Monday, December 21, 2009

My sister and her beau...

We had finally settled into our routine of daily life in Washington. I was in high school, my brother in middle school, and my sister in elementary school. Though we were siblings, we all had different lives. I spent time with my friends that didn’t include my brother’s friends and vice versa. My sister was eight years younger than I am, so we were worlds apart especially now that we all had our own bedrooms. I had no idea what she did during her time at home. She spent a lot of time in her room on the second level of the house near my parent’s room.
Little did I know that she was turning into a really freakish kid. At some point, I can’t remember when, she acquired a Charlie McCarthy doll. He was the creepiest little thing I had ever laid eyes on. His little black tuxedo with bow tie, top hat, blood red lips, and a tiny little eye piece over his right eye. He had a string at the back of his head that would open and close his mouth. My sister would sit in her room, pulling that string and uttering words in a voice I had never heard. “I'm going to kill you” she would say in a strange high-pitched voice. Then she would laugh hysterically. I was scared. Was he possessed? Was she possessed? I think I had heard about something like this happening in Amityville New York .
I started locking myself in my bedroom at night. I would imagine her and Charlie lurking through the house in the dead of night checking bedroom doors to see if they were locked. Only I would be safe from the wrath from the evilness of that hideous doll because I was barricaded in my room. Dresser against the door, bells hanging from the top of the door frame. If they managed to get in I would wake up at the tinkling of the bells. I also kept a baseball bat next to my bed. If I caught him peering at me, I knock his hard plastic head off.
I envisioned myself getting up one morning to find my brother bludgeoned in his bed, a little eye piece laying next to him. Hysterically I would run upstairs to my parent's room and find them both suffocated. A little top hat lying between them in the bed. My sister would be in her room rocking Charlie whispering “good boy, oh yes you really are a good boy.”
Everywhere she went, that little, nasty, freakish doll went with her. If we were in the car, I refused to sit by it. I would think that any minute he would turn his hard, ten pound plastic head toward me and wink, as if to tell me I was sure to get mine in the end. “He knows I hate him” I thought to myself. “I'm dead meat.”
At the dinner table, there was Charlie. Watching T.V., there was Charlie. Charlie, Charlie, Charlie! I could not stand it! Little did I know there was more than met the eye.
My sister was in love with Charlie. I guess I would have to say he was her first boyfriend. Which in some ways was a good thing. He never sat around in the living room, flipping through channels on the T.V., he never demanded a beer from the fridge. He couldn't drive, so we never worried about him getting my sister into an accident, he never spent six hours in a Home Depot looking at power tools. Of course, in retrospect, none of these things mattered since my sister was only seven, and my parents didn't allow her to date or drink beer. Of course they were oblivious that she already had a live in boyfriend. That certainly would have freaked them out.
See, beyond the weird voices, she was actually learning to kiss with Charlie. I guess those blood red lips were appealing to her. Maybe it was the tuxedo. Regardless, never had two objects, one being human and the other inanimate, had such a love affair. If Charlie's red lipstick wasn't permanent, Heather would have walked around with it smeared all over her face constantly.
“Oh Charlie,” she would say. “I just love your kisses.” I was completely freaked out yet mesmerized. After all she was doing all the work. He just sat there being victimized by a seven year old. I actually started feeling sorry for the poor, ugly, guy.
I would peek into her room and see her straightening his bow tie, and acting as if she was pushing his fake plastic hair to one side. She would look at him adoringly and give him a mighty bear hug. She would get up and swing him around the room like she was practicing a scene from The Sound of Music.
I would stand there with my mouth hanging open. I mean after all, I hadn't even kissed a live person yet. She was getting more action than I was and I was more then half her age. I think I started to feel a little jealous.
Part of me hoped she would get caught in the act. They would have my totally insane sister committed to a full-time psych facility. I would watch them drive off with her sitting in the car. She would have her head turned toward the house, tears running down her face as she left behind her beloved. I was really starting to hope she would get busted. I would feel sorry for her for an instant and after they were out of sight, I'd run up to her room and grab Charlie.
He would be all mine now.

