court. This trailer was smaller than the first, and I don't recall much of this time. What I do recall is telling my friends I had the new Ghostbusters toys, and then trying to convince them a stick I picked up off the ground was a proton gun. I remember Lee...but not well...

Finally we bought "the house." The house I remember well. It was white with black trim, and we were all excited to move in. I often have dreams of this house, and of my family destroying it.

To forsake the misery, I fixed up the basement of the house. I painted the walls green and the ceiling black, and strung Christmas lights all around and had a mattress and a hammock. I couldn't sleep during those years, quite often. I had five cats: Chloe, Cally, Rudy, Maddy, and Muffy. I had to leave them behind at eighteen, when I moved to Chicago.

I cried and cried.

And left Chicago a few months later. I wasn't trying to escape anything.

Home I came, to take my ACTs and go to college. But in college I was accused of plagiarism for writing something the teacher thought was halfway decent, and another teacher said John Lennon sucked, so I stopped going to classes. The history teacher who was obsessed with Napoleon and dissed John Lennon wore a mullet.

That was community college, though. I had become a dispossessed hardcore punk rocker in high school. I knew better than the rest, and the faculty. I flunked gym class (which my forensic psychologist said today is hard to do.) I could still go back, but I have become superman.

What years, what hell? In psychiatric wards, at home and in buildings. I survived by science.

I was going to use this blog post to reveal my mysteries, but nah. I've always been happy, though.