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Our group of about ten kids felt safe, since the older cousins and neighbors watched over us younger kids, and we all cheered and booed in the appropriate places. But when I told the other kids that the monster wasn't real, they refused to believe me.

"His tail was made of rubber," I insisted. "I could tell. I saw the crease."

"It was not!" they said, unwilling to believe that the magic of Hollywood was in play here. They didn't want the monster to be made of rubber, while I was fascinated by rubber monsters with fake tails. I decided then and there that, one day, I would work in the movies in some capacity.

Marguerite and Daddy Ray spent time between their farmhouse in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and a modern cinder-block and brick home in Denver, Colorado, where we stayed sometimes when Dad was stationed nearby. This sleepy, bucolic neighborhood was fashioned in Craftsman style, its streets lined with century-old majestic oak and maple trees. The sidewalks were slabs of granite and redstone, no cement; the structures were built to last. No one had garages then, so everyone parked their Edsels on the streets with no worries about them getting stolen.

In the house, there were chrome faucets in the bathroom, and every time we used the sink, we had to wipe the water spots off the chrome. If we didn't, my grandmother went berserk and raised holy hell, since she was meticulous to a fault. After dinner, the floor had to be swept and the dishes had to be washed, dried, and put away. Then and only then could we sit down to tackle our homework.

FROM: The Bravest Families in America
Published on February 03, 2011

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