Come on Charlie, I need some kisses...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Road Trip

It was hard leaving my bug eyed best friend Jennifer as we loaded up the wagon to start our cross country journey to Seattle. “Lets promise to always be best friends and write all the time” she said. “I promise” I said as tears trickled down my face. “And no matter who we meet that wants to become our best friend, we will tell them that we already have a best friend, but we will let them be our second best friend, okay?” “Deal” I said.

“Time to go!” yelled my dad. Jennifer and I looked at each other. Never again would we play Donnie and Marie. She being Marie of course. Never again would we ride on her four wheeler. Never again would I smell her mother’s perfume and think that she smelled like Italian Dressing, and not the low-fat version.

After we gave each other a final hug, I trudged my way to the wagon. Everyone was ready to go. As we pulled out of the driveway, Jennifer said “write me when you get there!” “I will, I promise!” I yelled. My father turned and looked at me and said “why are you yelling? Jennifer is right outside your open window!” It was true, she was running along side the car as we were heading down the road. She looked a lot like a pug chasing cars. Finally, when my father reached 25mph going through the neighborhood she stopped. I guess she ran out of gas, but she sure gave it a go for the first half mile.

It seemed like we drove forever. Every day a little bit closer, yet still so far way. I think it was because we had to stop every 10 minutes, so my mother could go to the bathroom. By the second day of the trip we had reached Nashville. We were moving from Mount Juliet Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, but it was an all day trip just to get to the city . It was summer, but I was already digging for my winter coat since I knew it would be somewhere around January when we finally arrived in the Emerald City at the pace we were traveling.

By the time we reached St. Louis I realized that Jennifer and I had never exchanged addresses. I pondered this for a moment and then decided that I would just have to get a new best friend to replace her. Friendship loyalty is not a big priority when you are fourteen.

My parents made the trip fun. We saw many beautiful things along the way. We even saw Mount Rushmore as my dad raced past it doing seventy-five mph. Even through a blur it was magnificent.

Yellowstone National Park was a beautiful place. It amazed me that it could be sweltering hot on one side of the park and snowing on the other. Too bad I hadn’t changed out of my bikini before we went from the hot side to cold one. None of us expected the radical temperature change, so we weren’t prepared. Would we freeze? Would they find us huddled in the station wagon? Evidence of an attempt to build a fire by the friction marks on my legs from rubbing them together at a fast and furious pace? “Faster!” my father would yell. He would have kindling under my legs that had been the fake wood paneling on the side of the wagon. Like a mad woman I would rub my legs together like sticks, just as I had learned in Girl Scouts, before my unfortunate horse incident. Nothing, not even a spark. We would eventually give up, sharing the last two cans of Vienna Sausages and waiting for the sleepiness of hypothermia to kick in. I would be found clutching my paper bag in my frozen hands.

“Meredith, what are you daydreaming about back there?” my mother asked from the front seat. “We need to go inside the gift shop and buy some jackets. Let’s go before we all freeze to death.” Just the thought of freezing, after my imagined scenario, caused me to have a severe anxiety attack. I couldn’t breathe...Help...throat’s closing...heart attack! I couldn’t find my bag anywhere. More anxiety. “Oh for the love of Pete” I could hear my mother mumble. She whipped out a plastic bag and handed it to me.
“Breathe into this bag.” The first breath caused the plastic to suck to my face. I freaked out so much that I clawed at the plastic breathing harder until the whole bag had consumed my head.
People were walking by and staring. It looked like I was trying to commit suicide in the back seat while my mother was applying fresh lipstick in the front seat. She finally realized that I was making gagging sounds in the back seat and the noise wasn’t coming from a tree frog. She turned around with a look of annoyance and whipped off the bag. I sat there as blue as a smurf with my black tongue protruding from my mouth. My mother just rolled her eyes. “When you get your natural color back, you better get into this store missy! And that tongue best be in your mouth!” As she stepped out of the car and headed to the gift shop, I swear I heard her mumble “freak” under her breath.

