Wayne Taylor


autobiography, ivy

Document Type



I was seven years old, leaving what I thought was Eden for the northeastern United States. The jungle, our backyard, a tangled and mysterious playground filled with loud birds, lizards , and an occasional snake, fell away in the noise and rush of Managua and the scream of propellers. Nicaragua slipped into memory: hunting iguana on hot Sunday afternoons, the warm chatter of rain on our tin roof, and volcanoes to the south and west, smoking redly through the nights. Left behind was the string hammock woven with bright red and green designs in which my sister and I had taken our afternoon naps, kicking and pushing each other to get better position while Mother read us Black Beauty, Tom Sawyer, or Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales, and where I often fell asleep, staring out screen windows at the smoking mountains, the vanguards of the Ring of Fire. Behind lay the Central American mining town where I had learned the rudiments of survival for a six-year-old boy-braggadocio or, failing that, singular accuracy with a rock-ahead were the echelons of the East , the Ivy League.