Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I’ve loved you since I met you. We’e been together since I was young. I think I was about 15 or 16, but I knew you way before that. I knew you when I was a little kid. It feels like it has been forever. In reality, it has been a very, very long time, just not forever. You drew me in with your beautiful smell. You drew me in with your amazing color. I loved it. I loved you. 

I craved you. I couldn’t help it. I became addicted. How could I not have? We did everything together. We woke up together. We spent the mornings together. We always spent after lunch together and even evenings. We did this for many, many years. But then you started causing problems for me. I started feeling weird and I started having issues with my body. You were harming me because I couldn’t get enough of you. 

I had to start hanging out with your less than fun younger brother. He wasn’t bad, but I liked you better. I loved you better. It just wasn’t the same. It took me a while, but I stopped thinking about you. I actually started to feel better without you. You left me alone for over six months, maybe longer.  I felt free. I really felt better without you.

One day, I saw you again. You were just right there. I couldn’t resist you. It was like heaven. We only hung out in the mornings though. It felt just right. You weren’t being mean to me. You weren’t making things go crazy. It was nice. I loved you again. You loved me again.  The weekends were the best. We hung out all day. Just like we did before. It was wonderful. 

But now, you are starting to not be so great again. You’re starting to drive me crazy. I can’t sleep at night. I lie there in bed, just staring at the ceiling. I think and think and then think some more. You are doing it again. You’re starting to be mean. 

I’ve come to the realization that we can only hang out in the mornings. That’s it, no afternoons or evenings. Even on the weekends, it can only be in the morning. The rest of the time, I will be hanging out with your brother again. He’s just not as good though. Why can’t he be just like you, except without the meanness? Why can’t he? 

I really do love you more, but I have to be disciplined. I have to be strict with you. Even though I want to hang out all the time, I have to stick to my guns. 

Coffee you have been so important to me. I really have loved you forever, but it’s back to your brother, decaf. I will see you in the mornings, but that’s it. I just can’t spend that much time with you anymore. I have to take a break from you. 

A babysitter named Corrine and a Banana Splits lunchbox

It was the Euclid house. It was fall. The mornings were cold. It was a contest. We wanted to see who could make it to the babysitter’s house without wearing a coat. It wouldn’t have been bad, except we rode our bikes, so it always felt like the wind was blowing right in our faces. We rode the whole width of the street. We thought we were cool. Brats riding bikes in the middle of the street. We were every parent’s nightmare. We had to carry our lunchboxes too. We used to have the brown paper bags, but for some reason I begged my mom into getting me a regular lunchbox. Mine was from the TV show The Banana Splits. It was white vinyl. It had a snap fold-over closing. It smelled weird, that strange vinyl smell.  The kind of smell you can’t stand, yet you keep smelling it. 

Every morning we did this. Same time, same place. No coats. Contest. 

I was curious, so I looked up The Banana Splits show. It was around until about 1970. It started in 1968. The puppeteers, Sid and Marty Krofft, made it big after this show ended. Their next cartoon was H.R. Pufnstuff. Remember that one? I also just lost 1 minute and 22 seconds of my life listening to the theme song from The Banana Splits show. It’s called “The Tra La La Song,” and you will never get it out of your head. Seriously. Not even kidding. 

We were going to her house. The babysitter’s house. I always wondered, if we could get ourselves to a babysitter’s house, why did we need a babysitter? Weird. Anyway, it was only about two blocks. I tracked it the other day because I couldn’t remember. We would cut through the alley and out into the street. We rode over to Grand and then two blocks north. Her house was a few houses in from the intersection of Grand and Elizabeth. The house was big. It had a wraparound porch and was painted white. 

She was pretty. She had dark hair and beautiful dark olive skin. She was really tan. Her voice was kind of different. It’s hard to describe. Not high pitched, not deep. Just different. She taught us about life. She taught us about doing our part. She taught us about working. We liked to help her. There was a clothesline in the backyard and a big garden. There were rows and rows of green beans. We picked them for her and ate them the whole time we were picking. We helped with the laundry. We helped with everything. We even helped with cooking and baking.

