Latchkey Kids, Elevated

When New Jersey ran its course, we decided to move to a farm in the Catskills of Upstate New York (the region where “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”) It was a massive change, city to country with three kids under the age of six, and my cup was overflowing all over the place. All rainbows and unicorns were welcome distractions.

Jacinta was the magical, colorful Assistant Teacher in my daughter’s third grade class in High Meadow School where I stuck my older kids once we’d settled in our new home.  Jacinta wore lots of amazing, vintage clothing. She was brave in a way I am not and have never been about doing experimental shit with her hair. She had a delicious aura and a kind of personal melody. From day one I found her to be an enticing, warm, funny, exhilarating, and genuinely creative human.

Author Jacinta Bunnell
(Photo with Permission of Jacinta Bunnell)

She created an art exhibit of playful and candy-colored, mixed media paintings based on our children’s schoolwork. She hosted Hudson Valley B.R.A.W.L. (Broad’s Arm-Wrestling League) events in drag, as her alter ego, Magenta Delecta. She published several LGBTQIA coloring books with excellent titles like: “Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon.”

She (and her awesome husband Michael) showed up in costume to my 80’s themed, roller skating 40th birthday party. When I donated to a crowd-funded art project, she gave me her favorite t-shirt as a thank you gift.

During a recent, long-term illness that overlapped with the pandemic, Jacinta was bedridden, and, still, she created a perfect gem of a book called, Latchkey Township, a collection of essays, thoughts and bits and pieces of memory from a group of contributing writers on our various experiences of being raised in the 70’s and 80’s as latchkey kids.

Click on the link and grab a copy of Latchkey Township by Jacinta Bunnell and look out for the piece I contributed about my own latchkey afternoons.

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