We made many stops along the way, but none more memorable then when I got sick. We were somewhere around the halfway mark. We had a family meal at Adam and Eve’s Rib Shack. It took me several years to figure out the whole Adam, Eve, rib joke. But I digress, I felt fine. I enjoyed my dinner. We went to the hotel afterwards, and I felt fine. We went to bed, and I felt fine. I woke up in the middle of the night drooling, sick to my stomach like never before. I can’t get up, I will puke, lay here, don’t move...I’m going to puke NOW. I bolted into my parent’s room which was connected to ours. “I’m sick and I am going to throw up” I yelled. My parents were jerked awake by my yelling and the words “throw up.” I bolted into their bathroom and projectile vomited all over it. By this time my parents were standing in the door with looks of horror on their faces. It looked like a scene from “The Exorcist” minus my head spinning in circles, the preacher, the holy water, and the scary voice of the freaky possessed girl who was the star of the show. “Go to bed” my parent’s said gently and with sweet compassion. Never had I seen such a look of total empathy. “You can clean this mess up in the morning.”

The sickness wore on. I couldn’t shake it. I had to take Dramamine constantly. Partly to knock me out and partly to keep me from vomiting nonstop. I would have to lie down in the back seat. My head pressed against my brother’s leg. Since he couldn’t complain about me being on his side of the car due to my weakened condition, he would dangle french fries under my nose creating a shout from me to pull the car over. Wretch, gag, puke, back into the car to subject myself to more torture from my understanding sibling. More french fries under the nose and finally a voice from the front seat “Craig Lane! what are you doing to your sister?” My father would look in the rearview mirror and see my brother in full action. "Hey" my dad would say to my brother, "are you going to eat all those fries?'...Thanks dad.

Finally a break in the illness. I had recovered and was back in fine form. I was envisioning how my life would play out in the new state. I had high hopes as I was determined not to become the wallflower I was in Tennessee. I would be popular, probably the head cheerleader during football season, homecoming queen, an all-star athlete. Gaggles of girls would follow me around as I walked through the halls of adoring fans. I would set trends in the latest fashions. My posse would ask me for advice on makeup application and bra padding. I was so excited. I almost exploded! “ARE WE ALMOST THERE?” I yelled at the top of my lungs causing my father to lose control of the vehicle and sending us into a 180-degree spin.

After much screaming and my life passing before my eyes, we all finally saw the sign welcoming us to Washington.

Goodbye Tennessee. Hello new life . . .

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sadie Hawkins

It was time for the Sadie Hawkins dance. A time of great anticipation and dread for any Junior High School girl that never stood out in a crowd. This was a time when the girls asked the boys to the annual fall dance. I was a tall and gangly girl. I had the same hairstyle as Princess Lea did in the movie Star Wars. My hair looked like it had sausage links on the side while the rest of it was ridiculously straight. I didn’t wear makeup, I wasn’t allowed to until I was sixteen. My folks were definitely sure that I was not going out looking like a hussy under their parental guidance. I had not hit puberty so I didn’t have a boob to my name. I wasn’t a fashion plate or into girly things. I still liked to go home and play football or baseball with my brother and our friends in the neighborhood.

The idea of asking a boy from my school to the dance was mortifying to me. My biggest fear would be going up to some “dreamboat” just to get a quizzical look and a “I’ve never seen you around school, do you actually go to this school or did one of my friends put you up to this?” Then he would walk away and I would want to shrink into the ground.

My friend Jennifer, who had huge bulging eyeballs in the 5th grade, so big in fact that they looked like a swift slap to the back of her head would cause her eyeballs to pop out and roll across the floor, was actually becoming cute. She was wearing eye shadow and for some reason that seemed to tone down the bulging then again maybe her face was growing into her unfortunate protrusion. I, on the other hand, was still struggling with buck teeth, though this would be the last year before orthodontia would come into my life. My father would tell me to thrust my lower jaw over my front teeth and close my mouth. I guess he didn’t think it was terrible to have a daughter who looked like she had a maxillofacial skeletal deformity or figured I would never utter another word until my future braces were in place and had three years to do their magic.