She let us be kids. She let us play in the dirt. She didn’t get mad if we were dirty or muddy, or if we made a mess. She just let us be. She taught us how to knit and how to put together jigsaw puzzles. The hard ones. The 500 or more pieces ones. I vaguely remember music too. I can’t remember what it was about the music, but something…

She treated us right. She treated us like we were her own. I loved her. 

Thanks Corrine Leidholt. You were a positive influence in my life and I am forever grateful for you. 

Halloween Tradition

Happy Halloween

Do you ever wonder what the history of Halloween is? Me either. 

Okay, I kind of do wonder. I had to go look. Basically, the practices of Halloween mostly come from Celtic paganism in the British Isles, and their feast of Samhain, the new year. They believed it was the time when ghosts and spirits came out to haunt, and the Celts would appease the spirits by giving them treats. Interesting. 

Back to my Halloween. Back to plastic masks with the stinky smell and the eye holes, nose holes and mouth holes that would practically cut your skin if they were moved just right. We could eat a sucker and the stick would stick out the small hole that was the mouth hole. We thought it was cool. Like we were smoking a cigarette. Those things made your whole face sweat and it was hard to breathe. They were also creepy. 

Costumes are creepy. Costumes are uncomfortable. Costumes are weird. But we all did it. We all wore those creepy plastic masks to hide our true identity. Nobody knew who we were unless they were trick or treating with us. Or unless they recognized our parents who took us out trick or treating. Wait a second. That never happened. We went by ourselves. Every year. All the time. Do kids even do that anymore? I mean, it is kind of a scary world out there anymore. 

We used to hit all the “good” houses. The ones that gave “good” Halloween candy. As in none of that rotten crappy candy, such as Necco wafers (GAWD), or candy corn (heaven forbid) or those disgusting peanut butter chews that were wrapped in orange and black paper to make them more appealing looking. It never worked. We could all see right through that little trick. The best houses were remembered every single year. It was tradition. I remember some highlights. 

One in particular was the Mateer House. They lived on Broadway. They gave presents! Can you believe that? Presents. The line was crazy. You had to get there early and you had to wait in line. They greeted kids at the door and then proceeded to take down the kids’ name and write it in a book. I wonder how many kids tried to dupe them and get double presents. I would like to think none, but I bet it happened. They were the cutest little old couple. They obviously loved Halloween. One year I got a sleep mask. It was black. I wonder if I ever used it. 

Another house on Yankton street gave away popcorn balls. Delicious, chewy and sweet popcorn balls. Not too sweet and not full of seeds. Perfect popcorn balls. They lived on the corner of Yankton and Capitol. The Brasel house. The best popcorn ball house. That was definitely a house not to miss. 

If you were lucky enough, some houses gave out full size candy bars. That was definitely a huge score in the trick or treating world. If you found the house, you immediately told all other trick or treaters you came in contact with. Sometimes when it was getting time to head back home and people were turning off porch lights, and you happened to hit their house, they gave you all the candy they had left. That was a huge Halloween score. 

Once it started getting late, and we got home, it was time. My absolute favorite part of Halloween. It was time to sort the candy. Everything had to be perfect. I got rid of my costume. I got rid of my coat, if I needed to wear one that year. I sat down in the living room. The lights had to be on. The bucket or bag, or whatever receptacle was used as the candy collector, was dumped on the floor. I had to shoo away the dog and the Dad. Dad would constantly be in the pile. He would always sneak a Baby Ruth or a Butterfinger. The sorting would begin. The candy sorting ritual. Everything in piles. Baby Ruths in a pile. Kit Kats in a pile. Reese’s in a pile. Every single different kind of candy was in a pile. The only thing I would eat while sorting was gum. Dubble Bubble. Five or six pieces at once. Slupring up that sugary pile of pink putty. Mmmmmmmm. I don’t chew gum anymore. You can probably see why. 

Once everything was sorted into piles, the pieces were counted. It was a tradition. Then the trading could commence with siblings. Sometimes nothing was traded. Sometimes a few things were traded and even sometimes the gross candy was thrown away. Dad wouldn’t even eat it. Every year it was done the exact same way. Every year. It was tradition. 

