Let's see...you 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.