Jennifer still wasn’t comfortable asking a boy to the dance either. Though she was starting to “fill out” a little and didn’t have the problem of being able to eat corn through a picket fence, she just felt weird. I think it was the fear of rejection. That is most likely what happened to both of us.
Jennifer and I decided we would go to the Sadie Hawkins dance together. Maybe some poor saps who wanted to be asked to the dance would have their mothers drop them at the school. They would be leaning against the gym wall where we could casually eyeball the group of “no dates”and determine if we wanted to shake a leg with one of them. That was the plan and it sounded great. We were brilliant when the two of us were together.

The evening of the Sadie Hawkins dance was a nerve-racking one. My mom had bought me a new outfit, a blouse with multicolors and gold sparkling thread running through the material, a blue jean skirt, pantyhose the color of the hose that the now famous Hooter’s girls wear today, and clogs that made me look like I was 6'2". I even got to wear some blue eye shadow. I thought I looked great, except I would be the only girl at the dance that wouldn't even have a bud of a boob.

Now the good thing was my mother had actually bought me a training bra even though there was nothing to train. I had made a fuss about wearing tee-shirts under my clothes because undressing in the gym locker room had become a humiliating experience. All the other girls would whip off their tops and stand around in their satin over the shoulder boulder holders and I would be standing there in my fruit of the loom tee-shirt.

I had an idea. Once alone, I was going to fix my boob issue. Under the auspice of having to “freshen up” in the bathroom, I found what I was looking for. Cotton Balls! Yes, I’d make some boobs. I stuffed and squeezed and stuffed some more. I was having problems getting my “boobs” the same size. The right boob looked like it was growing out from under my chin and the left one was so lumpy it looked like I needed an emergency mammogram. What the heck, at least I didn’t look flat. I became a woman that night. I threw on a coat because I would have never been let out of the house with my bra stuffed full of cotton. (Like who would, unless they were adults still dealing with breast issues). And I doubt my parents would think I had just sprouted these unfortunate looking things just for the Sadie Hawkins dance.

My mother dropped me off at the door leading into the gym. I met Jennifer right inside the door. I realized at that moment that I was towering over every person in the gym. I looked like a giant stork because of my clogs. Even though I was taller than the average girl in the 7th grade, I was also now taller than the tallest guy in the 7th grade. Jennifer looked at me in awe at my height and her mouth fell open when I whipped off my coat and she saw my “boobs.” “Did you stuff your bra?” she whispered. Duh??? I had just left her only several hours earlier. What did she think, that I went home and immersed my breasts in a vat of Miracle Grow?
“Don’t worry about it,” I said. “And quit staring before people start to wonder what you’re looking at.” Of course I didn’t think about the fact that I had left school several hours earlier with no boobs, was now at the dance with deformed boobs, and would show up at school again tomorrow boob-less. I’d deal with it tomorrow.

Jennifer and I scanned the crowd. There were no guys hanging on the wall, no girls either. We were the only two wallflowers. “Lets dance” said Jennifer. “Okay, you lead the way” I said. Before I knew it, we were grooving to the songs of the 70's. However, I could only groove so fast because I kept falling off my clogs and twisting my ankles. This wasn’t the worse event to happen though. As I was bending down to put one of my feet back into my clog, I saw the floor littered with cotton balls. I also noticed there was only one boob left out of the two I had when I arrived. “Oh God” I prayed, “please don’t let anyone look down and see this.” I frantically started kicking my feet trying to kick the evidence to the spot where Jennifer was dancing. If anyone saw this, they would think they were Jennifer’s cotton balls. I was willing to throw my best friend under the bus just to get out of the gym with my pride. I grabbed Jennifer. “Lets go, this dance sucks” I said. “What are you talking about, you were having a great time a minute ago?” Suddenly she cocked her head and stared at me while her cheeks burned red. “Oh my God, you only have one boob!” then she looked at the floor and saw all the cotton in her area. “No wonder you were kicking your legs like that, I thought you were in the groove, but you were trying to pin this boob thing on me!” she yelled. “Shhh, lets just get out of here, please before anyone notices” I whined. It was almost time for my mom to pick me up anyway. I started chewing my nails. Jennifer walked off, with me trailing behind. She grabbed my coat and handed it to me. “We will just pretend this little incident never happened Meredith, but from now on you leave your boobs at home!” She turned and marched back onto the dance floor, away from the cotton balls and I headed toward the door and into the night. Just me and my one lumpy boob.