Butterflies and Freedom

It was summer. The Euclid house. It was hot. I think it was August. My sister and I roamed free. We were young though, so we may have still had a babysitter at home, but that didn’t stop us from roaming. If I had to guess, I would say I was about ten years old. Sherry and I  started hanging out with some kids a few blocks away. I can’t remember who they were, so it must not have been a constant. We rode our bikes a lot and we walked a lot. When it got really, really hot, we would ride our bikes. We went barefoot all the time and when it got that hot, the bottoms of our feet would burn, so we either started riding our bikes barefoot (gasp) or wore shoes, which we hated.

I struggle to remember because it seemed like we were older and it maybe was the Central House. We only lived there for a short time, but still managed to get in a lot of trouble. It really doesn’t matter for the story where we lived, but I want to remember it correctly.

Anyway, we were playing with some kids and were just riding our bikes going somewhere, going anywhere. We ended up on a street that was a big hill. I can remember one of the kids had a skateboard, which freaked me the hell out, because seriously, a skateboard down that steep hill. Even at that age, I knew it was something I wouldn’t do. Apparently fear ran deep.

The hill was steep. Kid steep. It might not be adult steep, but it was close. It was the hill that intersected at Huron and Elizabeth Streets and then down to intersect Central Avenue. If you looked straight ahead you could see the river. You could see the forever. You could see blue, blue sky and white, white clouds. It was incredible. It was an amazing hill.

That was a summer full of butterflies. Monarch butterflies. The orange, white and black butterflies. Pretty ones. Their wings looked like glass, stained glass. They were magical and beautiful…and free. They floated effortlessly through the air. Going somewhere. Going anywhere. They were on a mission. A migration mission.

On that street, on that hot summer day, time stood still. I sat there on my bike looking at the street. At first I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. The street looked strange. It looked like the asphalt was moving. I felt alone. It seemed like it was just me. I started moving. I started pedaling. I felt like I could fly. Suddenly, I was surrounded. It was the most amazing thing ever. I stopped at the bottom of the hill on the next block. There were hundreds of them. Hundreds and hundreds of Monarch butterflies surrounded me. They landed on me. They covered the street. They were on my face and in my hair. It was beautiful. It was calming. I felt free. Is that what freedom felt like? Could they feel it? I wanted to be a butterfly that day. I felt like a butterfly that day. I was free that day.

Zoom Out

It was about a month ago. Now time. Not kid time. I tried on five pairs of pants. All the same size. All fit different. None of them fit. Every single pair were too small. Or I was too big. However you want to spin it. They didn’t fit, plain and simple.

Old me would have been devastated. Now me is slightly concerned, but not throwing a tantrum. Not getting rid of all the food so I can starve myself. Not freaking out. The now me is bucking up and taking responsibility. I know I have been slacking. I have been eating too much and drinking too much wine. I know it’s time to clean it up. For me. I needed to quit eating whatever I wanted and however much I wanted.

It’s interesting how we let things slide. And now here is my point. Why do we have to slide? Why can’t we be okay all the time? Why can’t we just eat to stay healthy? Why do we feel like we have to eat all the things or drink all the things? Life is curious that way. Once we realize that we can stay in check and eat good food and drink once in a while, I think that mindset shifts and it is easier to stay on track. You have to nurture yourself. Take care of yourself. Think about what you are putting in your body. Do you really want to eat crappy and feel crappy all the damn time? I sure don’t. Take ownership of your eating. Understand how food makes you feel. Start with the basics and learn. Learn and then develop your skills. Zoom out. Take a hard look at what you want your life to look like. What you want to look like. Is it matching how you are now? If not. Do something. Take action. Make a change. Be positive and enjoy the journey.

I understand and I get it. Sometimes making changes is hard. We want to change, but actually doing the work and taking the steps and taking responsibility for our actions scares us. It just does. It’s easy, yet we try to overcomplicate it.

Well, I decided to take responsibility. I quit eating like an asshole. I started cleaning up my diet. And by the way, diet is not a dirty word. Diet actually simply means what you eat. Your diet. But, nothing can be simple in society, so it has been complicated beyond belief.

