Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hey Mom, Why No Reminiscing From My Grand Parents for Whom You Made This Blog Private?

I don't know girls.  Maybe they don't really love you.  Here's a little LRB to soothe your pain.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Couple Random Memories

Let's gals are in first and third grade as I write this.  What was I up to at those ages?  In first grade I lived in Indiana.  I went to the 10th Street Elementary School. My teacher was Mrs. Richards and once, when an impromptu paste fight erupted in the classroom, I caused its end when Patrick Shoemaker threw some in my eye and I cried.  Ahhhh...good times.  I learned that we would be moving to Virginia near the end of the school year.  As a going away gift, Mrs. Richards gave me a copy of Bedtime for Frances.  I don't recall having any strong emotions about the impending move, but I do remember the move itself.

The night before we were to head off to the mountains, there were twenty tornadoes sighted in and around our area.  I loved tornado warnings and watches.  Obviously, nothing I cared about was ever wiped from the planet by a twister.  What I knew of tornadoes was this:  if they were home when it happened, we all piled into the van and drove 100 feet to our neighbors' house because they had a finished basement.  We drove because the van was grounded by its tires which meant we would not, individually, be electrocuted by lightning should it strike in our immediate area, and also because it was usually raining with some ferocity as the warning sirens were blaring.  Their basement was awesome.  It had a ping pong table and a pool table and the back wall was lined with shelves that were filled with fun things.  We would play, and there would be snacks, and we'd listen to the transistor radio for news of the storms.

That night, we were doing all those things, when your uncle Keith locked himself into a pair of handcuffs.  The handcuffs were famously missing their key.  Everyone had heard that about them.  "Don't mess with those, we've lost the key" must've been said a dozen times that very evening.  Still, Keith boldly snapped them on, convinced he could free himself.  He could not.

The storms passed without incident to our neighborhood, so we would still have a ton of boxes for the movers to load on the truck in the morning.  Keith remained locked in the handcuffs.  So my parents called our neighborhood police officer, Dennis - the boys' nemesis.  Dennis had made it his personal duty to keep the Provost boys clean and off the streets and was, from what I could tell, the bane of their collective existence.  Dennis was off duty, but came right over.  He did not have a skeleton key with him, so he had to take Keith to the station to get one.  If memory serves, he made him ride in the back of the car like a common criminal.  Then, after he made a big scene of not finding a key in his desk, he walked Keith through the jail, pointing to cells and telling him how one guy killed himself in that cell, and the guy there did [something scary] and so on.  Then he found a key, unlocked the cuffs and brought your uncle back home to us.  I remember sitting on one of the boxes in the dining area of the kitchen, waiting for Keith to get home.  I remember my mom thinking the whole thing was pretty funny.  Then we set off for Virginia.

Now then, by third grade I was in the swing of how school worked.  For one thing, I got in trouble a lot less. I met my friend Anni in Mrs. Gnegy's third grade class.  Early in the year, my favorite song was Joan Jett & the Blackheart's cover of I Love Rock and Roll.  I remember dancing to it and singing into my comb in front of the full length mirror that hung in the hallway as I got ready for school in the morning.  I discovered my love for writing (but not spelling) in third grade.  Oh, and your uncle Dave broke my finger.

We were headed to church in our van, and it was very cold out.  There was some ice on the driveway.  Just as I was about to climb in, I slipped on said ice, and grabbed the post between the front passenger door and the sliding door for support.  At that exact same moment, Dave was closing the front door.  As we all knew, you had to really slam that front door or it wouldn't shut properly, so he slammed it with impressive force, on my hand.  Kevin reported that I sounded just like a foghorn roughly one and half seconds after impact.  The door closed on all my fingers, but only my index finger was fractured.  We had to go to the hospital, after a brief stop next door, so Dr. Miller could have a look at it and pronounce it likely broken.  The ER staff x-rayed it and put it in a splint and wrapped it up and sent me on my way.  I got to go home and eat a popsicle and lie on the couch.  Dave felt pretty bad about the accident and everyone was nice to me for at least that full day.  What I remember most now is that I didn't have to go to church.  That made it a win in my book.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Roller Skates

My first pair of roller skates were the old, metal kind.  You stuck them on your shod feet, and tightened them to fit by sliding the two pieces just the right distance apart and clamping them in place with a wing nut.  They weighed a ton and their noisy, metal wheels destroyed nice flooring.  I adored them.

I can recall one of the first times I wore my roller skates.  Mom helped me get them on my feet, then sent me directly to the garage, where my dad was doing some wood working on his table saw.  Your uncle Kevin was out there with us.  It was cool out, and it was evening.  I was only just beginning to figure out how to move myself along without falling.  I would push myself from one fixed point to the next, not really moving my feet but just gliding along until I stopped by colliding with another fixed object.  Back and forth in the garage I was doing that.  Back and forth, back and forth...I was going to be good at this activity.

I suppose Kevin was helping.  I guess he was encouraging me to move my feet along, to use one to push myself along while slightly bending my knees and swaying ever so gently to maintain balance and steer myself.  I suppose this is the case because I really don't remember but I do know I eventually was able to do those things.  I did them so well I used to wish roller skating was an Olympic sport because I would own that event!  Just wait till those judges saw me breeze through space backwards while Kool and the Gang Celebrated Good Times.  I could see them all holding up giant "10" placards.  That was to be at least a year from this moment.  At this moment I was pleased to be upright, and marveling at the sheer weight of the contraptions on my feet. 

I have no idea what Kevin was actually doing out there, but I do know dad was ignoring us both.  I think maybe when one has 5 children one learns to tune a lot of things out.  I don't remember what we were talking about but I do remember this:  I was perched upon the garage door when I suddenly needed to go to the bathroom right now.  I can recall seeing the distance between where I stood and the door into the house.  There was a bathroom just inside that door to the right.  But as I stood there the short scoot over there became an unbridgeable chasm.  I froze.  Then Kevin did something hilarious.  I don't know what it was, but I could not.  Stop.  Laughing.  And I could not move from that spot, but my bladder didn't care.  Full is full people, it's not subjective.  Kevin has never been that funny again, I promise you. 

At last I had no choice but to use every bit of arm strength I could muster to push myself from the garage door to the door to the house (and then somehow manage to lift one foot at a time up the single step that led inside).  When I finally managed this monumental task, it was too late.  I was laughing so hard, I peed my pants as I glided across the garage floor in my metal skates.  I left a trail of pee from point A to point B.  My oh-so-helpful brother left stinky me to my own devices, but he was good enough to help with the clean-up.  My memory of that evening ends with the sight of Kevin gingerly grabbing the broom then sweeping the freshly created sawdust from around the table saw into a tidy mountain range along the long line of urine I'd left in my wake.  And that, for me, was Roller Skating: Day One.  On Day Two and every other successive skating day, I'm certain, I visited the loo before donning my skates.