Sadie Hawkins dances are way overrated!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Girl Scouts

It was girl scout day and I was dreading it. Moping the entire way to the meeting in our red station wagon with the fake wood paneling. What are we going to do today, pretend we are Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing, and practice field dressing fake wounds on the neighbor's Corgi incase of a communist attack?
Finally we arrived at the girl scout leader's home. Mom let me out of the 65 foot station wagon and I trudged to the front door where I was enthusiastically invited in by the leader. "Well hello there Meredith. We have a wonderful evening planned. Why don't you go on downstairs and help yourself to a cookie and some kool-aid? It's raspberry red, my favorite." The entire time she was talking, she was winking at me. I thought she had a twitch, but had never noticed it before. I think she thought I looked amazing in puke green and was trying to let me know without saying so in front of the other girls. Later I realized she was trying to make me feel more comfortable. She could see the repulsion I felt because I was a girl scout. I definitely did not blend with the other giggling, sewing loving, boy crazy freaks.
I did not know that this evening would change my life. Instead of field dressing fake wounds or whipping out the Singer sewing machine, we all sat on the floor and listened as the leader talked about a horseback riding trip planned for the following weekend. All we needed to do was have a waiver signed by our parents and come prepared with a sack lunch and we'd be off on our adventure in a big ol' green-van. I could not believe it. Something fun and adventurous to look forward to. Finally it was time to go home. I flew out of the house with my waiver blowing in the wind. I hopped into the wagon and immediately started talking about the trip. "Slow down" my mom said. "What are you talking about?". "The girl scouts are going on a horseback riding trip next weekend and all I need is this waiver signed and a sack lunch. Can I go pppplleaaaseee!". My weary mother looked at me and nodded yes. I was so excited. I could see it now. Mounted on a majestic stead. His coat gleaming in the sun. He would be a regal beast. I would be sitting English style on my horse named King. No cowboy boots for me. I'd ask my parents to buy me a pair of jodhpurs, boots; a shirt with some form of tie; equestrian helmet and jacket. I'm sure they would agree as they would want me to look my best and possibly be discovered by the Varsity Equestrian Steering Committee. King and I would become as one, completing the Piaffe: trotting in place, Pirouette: turning in place while at a cantar, Half Pass: King moving diagonally, moving frontwards and sideways at the same time at a trot and finally the Flying Lead Changes: this would look like King was skipping.
All the other girl scouts and barnyard workers and horse pooper scoopers would stand there with their mouths hanging open. Looks of disbelief as I sat upon my Nobel King, lovingly patting him, and producing a carrot out of my sack lunch. "Well-done boy,” I would whisper in his ear as he swatted flies with his tail. He would shake his head up and down letting me know we belonged together. Never before or again would those freaky girl scouts look at me and then huddle together and giggle.
"All right girls, line up!" yelled the leader. Suddenly I realized I was standing there in my jeans, tee-shirt proclaiming "keep America beautiful, stay off the streets,” and my ratty ol' tennis shoes. I wasn't sitting on King, I was waiting for my turn to get a horse. "Who has never ridden a horse?" barked the rancher in his smoker's voice. Should I raise my hand? No one else was raising their hand. Before I could stop myself, my hand shot up into the air. All eyes turned to me. I could feel my cheeks blazing with embarrassment. "Okay little lady, this here is Sweetie, she is the most gentle of our horses. All you have to do is get on and she will follow the others down the trail.” I looked at Sweetie. She looked at me. She seemed okay, she didn't growl or anything. I could handle this. Problem, how do I get my feet into the stirrups? I was kicking my leg up so high I felt like I dislocated my hip, but try as I might, I could not get my feet in the stirrups. "Good grief" I heard the crusty rancher mutter under his breath. He came up to me and basically threw me on the back of Sweetie. I gave him an impish grin and secretly wished I could go home. This wasn't turning out to be the experience I had hoped for.