I actually started an online challenge and did the challenge right along with the people in the group. I gave them a nutrition plan and a daily workout. I stayed consistent, I ate well. I didn’t eat crap food. Like I said, I was consistent. I feel stronger, I feel better, I have more energy, I sleep better and I lost weight. Because I wanted to. Not because society told me I had to or because someone made a snarky comment. It was because I wanted to. It is okay if you want to change your body. It is okay if you want to lose weight. It is okay if you want to gain weight. Nobody gets to decide that for you, except you!

Just remember consistency is the key. You can consistently eat well and get results and you can consistently eat crappy and get results. It’s your choice, you get to pick. You get to own your results. Either way.

Angela

Angela Schweigert

My workout buddy

My work buddy

My drinking buddy

My recipe trying buddy

Her laugh

Her sincerity

Her

Her laugh was contagious. Kind of a snort but kind of not. You couldn’t help but laugh right along with her. 

She always named her cars.  At that time she had Cosmo. Her dad knew what the hell was up and he had that car running like a top.

We were in high school. She was at that time the best friend I had. It’s funny how people come and go, out and in, stay and play, and make their mark on your life. They touch your heart and they touch your life. They make your life better. You never forget them or the fun you had. They are special people. Truly. Life rolls on and you see things about them once in a while on Facebook. Or you see a parent passed. Sometimes you see the out of state plate parked at the parents house and you wonder how she is doing and wonder why you didn’t stop. But it’s okay, you just know. Because it goes without saying. It’s not necessary. Those are the best kinds of friends. That’s the kind of friend Angela is. Everyone needs those kinds of friends. They are the best. Always true. Always sincere. Always.

She was tall and lanky. She had long arms and long legs. She had a ton of long, wavy hair and a face full of freckles. She was a great listener and a great friend. 

We liked to work out. We wanted to be in shape. We used to ride our bikes out to Twin Bridges at least three times a week during the summer. It’s a jaunt. We used to laugh about the road kill we would see, unless it was a snake. That was disgusting. Other days we would go for runs or slap on some ankle weights and see how far we could walk, uphill, of course. On one of our runs, we stopped the Schwan’s truck and asked for ice cream. He obliged. We were happy. It was hot out that day. 

At that time the drinking age was 18. Not the hard alcohol drinking age, but the beer drinking age. It was winter and it was cold. It sucked. Angela’s parents were out of town, so we decided to make daiquiris. Yummy flavors. All the fruits. We had strawberry and peach and a couple other flavors. We decided to pretend it was warm out and we wore Hawaiian shirts and leis. Because that’s how we rolled. Why not make the best out of a bad situation. Winters in South Dakota, called for desperate measures. 

I remember another time we tried to make pita bread. The oven had to be extremely hot, like 500 degrees hot. I thought for sure we were going to burn down her house. It seemed like the oven was malfunctioning and the kitchen filled with smoke. I think maybe one of the 12 or so we made turned out. Obviously we weren’t bakers. 

We worked together at Sooper Dooper. We always had the dreaded 3-10 shift and 3-9 shift. It was terrible. It dragged on forever. We laughed though. We did stupid things so the time would pass. One time we put flower pots on our heads and customers thought we were crazy. Angela said we were pot heads. We got a good laugh out of that one.

We had a lot of good times. A lot of good friend times. Thanks for the friendship Angela. I will always, always remember how much fun we had and next time I see your car, I will stop and catch up. 

Timing is everything…

A series of near misses.

Tuesday started off like any other Tuesday. I was up at 4 am. I took a shower and got ready to go to the studio to train my morning clients. I let the dogs out and then put them back in the house. I gathered my many bags and coffee, trying to balance everything and getting down the steps safely. I put the bags on the passenger side of the car and walked around and got in my car, backed out of the garage and headed to the studio. It was about 4:50 a.m. I pulled out of the garage and headed up the driveway to the highway. I had gone about a mile when I heard a loud noise. Suddenly it was really loud inside the car. I turned off the radio and listened. The car was moving a little bit, like it was really windy out. It was pouring rain so I really wasn’t sure about the wind. Then my warning light came on. The warning light that tells me my tires are screwed up. Great. I figured I must have had a flat tire. I slowed way down and turned around when I could. I was about one and a half miles from the house. I didn’t want to go fast and risk ruining the rim, so I limped the car back to the garage. I got out and walked around to the back. Crap. Not only did I have a flat tire, I had a blown tire. It looked like it had just disintegrated. Well, now what? 

