• Things that my parents considered when choosing my name was one that had meaning, one that was original, and one that couldn’t be made into a nickname easily. Still, I have had nicknames including Tanny, Paige, and Deeni. I like my name as it is, but I don’t mind going by a nickname either. They settled on Tandena, which comes from my father’s initials and my mother’s nick name: TAN and Dena. My father was adamant that my name be completely original, while my mother wasn’t quite so enthusiastic. My mother had already gotten a book of baby names and my father’s response was along the lines of: “Good, now we can check to make sure the name we come up with isn’t in there.” My mother always pictured her child as a little version of tom, running around the house and it was a bit of a shock to her when she discovered that she was going to have a girl. My dad actually would have liked me to pick my own name, but this could not happen since my name had to be registered before we left the hospital.

    Since I had no middle name, during elementary school I was always trying to pick one for myself. It actually led to quite a game that lasted over several years. I would sometimes come home from school and declare my middle name to be one thing, and the next day come home declaring a new middle name. A few of the names that I remember choosing are: Amethyst, Pearl, Cristal, Amber, Maytrix, Eand, Casey, and Orca. I went so far as to start signing my papers as Tandena Eand Nelson for a time.

    One time, my father demonstrated for my mom what computers were capable of, and programmed a computer to print out a large sheet that read, “Tan & Dena” in a calligraphic font. This hung above my door while I was growing up, but it got ripped accidentally when my friends and I were running around the house. It now hangs above my parent’s bedroom door.











    My father had a dog that he loved very much named Blackie. At his father’s house he remembers his father treating his dog badly. His father tied a chicken corpse around Blackie’s neck, trying to stop the dog from chasing and killing the chickens. Tom was upset at this treatment, and he also hated that Blackie was kept in a cage that was far too small. He thinks that this cruelty might have turned Blackie mean. When Tom went to his father’s house to stay, he left Blackie with his mother to take care of. Blackie bit someone while Grandma B was walking him, and she had to put Blackie down after that. When my dad learned that his beloved dog was gone he was heartbroken over the loss of the dog’s company.

    The experience upset him, and may have led to him being against allowing me to have a dog either. However, after much coaxing with the help of my mother who also had dogs when she was growing up, we finally got Diamond, and I don’t think he has regretted the decision. He still believes that both his parents made mistakes that cost his dog’s life, but he also has helped to heal the loss with Diamond’s help. 



    In kindergarten, I was riding my bike to school with my mother and was going up the curve when I fell over. The bike was half on top of me, and my mother ran back to try and help me. I stayed where I was and she was trying to extract me from the bike asking if I had hurt myself. “My arm, my arm!” I tried to tell her as she lifted it in attempts to move the bike off me. She looked at my arm closer, before realizing that it was bulging oddly. We had crashed only yards from my house, so she picked me up and carried me home. I wasn’t crying, but I was whimpering and was worried from how upset she was.

    At home she called my dad to come home from O.W. Erlewine where he was volunteering to come and take us to the hospital. She then called Grandma B to ask whether to ice the arm or heat it. While we waited for dad to come home he elevated the arm and waited anxiously. The drive to the hospital was agonizing because the freeway jostled my arm constantly. Mother rode in the back with me, while dad drove us there.

    I stayed in the hospital for days, had an operation where the used pins to reattach the bone to itself, and finally I was given a cast and a sling. I remember eating jello and having to be fed since one arm had a cast and the other had a drip. I also remember sleeping in the hospital bed and watching TV as I waited. The worst part of the entire experience was removing the tape from my arm from the drip, which made me scream.

    When I came home I was still a bit nauseous from the operation and threw up almost as soon as we parked in the garage. The other thing that frightened me was the machine used to cut the cast off. The friends I had in the court told me how they thought I had been kidnapped the way our bikes were left on the curb and one of my shoes was found yards away.


    Charles Ng, a killer who filmed himself committing sex crimes was arrested in Canada on the day I was born. Supervisors were trying to withdraw 6 million from the Bank of American for supporting the boy scouts, whom did not permit gay members. Elsewhere in the country, gay awareness was attempting to enter into the school system through children’s books such as Gloria has Two Mommies, but was repulsed. A cell phone weighing slightly less than a pound was a deal at $300.

    A second reactor was restarted at Chernobyl, and Ukraine declared that it believed the nuclear energy outweighed the risk. This spread nervous waves through the world. Soviet and United States fell threw in a possible nuclear arms agreement that would have reduced nuclear weapons over the long term. President Clinton had won the election, but had not yet taken the oath of office. The Iran-contra affair was a controversy over selling weapons to Iran in exchange for hostages, and then using the money to aid rebels in Nicaragua to try and overthrow the government there in secret. President Bush gave pardons to the government officials charged with committing perjury and concealing information. Somalia was in war, and a truce was front page news all over the nation, however it was predicted as not a lasting agreement.

                Grandma Rose, Grandma Jan, Grandpa Mike, and Grandma B were all there the day my mother was in labor. Grandma B was doing what she could, encouraging and gently rubbing mom’s feet. I started being born at 3 o’clock in the morning but it was not over until 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Because I was born when my parents were supposed to be signing Escrow papers, the meeting had to be canceled. Shortly afterward, my parents where concerned that I might not be nursing correctly since they couldn’t tell that milk was being exchanged. Dad remembers nurse’s words being “Love your baby.” which left and impression upon him because he realized that the nurse had dealt with parents who had born unwanted children. MC came and Gandpa Roger came to visit once I left the hospital. 

Last Modified on April 7, 2015