"Okay, lets go,” said the rancher giving the lead horse a swat on the butt. All the horses started off in a single file. I was at the end. "This isn't so bad" I thought. Sweetie was just ambling along until she decided she wanted to turn around and head back to the barn. "Sweetie" I yelled "you're going the wrong way!.” I gave her reigns a tug. "Whoa Sweetie!". No response. "Stop!" I yelled. Nothing. She was determined that she was heading back from whence we came and there was nothing I could do about it. Of course the other riders never knew my horse had fallen out of line. I decided I would give Sweetie a kick in the side. I heard that would get a horse's attention. Of course Sweetie, the most gentle horse, got really pissed being kicked and took off at full speed. "Stop Sweetie, whoa, slow down!", pulling reigns to beat the band. Nothing, she was on a quest. Sweetie bypassed the barn running full speed. By this time I had my arms wrapped around her neck screaming bloody murder. Tears were flowing. She was flying through the woods. I could tell she was trying to knock me off because she was running so close to trees I had to pull my legs out of the stirrups to avoid becoming an amputee. There I was, arms wrapped around her neck, legs flying behind me, crying for my mother, hitting the horse, praying to God, ducking my head to avoid a large tree limb and certain death. Sweetie was jumping logs and hauling ass. I hated her. If she was the most gentle horse at the ranch, I would hate to see the worst of the bunch. I could smell fear coming from my pores. I think Sweetie could too. She was out of control. I prayed for a hunter to be up ahead who did not believe in killing animals, but would make an exception just this one time. He would hear my screams in the distance and run toward my voice. There he would see my run away horse and save me by shooting Sweetie with a tranquilizer dart. No such luck!
Sweetie was running next to a fence on the right-hand side of the woods. I could hear traffic on the other side. I had no idea where we were. It seemed like we had been running for hours. I was lost and would probably end up in the woods living off berries and roots for the rest of my life, providing of course that Sweetie would ever decided to stop running.
"Oh my God!" Sweetie was jumping over the fence. We were running down the hill toward traffic. Certain death! Sweetie and I would be crushed by an 18 wheeler. I could hear my parents telling the Girl Scout Leader that I never had a chance to eat my sack lunch. I buried my face into Sweeties neck and braced for the worst. "God, please don't let this hurt, take me quickly. P.S. I'm sorry for all the things I've done, like changing the grades on my report card and tying my sister up and putting her in the closet."
Screeching tires. Quiet. Was I in Heaven? No movement. I looked up from Sweetie's neck and she was sitting in the middle of the interstate. I guess she finally ran out of steam. I looked behind me to see a man laughing in his car. People were just staring and pointing. No one offered any help. I just sat there on the gentle horse as she rested in the middle of the road.
I couldn't take it any longer. I disembarked the foul beast. I prayed an 18 wheeler would come and mow down Sweetie. I walked up the hill back toward the woods, legs wobbling, hands shaking, pale and weak. I followed the trail back the way we came. Walking, walking, would I ever get back to the barn? Finally in the distance I could see the barn up ahead and then I was running with all I had. Finally, I did it. I felt terrific. I knew I would not have to live in the woods. I was a survivor. Made of steel. No horse could take me out. As I finally reached the barn, the first thing I noticed was that the entire troop was already there. They all had hands on their hips, lips curled in disgust. "Where have you been?", asked the leader. "We have been waiting here for an hour! Why did you decide to get out of line and go on your own? Do you know you could have gotten lost or injured?". "And why on earth is Sweetie here and you weren't on her?" "Excuse me?” I said. "What do you mean Sweetie is here? She took off on her own, tried to kill me on the trail and then hopped the fence and ran out onto the highway, sitting down in the middle of the road. I finally had to get off of her and come back on my own!" I could hear the hysterics in my voice.
Glances all around as if I needed electrical shock therapy. "Little lady, that's impossible. Sweetie is the most gentle horse in the stable, she would never do a thing like that" said the raspy voiced rancher. I just stood there. "Get in the van girls," said the leader. As I trudged back to the van I gave a quick look back. There she was happily eating her hay. She looked back at me and gave me a toothy horse grin.
I quit girl scouts the next day.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ice Capades