I decided to take the pickup. I have never driven it before. It’s giant. It barely fits in the garage. I hopped in. I couldn’t find the garage door opener button or the steering wheel tilter. I had to get back out of the pickup, walk through the garage, squeezing between the pickup and the wall and then up the steps and then to the garage door opener buttons by the door going into the house. The pressure was on now. I had to find the button in the pickup in order to close the garage door, otherwise I risked being soaked by the pouring rain. Yeah, it was pouring and it was also pitch black (what does pitch black even mean?). I backed out of the garage without ripping off the mirrors. I was impressed. I finally found the headlights switch and the windshield wiper switch. I couldn’t find the steering wheel tilter yet. So the steering wheel felt like it was way up on the dash. I felt like I was driving an 18 wheeler. I made it to the studio without further incident. 

I was really impressed with my parking abilities on this day. I managed to not hit any other vehicles while parking and backing out of parking spaces. 

I am sure you have all heard the saying, “Timing is everything.” Today, timing was everything. I was grateful I wasn’t out on the Interstate and having that tire blow. It would have been a way different scenario I am sure. Timing is everything.

Many times today that phrase came into play. I picked up a friend’s daughter from dance and took her home. They live by us, so it was an easy favor. On the way home it was still light and traffic was non-existent. We were about a half mile from home and all of a sudden a deer came flying out of the ditch and ran across the road. It wasn’t really flying, but you know what I mean. If we would have been going the speed limit, which is 65 miles per hour or been there ten seconds earlier, we would have hit the deer. Timing is everything. 

Later that evening, John loaded my car on a trailer and we hauled it into town so it could get some new tires. We were a few miles from town. There was a pickup in front of us. All of sudden that pickup slammed on its brakes. Oh crap. We had to slam on the brakes, which is a little difficult when you are trailering a car and your pickup weighs a ton, literally. It’s a little difficult to stop quickly. We were a few feet away from smashing into the pickup. A very small pickup with three dogs in the back was in front of that pickup. We didn’t know that and we didn’t see that until the pickup took a left turn. I don’t think he used a blinker or had any brake lights. Timing is everything. 

In life, timing is everything. Every single one of these situations could have turned out vastly different if it had been 30 seconds on either end. I definitely had my guardian angel working overtime today. I am grateful I didn’t have to find out how I would have dealt with the flip side of those situations. I am very blessed and I know it. 

Messages

The voice. I recognized it instantly. “My name is Sandy Austin Asbury, I’m an FBI Agent here in Pierre, South Dakota, and I was a construction guide at the World Trade Center in the summers, 1968, 69 and 70. 

I could hear the struggle in her speech. How hard it was for her to sound out her Ss. At the same time she sounded so good. See, Sandy’s cancer was initially found in her mouth, on the side of her tongue. It was melanoma. I’m sure you’ve heard of melanoma. Part of her tongue had to be removed. A big portion on the side. She had to have lots of speech therapy afterwards in order to get her speech back to any semblance of normal. She worked hard and she did great. 

Yesterday was the 17 year anniversary of 9/11. The terrorist attack on US soil. The taking down of the Twin Towers in New York City. A day that will never be forgotten. 

After the attack, I remember Sandy telling me that she was being interviewed for a special. A special involving the building of the World Trade Center. There were several young girls who worked at the site as it was being built. They were construction guides. They were also called Building Stewardesses. There were a lot of upset people because of the construction project. These girls were hired to be guides to the public. It was a great public relations move so as to get people on board with the project. They had uniforms and explained the project to the interested public. They had to know what was what. They had to be ready for any construction-related questions. They had to be trained well. 

“This taking a guide job was a big step for me because I had been painfully shy when I was very very young. I was viewed as somewhat of a hippie-looking person — bell bottoms, long hair and blowing bubbles wherever I went and wearing sandals. But in my little uniform when I was a girl guide I looked just little miss all American.”

