My Psychic Childhood and Uncanny Eavesdropping Superpowers

How a curious and wacko kid became an oddly-perceptive adult

Debra G. Harman, MEd.
9 min readJul 17, 2022


Young teenage girl with brown hair and light eyes stares at the Photographer Head shot. Girl is not smelling, and wears an artistic brown and white jacket.
Photo by Konstantin Mishchenko:

I was a snoopy little fat kid who listened in on my parents through the heater vents. We all did — my brother, sister and me.

We lived in an old farmhouse with a large grate at the top of the stairs. Lying on the floor with our heads on the vent gave us a direct pipeline to our parents’ bedroom downstairs. Their real conversations echoed through the vent.

Authentic conversation overheard through heater vent

“My bladder’s about to burst!”

“Well, burst it on your side of the bed!”

This access to parental discourse was solid gold!

Okay, conversations were disturbing on occasion, but yielded real adult information. Not the watered-down pablum grownups fed us.

It was the ’60s and and sex, drugs, and rock n roll were coming alive! Not so much on the farm though.

Rural Oregon lacked excitement

So we just made shit up best we could and searched for dirt under every rock.

I was that kid who wanted to know everything.

I made everything my business! The adults, including my parents and grandparents a stone’s throw down the road, hid what they could from me.

To no avail!

It was the decade of a-man-on-the-moon, Kennedy’s assassination from the grassy knoll, and UFOs. I wasn’t going to let anything past me.

Julia Child on TV? Wouldn’t miss it!

Candy Hits by ZaSu Pitts? One of Grandma’s recipe books, but the cover was bright pink and green, and I scanned the recipes. Fudge, penoche, mints.

I got to the bottom of everything

When my aunt died in a car crash, I heard the sad story through the heater vent as Mom and Dad talked in their bedroom.

My aunt had gone through the windshield.



Debra G. Harman, MEd.

Memoirist and author. As a publisher on Medium, she enjoys working with a team of editors & writers. Also a retired English teacher and a world traveler.