I was finally getting over the realization that the drum set was kaput. It was time to move on, I was a sophisticated eight year old. I could handle it, plus secretly I was starting to get excited about the Ice Capades. After all, I did have hair that resembled Dorothy Hamels. It was quite odd I thought, that I resembled not only Donny Osmond, but a famous Olympic figure skater. Destiny..I was bound for greatness.
I put my dreams of roller skating onto the stage with Donny and Marie to rest. I was now going to become Dorothy Hamel's protege. After all, I had the hair (sorta) and frankly ice skating didn't look too hard. Same thing as roller skating without the wheels plus a blade on the bottom that could slit a throat. All I needed to do was put on some skates and run. Geez, I could already run. I had proved that when I needed to check my pulse. Remember, I was still at that point, I didn't get my new outward obsession of saying things three times until the 7th grade.
I would secretly practice my Bunny Hop Jumps, a beginner’s first jump, as I didn't yet have skates to practice on. I knew it was just a matter of time before I would receive my first pair of red glitter skates.. When Dorothy saw me sitting in the stands, she would be amazed at the resemblance and call me onto the rink. The crowd would stand, my parents and brother screaming, tears rolling down their faces. She would proudly present the skates in front of thousands of people. I Would Bunny Hop to the amazement of the crowd and the dorky Disney characters. Cheers and flowers would litter the rink, The Olympic Committee would call my parents and ask that they sign a waiver so I could travel all over the world with Dorothy.We were going to couple skate in all ice skating events. She would be doing the Quadruple, Salchow, and the Split Jumps. I would be Bunny Hopping in the center of the ring. Our pictures would be in every paper, we would be on live television. It was gong to be quite a ride.
My family finally arrived at the coliseum, took our seats and waited for the show to begin. I rehearsed the Bunny Hop in my mind until the lights dimmed and the show started.
Out came Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy (yawn)...I was there for my future to begin. Where was Dorothy??? Finally, there she was, the lights gleaming off her beautiful hair, her graceful moves, her beautiful outfit with sequins...She looked like a princess (though I preferred G.I. Joe). Still she was lovely.
Suddenly, I couldn't breathe. I mean literally I could not breathe. My hand flew to my carotid, my heart was still beating, but I thought my throat was closing shut. Was I having anaphyletic shock? Maybe it was the cotton candy. Maybe someone had put something in my coke. I tried to breathe, but I couldn't get enough air. Panic set in. What if I croaked in front of a million people? What if my parents decided to have "she missed the Ice Capades, and those tickets were damn expensive" written on my headstone?
I freaked. Suddenly I found myself running up the stairs toward the entrance feeling my carotid the whole way. My mother, father and brother were right behind me. I was as pale as a ghost. My father asked me what was wrong. "I can't breathe" I said. "Oh God Randy, call an ambulance" said my mother all the while wringing her hands.
It wasn't two minutes later that EMS arrived. They whipped out a paper bag and told me to breathe. I was sucking in and out and started to feel light headed. I was going down. I could see the light. "Breathe slowly" said the paramedic. "It seems like you are just hyperventilating". Slow breaths, slow, slow. All of the sudden the EMT removed a breath mint from his pocket. "Put this in your mouth and run around". (Where in the hell did they get their EMS training?? Sally Struther's television commercials. You can be a TV repair man or an EMT/PARAMEDIC)?
What do you know, even though I almost choked to death running with the mint in my mouth, I was starting to breathe better. After a quick check of my carotid, I knew I still had a pulse. The EMT handed me the paper bag just incase I had a relapse.
I overheard the paramedic telling my parents that I had hyperventilated probably due to the excitement of the Ice Capades. My parents were shaking their heads and casting worrisome glances at me. I'm sure they were really thinking that I was a freak, always checking my pulse and hyperventilating at the Ice Capades within the first 20 minutes.
They made a decision to take me home. As I sat in the backseat breathing into my bag, I realized that another dream was gone. If I could have just held on another five minutes, I'm sure Dorothy would have discovered me. But then again, who would want to tour with a girl that has to breathe in a bag while doing the Bunny Hop.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Eighth Birthday