This week has been strange. I needed to write this. Sandy has been on my mind all week. Since Monday, the 10th, I have heard the Eagles’ Peaceful Easy Feeling song at least eight times. That was the song that was played at her funeral. There have been so many connections to her this week. It has been almost laughable. I know she is letting me know she is around. 

I was tagged on Facebook by Kathy, Sandy’s step-daughter. Kathy was there with Nancy, Bill and me around Sandy’s bed when she took her last breath. She’s special to me. She always will be. Kathy tagged me with the link to the interview. As I started listening, I couldn’t help but smile, after the tears, of course. I loved Sandy’s voice. It is so soothing and she always sounded so happy and full of life. 

I think the most important thing Sandy said during that interview is still so extremely relevant. She was definitely a trail blazer and was a very strong woman. She stood up for herself and for other women. She was such an amazing person and I still miss her so much. 

“The possibilities of all the trade and business and commercial things that went on as a young woman just getting ready to go to college, I started to realize all the things that you could do in life and uh, I was the first female agent that was on a squad in the FBI Newark office in 1981. “ 

She was a strong woman and I am so grateful I got to hear her roar. 

 

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1147470

Sorry Kevin

My 7th grade math teacher’s name was Mr. Curl. Wallace Curl. Math was not my favorite subject, but it just so happened this was the class I was in when one of the most embarrassing things in my life happened.

Junior high, or middle school as it is called these days, is where it happened. I was shy. I mean really shy. If a teacher called on me, I shrunk in my seat and turned several shades of red, like the phases of a ripening tomato. I hated it. I couldn’t help it. I’m not sure why I was so shy. Does anyone really know why they are shy?

I sat in the middle row. It was the old part of the building. It smelled like old books. I really liked that smell. It also smelled like old wood. The wood floor creaked as feet walked across it. The classroom had windows, so at least when I was daydreaming, I could look out the window. I recall our desks faced north and the windows were to the west.

Kevin Maskovich sat in front of me. He had broken his leg so he was on crutches. He was really nice to me and always took time to talk to me. For the life of me, I can’t remember anyone else who was in this particular math class with me. Tunnel vision and tunnel memory may be real. I do remember Mr. Curl standing at the front of the class with piece of chalk in hand, at the ready to scrawl the math problems on the board, beads of sweat running down his forehead. He had his suit coat hanging on the back of his chair and his shirt sleeves were rolled up to his elbows. Heaven forbid I would have to get up and go to the board. That would be like pulling my fingernails off with a pair of pliers. Actually, pulling the fingernails off may have been better.

Everyone was tired. This class was right after lunch. We had hot ham and cheese sandwiches that day. I have never in my life eaten another one after this tragic day. It was hot in the classroom. There was no air conditioning in the school. I didn’t feel well. I was sweaty and nauseous. I was getting worried. I was afraid I was going to be sick. I didn’t have time to ask to go to the bathroom. I couldn’t stop it. It was like a lava volcano erupting up through my throat. I barfed. I puked. I hurled. I blew chunks. Oh God!!! What just happened? I wanted to die. I wanted to absolutely die! How could this happen? Idiot! Why didn’t I run to the bathroom? Why?????

I remember Kevin saying, “What was that??!!” Well, buddy, it was barf and I got some on you. Poor guy! I felt terrible. He did move his crutches out of the way pretty fast though.

Mr. Curl got the janitor. They brought in that disgusting smelling cat litter-type sawdust product to cover up the vomit. You know, that reddish brown stuff. Vomit powder. Supposedly this helped clean up the mess, once the product absorbed the liquid. GAWD!!! I still wanted to die. I just wanted to slither away. I wanted never to be seen again. I just wanted to go home.

I remember watching the janitor sweeping up the vomit. It almost made me vomit again. Someone came and got me and took me home. It was probably my mom. I was devastated. I was embarrassed and I just wanted to shrivel up into nothing.

The experience was traumatic. I had a hard time going back to school. I think it actually took almost two weeks for me to go back. Every time I thought about going to school I would become physically sick. It was hard. I know I wasn’t really sick, but I couldn’t go back. I just couldn’t. One day when I thought I was all better, dad gave me a ride on his way to work. We pulled up to the school and I told him I couldn’t get out. I told him I felt sick. He took me home. I would have to try another day.

