My name is David Neff. I was born at Tucson Medical Center at 10:36pm on September 14, 1987. I was a C-section baby. The two names picked out before for me before my birth were Bradley and David. My mom told me that the second she saw me she knew I was a David. I also know that my parents called me Homer before they had any idea what to actually name me. David, incidentally, is also the name of my grandmother Mildred Neff's first son, who died shortly after childbirth. My dad told me, when I eventually asked, that my naming was entirely unrelated. I was also, as I'm told, my grandmother Neff's favorite grandson. Sometimes I wonder if that's because I was her oldest son's first son, or that I was named David, and I lived, which somehow made up for her first son, who is buried somewhere in Ohio in a graveyard I've never seen.
When I was born my mom owned a piano store called Pro Music, which was located roughly around Broadway and Wilmot. I was, as my mom has told me, the "store baby," but it didn't last long, as the recession that hit in the late '80s led to the store's eventual buy-out from Hachenberg & Son's Pianos, which is located, funnily enough, directly across the street from the music store I work in now. My mom says she has never regretted selling it for a second.
I was born into a house - some-address-or-other on Indian Ridge Dr, which is located off of Tanque Verde Road, between Grant/Kolb and Sabino Canyon Dr. My parents sold the house to a couple who ended up having a child named Ben who, funnily enough, became friends with my younger brother Paul in preschool... but that hasn't happened yet. At one and half years old my parents moved out east, past the furthest bus stop, into 49ers Country Club, into the house that I now and forever will call my home. It was the third house built in my neighborhood and the previous owner hadn't upgraded a thing since. We moved in shotly after I was born, a year which also brought Tucson's only white Christmas my mom (a Tucson native) has ever seen. She said they took me out in the snow, and she and my dad joked about it being God's gift to me for being born. My home had carpet which was a funky orange, before it was remodeled years later, and I remember peices of the ceiling were falling out in the family room. My mom's Yamaha grand piano was in the living room, which is, mind you, seperate from the family room, though they were right next to each other. There were wood panel walls and window shades. There was a tacky bar that connected the kitchen and the family room. There was a striped body-pillow that we kept out there, because I used to sleep on it as a toddler.
The rest of my early childhood are the regular cliches of any other. I was the first born. I, like every other child it seems, started reading and recognizing symbols and talking at a very young age. I was never very exploratory, unlike my younger brother, and, as I've been told, always behaved very well in public - aside from the time I pooped on the floor of PDQ Records, which my parents have never really fully explained to me in detail but I can probably figure out either way.
I was baptised with my mom, which I didn't know until a few months ago. My mom was raised in a spiritually conflicted family, apparently, half-Jewish and half-Christian and, due to her gender, the definitive religion seemed to kind of pass her by. She was neither baptised or mitzfah'd, if that's what you'd call it. I went to church as a very young boy. I remember getting a pin for each chapter of the Bible I read. It was a mildly conservative Methodist church. My dad was raised Methodist. Once I turned the age of five, I remember trying to get out of going to church weekly. When I was about seven years old, due to a poor engineering decision, I was near-fatally electrocuted at my church while trying to get a drink of water on the playground of Sunday School. All I remember is trying to scream, but I couldn't, because I was stuck to the fence by the water fountain, and I was knocked unconscious when I hit the concrete. I remember waking up to paramedics, my Sunday school teacher and my parents. They were checking for burns. They said I was very lucky. After that I had to sleep in my parents room for a number of months, and they sent me to a children's psychiatrist because I was having ultra-realistic nightmares based on the Little Golden Books my parents would read me. I still don't understand how or why that all worked like it did, but sometimes I wonder if it scrambled my brain. After that, I never wanted to go to church again.
I remember now that my babysitter Lisa told me, after my parents got divorced many years later, that it took her so much by surprise, because my family was always seen as picture-perfect to everyone in the congregation. For some reason, that is something that has stuck with me for years and pops up every time I sit down and think about it all.