"God, please let me get a drum set, please, please, I will never ask for another thing in my whole entire life.” I had envisioned myself playing the drums on the Donny and Marie show. How great I would look in my purple jumpsuit. Roller skating out onto the stage with Donny and Marie as they were singing"I'm a little bit country, and I'm a little bit rock and roll.” How glorious! On my way to fame and fortune!
See it all started one spring day when I was at the park having a family picnic. I had found my way to the swings where I was minding my own business. Suddenly, a girl wandered over to me and asked "are you Donny Osmond?” Huh? I mean I did look a lot like him when I was eight minus the serious buck teeth and the fact that I was about 15 years younger . . . minor details. "Why yes" I replied. I proceeded to belt out "Puppy Love" at the top of my lungs. Oh, I failed to mention that I was wearing my variation of the purple jump suit. Purple pants, purple long sleeved shirt with a zipper and huge white collar. I could see how anyone standing half a mile away could see the resemblance.
I knew I was very good looking at the age of eight, minus of course tooth issue, bowl haircut, and the tee-shirt I wore almost every day with the words"Hot Fudge" written across the front. Maybe I could be a drummer for any popular band. I had it all. I was a catch. Of course I had yet to receive my drum set, so the talent part was still questionable.
Finally the day arrived. October 29. My birthday! I could hardly contain my excitement, but it was a school day, and I was told I would have to wait until I got back home to open my present. That should have been the first clue. How do you wrap a drum set? However, I just knew I was getting that drum set that I had been visualizing for the last six months. I got on the bus full of joy and anticipation. I sat in my seat, leaned my head on the window and quietly sung "Puppy Love" so that no one could hear me. I wanted them to all be surprised at my talent when I roller skated onto the stage with Donny and Marie.
Finally the school bell sounded! "Oh yes" I thought, "it's time to show the world what I have to offer.” Back on the bus, riding home, quietly singing "I'm Leaving It (All) Up to You.” I was a prodigy in the making.
Home at last, rubbing my hands together, pacing the floor, "is it time?" I asked my mother. "Just a minute honey, dad is on the way home with your present.” "Yes" I thought. "They must have custom made my drum set.” I could see it, red paint with gold flecks, white front with a big M. I almost passed out at the thought.
Suddenly in the middle of my fantasy my father walked in. "Where's the drum" I thought? "Probably in the car because it is too big for him to carry. He must be getting ready to call some neighbors to unload it.”
"Surprise" my parent’s yell. Surprise. Surprise what? I don't see anything to be yelling surprise about. My father reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out an envelope. "Okay" I say to my parents, "I've got it, it's a picture of the drum set that will be delivered because it isn't ready at the custom drum factory.” Both of them look at me like I have two heads and then start laughing. "No honey" my mom says, "These are tickets to the ice capades, Dorothy Hamel will be there along with all the Disney Characters.” My mouth falls open, I start making croaking sounds, I hyperventilate and suddenly before I could catch myself, I hear my self yelling "Ice capades, Disney . . . DAMN, How am I going to get on the Donny and Marie show without my custom-made drum set? My life is ruined!" I ran downstairs to my room, grabbed my purple "jumpsuit, ran upstairs and threw it in the trash. I was grounded for two weeks and had my mouth washed out with soap and yet I still had to see the ice capades.
Turning eight sucked!!!