Her paternal grandparents—the Tomchins—were immigrant/refugees from Romania. They were on some leaking boat, headed for Ellis Island, when they swapped names with some other people, called Horowitz. Apparently, it was because Horowitz sounded more American.
Anyway, the rest of the Tomchins stayed back in old Europe (currently called 'New Europe') and they all got killed by some blokes with an 'ism.' (It was W.W.2., and you could kill just about anyone you wanted to, so long as you had some kind of an 'ism' or a 'rationale' or a note signed by someone big.)
The Tomchins who made it to America, I mean, the Horowitzes, set about rebuilding their lives—helping forge America and all that mildewy, family album type stuff.
It all went fine: they lived in N.Y. and they were all ethnic and shit, and they had a kid called Michael and...
Blah, blah, skip a bit.
..And then he married some babe called Cindy...
Cindy and Michael were hippies—full time hippies...
[ In case you don't know—'hippies' were people who wore a lot of denim, smoked grass, burnt money and said stuff like "make love, not war."]
Later on, after a bunch of protest marches, sit-ins, love-ins and smoke-outs, Cindy announced that she was 'with child'. Michael swallowed his spliff, and so could not speak for a while (at least, that was his story).
Then... nine months and four days later: it happened...
It was a cold and blustery day in a town called 'Winona'—Winona, Minnesota—when out popped a strange little creature whom they did name 'Winona'—after the town and some Indian goddess babe wot the town was named after in the first place.
Luckily, the new Winona was also a girl.
So, that was all fine.
Winona became a medium sized baby, then a small size tot, and.. Suddenly, they moved to a jungle in South America.
After a brief stay there—during which the young Winonoid was chased around her tent by a spider the size of an Apollo moonlander—the family moved back to the U.S.A.. More or less.
Actually, they went to live on a commune. In California...
The Tomchin-Horowitzes were, like their neighbors, posh hippies—they had running water, houses with roofs and other modern stuff like that.
But no electricity.
This absence of electricity was a crucial factor in the development of Winona's brain—because—without electricity there can be no T.V..
No T. V. ! Can you imagine?
So then Winona and the other hippie kids had to, like, read books and make up plays and do extra outdoor stuff—much more than wot normal kids have to.
By the way, there was a generator on that commune, so mom set up a movie house in the old barn. There was a real m,movie projector and everything. And that's how come Winona went all loopy over the movies; the screen was like a window on a world beyond..
[By the way, re Winona's addiction to Chewable Vitamin C.]
Then, one day, they moved back to normalville, and eleven year old Winona had to go to 'school'.
And there was a BIG problem... HUGE.
You see, being a hippie, little Noni tended to do what she liked: she wore the clothes she liked, had her hair how she liked it—short (cuz it's easier when tree climbing and skateboarding)—and, in general, she behaved like, well, like a little hippie...
The normal kids thought she was 'a boy.'
In fact, they thought she was a bit of a girly-boy—faggy.
Fagginess, at that school, was a major crime—and that's why the 'real' boys beat him up on her very first day.
Then they shoved her in a locker.
(Suckage.. Major suckage..)
She was okay though: only one busted rib, a few cuts and some bruises; the hospital let her home the same day and everything...
So then the kids were advised that Winona was technically 'a girl' and therefore could not be beat on no more. So, they made fun of her instead. All the time. Even the girls made fun—that's how popular was Winona.
After a while, it was like getting beat up in the, um, 'heart area'—it was all a bit emotional/psychological and...
...But we don't talk about that stuff, cos it's too icky, right?
She did try to fit in—it's not like she was deliberately weird just to annoy people.
But Winona could not fit in and be herself at the same time.
It was the rules.
It didn't even help that she was good at skateboarding. It was true: she could skateboard like old Picasso could paint. But, alas, her Top Gun skatiness just made things worse...
So then she tried growing her hair out—long and natural—like 'a girl.'
But the other kids laughed even more than before—because with her very dark eyes and very pale skin, her long blonde hair looked fake.. even though it wasn't fake...
So then she dyed it black—so it would look real.
But that didn't work either—they called her a witch and threw cheeze whiz in her hair.
So then she cut it back again—real, real short. And that made things even worse..
This went on a while...
And eventually, because the cheeze whiz was getting in her books, and because the school said she was a 'disruptive influence' (with her bruised and witchy looks) and because of some other stuff that's too rotten to go into here, Winona was removed from school.
Winona was then schooled at home. It turned out that Rye Bread had an I.Q. of 2,678.73 (or there-abouts).
So, she was able to learn lots of stuff at home—no probs—and read 41, 672, 868 books before age sixteen.
[ Though it should be noted that this total does include 41, 669, 214 re-reads of "The Catcher In The Rye" by J.D. Salinger. ]
By the way, when she was about twelve she had a near death experience—she nearly drowned. The life-guard fished her out—just in time—and when he gave her mouth-to-mouth, out came three quarts of Pacific and a two foot thresher shark...
Some time later, someone noticed that Winona's play acting was quite 'good'. So then she was sent to a prestigious acting place, down in San Francisco—where they wear flowers in their hair, etc—and then she was discovered by some capitalist movie bloke, and then she was famous, and then we all heard of her, etc, etc.
And that's the Winona Tomchin story, mostly.
But don't take it too seriously;
It's probably a lie.
Wry Ryder © copyright 2003 cb salter. all rights reserved.