I finally got my shit together. I knew I would have to go back at some point. I knew I would have to face my fears. I couldn’t be “sick” forever. My grades were going to go to crap if I didn’t get back. I forced myself to go. Even though it was the last place I wanted to be, I forced myself to go back. See, sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do. It’s part of life. It’s part of growing up. It’s part of becoming a better human. So, I had to.

 

** As I was searching Kevin’s name, I realized that he passed away in 2010 from cancer. May he rest in peace. Sorry for puking on you, Kevin.

** Mr. Curl passed away in 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeanie, the babysitter

Her name was Jeanie. A babysitter. Our babysitter. A once-in-a-while babysitter. One of many. We went through a lot of them. She lived close by. Maybe two blocks away. She lived on Euclid and East Seneca. She lived in a small white house with concrete steps leading to the front door. There was a railing too. It was made of wrought iron and was black in color and decorative, pretty much like all step railings at that time. 

She came to our house to babysit us. The Euclid house. This was an evening. I’m not sure why we needed a babysitter at night. The parents never went out. I’m not sure what was going on, but anyway, she came to babysit. 

We were excited, Jeanie was a fun babysitter. She was really nice. She was going to make macaroni and cheese and we were going to watch movies, maybe play some games and have Jiffy Pop Popcorn later on in the evening. Something else also happened in the evening. 

Sherry and I were super excited. We were going to have a slumber party. Not that Pasty was staying overnight or anything, but we were just pretending it was going to be a slumber party. We got all of the pillows and blankets and made a bed in the living room. Awesome! This was going to be so fun. 

We had already eaten macaroni and cheese and now we were ready for the Jiffy Pop Popcorn. I loved that popcorn. I wonder if they still make it. Whoever they are. We watched intently as Jeanie made the popcorn. She patiently shook the pan until the foil started to expand and fill with popped popcorn. She was careful not to burn it. There is nothing worse than burnt popcorn. I think we even got to have pop with it. Our parents used to buy the quart bottles of Coke or Pepsi. The glass ones you had to pay a deposit on. They came in a six pack. I preferred Coke. There is nothing like the combination of popcorn and pop. Mmmmm, so delicious. 

We were eating our snack and then decided to play a game. I can’t remember if we were going to play Monopoly or Sorry. I hope it was Sorry. I really don’t like Monopoly. It’s my story, so I am going to say we played Sorry. Once we finished that it was time for the other thing that happened that night. First we changed into pajamas.

We decided to have a pillow fight. I really don’t know whose idea it was. It was probably Sherry’s. My story, so it was Sherry. Now, Jeanie was a big girl. She was overweight, but we loved her anyway. We didn’t care what she looked like. She was a fun babysitter. 

Jeanie was sitting on the couch. I was standing on the floor facing her and Sherry had her back to Jeanie and was facing me. All of a sudden with one big swipe Sherry was on the floor. Completely flattened. Lying face down and not moving. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I mean, think about it. Someone gets body slammed a pillow. Completely flattened by said pillow. Funny, right? I think so. At the same time I was a little concerned she may have been dead. 

We waited for what seemed like forever. In reality, it was probably 15 seconds max. Was it going to be an ambulance call or just a “I’m telling mom” call. This is Sherry we are talking about, so it’s just a “I’m telling mom” call. She was the biggest tattle tale ever. 

The wind had been completely knocked out of her. Every last bit of it. Once she came back to life, I started laughing. I thought it was so funny. I can still picture it. It was like it was in slow motion. Jeanie taking the pillow up over her head and behind her and then swinging it back to the front with a crap ton of overweight babysitter force. The pillow hit Sherry with such force that her nightgown flew up to her belly. Her knees didn’t even have time to bend, she was instantly flattened to the ground. I mean flattened. She didn’t crumple to the ground, she just flattened. Facedown flattened. 

Jeanie felt terrible. I could tell. I am pretty sure she thought she would get in trouble from our parents. I think she just gave Sherry extra popcorn and pop and all was good again. I’m pretty sure there were no more pillow fights after that incident. 

Adventures in babysitting. Always a good time.