Friday, July 27, 2012

The Boogeyman

When I was a little girl I shared a bedroom with my sister, Joyce,who was nine years older.  For nine years she had ruled the roost, lived life her own way.   Then one day, my parents brought me home and she suddenly had another intruder thrust upon her.  She has told me that in the beginning she was excited to have a little sister, but was soon pushed to the side by aunts and relatives, and told not to touch the baby, and be careful of the baby and don't hurt her!  Over time, her resentment against this so called baby began to grow, until finally she tried to take revenge.  She was caught supposedly trying to throw me down the staircase, and thank goodness, she was caught in time! (I'm not sure if that is fact or fiction--but it adds to this story!)

As the years passed, she sought revenge in much more imaginative ways, but the major revenge was the Boogeyman!  He lived in the closet of our bedroom, a rather large walk-in closet that not only held our clothes but also had a roll-top desk in one end, but also a large trunk which my Grandmother had brought over from Sweden when she and her family emigrated to the USA.  It was in the further end of the closet, and the light didn't get down there very well.  The whole closet was lined with dark wooden wainscoting walls, with silver insulation backing them.  The small bits of silver insulation would 'peek' through the wainscoting in certain areas, and this was described to me by my sister as 'Fairy dust'.  I was fascinated to know that these walls were the entrance to fairy land! In my very own closet!  I was probably about 4 or 5 when these stories started, so I believed everything that Joyce said.

But while the idea of fairies in my closet fascinated and excited me, there was also danger. Joyce told me that hiding in the trunk in the other end of the closet was a Boogeyman, and a very scary one at that! She told me about how he really didn't like me, and that I should never go into that end of the closet or even attempt to open that trunk. If I did he may jump out and try to grab me, and hurt me really badly. When he got angry he would turn many awful colours, and could even try to eat me! So although it was exciting that there were possible fairies to be seen in one end - the other end of the closet scared me to death!

One particular day stands out in my mind.  We were both in our bedroom, and I was just sitting on my bed, playing with one of my dolls.  Joyce suddenly announced:  " I think I'll go to Fairy Land today.  I think they are missing me!"

"Oh really?" I replied, "Would you take me too?  I really want to meet them--please!!"

"I've already told you...they don't really like you..I think it's because you are taking up too much room here."

"But, I won't!  I'll do anything. I promise!"

"Well, I'll ask them. If they say it is OK, I'll come back and get you straight away, but if not - well--I'll just stay there for a while and play with them and eat their Fairy sweets."

"Oh, Please, Joyce!  Tell them that I'm just little and won't take up any space anywhere--I just really want to meet them - you know that I believe in them and love them so very much!"

Smiling, Joyce just warned, "Well, I can only do what I can do! But remember about the Boogeyman!  Don't go into the closet, and whatever you do--don't go anywhere near that ol' nasty looking trunk!  I know he doesn't like you, and it's getting harder for me to get him to stay inside there, and not come out and get you during the night!"

With tears running down my cheeks, I cried out " Please don't leave me.  I'm scared! Don't go!"

"But I have to!  The Fairies keep calling me in their fairy voices!  Can't you hear them?"

I sat and listened very closely, and then really crying now I blubbered " No!  I can't hear them.  I can't hear anything except for noises in there...."

"I'll have to go quickly now--I think the Boogeyman is getting angry--I'll have to try to put something on the trunk to keep him in there---don't go anywhere near there--I mean it!"

And with that she was gone.  She opened the door to the closet, turned on the light, then closing the door--she yelled out "Go away!  You're a nasty thing!  Don't hurt my little sister- she can't help it she is here--go away!"

Then it was quiet.  Very quiet.  I sat there for a long time, and listened and waited. Nothing happened.  I was so scared.  What if the Boogeyman had eaten Joyce because he hated me so much!  I really didn't know what to do....I wanted to run and get Mum, but she would be busy watching her Soaps, and I knew she wouldn't believe me.  I just layed down on my bed, and cried, and hoped that if I stayed very quiet, the Fairies would know I was a good girl, and they would let Joyce come back and get me....I waited, and I cried.....

But a lot of time passed, and Joyce was still gone.  I was getting scared that something had happened to her.  So, getting up and wiping my eyes and nose with my arm, I carefully and very quietly opened the closet door--the light was still on, but I couldn't see Joyce anywhere--I very carefully looked down towards the trunk, but couldn't see anything different.  If the Boogeyman had eaten Joyce wouldn't there be a bone or hair or something left?  I looked as hard as I could without getting too close to the trunk, just in case. 

Then I came up towards the Fairy end, where the light was.  There was more Fairy dust on the floor, and I figured Joyce must have been rescued by the Fairies!  I was happier now--I knew that if I went back and sat down very quietly on my bed, she would be back and take me to Fairy land with her.  So I went quietly back to the bedroom, and shut the closet door behind me.  I sat very patiently on my bed, trying very hard not to cry anymore, so that the Fairies would like me, and I waited ...and waited.

After a long time, Joyce opened the closet door and holding a lollipop in her hand, she smiled and said:

"I tried very hard to talk with the Fairies--especially when they came to help me fight with the Boogeyman!  Boy! He really doesn't like you!  Anyway, the Fairies helped me get him back into the trunk, and then they took me away!"

"But why didn't you come back and get me?" I sniffled, looking at her with tears starting to run down my cheeks again.  "I was being very good, and very quiet!"

"They just said No!" she replied, licking the lollipop and said "Sorry!  I'll try again next time.  Just don't go near that trunk ever!  The Boogeyman was very ugly this time!"

"But why don't the Fairies like me?" I asked in a shaky voice, "I'm not a bad girl!"

"I dunno.  They just don't --c'mon--let's go downstairs and see what Mom is doing"

With that, she was up and heading for the stairs. "Oh, and by the way -- don't say anything to Mom--the Boogeyman doesn't like her either!"

Then she was gone, and I quietly followed, wiping the tears on my arm again.

At times I think though, that I still hear the fairy laughter, and the boogie man sometimes snorts in the dark corners at matter where I am!

Footnote:  After thinking about it, I decided to include the fact that the Joyce that was then in my childhood, isn't the same Joyce that exists in my present life.  She is loving and caring and understands what damage she did to me.  Doesn't excuse it though!  There are other stories of other things that she did over the years--but I think that you get the idea from this one!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Birthday for our first born baby!

Just recently Bronwyn celebrated her birthday..we as a family love birthdays and celebrate them with love, and gifts and balloons and fun--She was in Rocky, but still had the presents to unwrap, which we left when we were there recently.  It sounds as though she had a great day--as it always should be--each year needs to always be celebrated...but there are memories of birthdays with her that were fun, exhausting, and sometimes a struggle...

...OK..since you asked nicely, I'll tell you..

When she was being born, it started out on the 14th of July, but her Dad's birthday was on the 15th!  He really wanted to have her born on his birthday, but hey!  What could I do about it, I mean when the baby wants to be born - well then, it just happens...but the day dragged on, and the night rolled on into late, exhausting hours.  It suddenly became close to midnight, and holding his breath, John looked at his watch more than he looked at me, or what I was going through--suddenly the magical hour of midnight appeared and he shouted out in excitement: "OK, Jan--let her rip!  It's the 15th!" Not the best words he could have used, and at that stage, if I could have reached him, I really would have hit him--but a few hours later she was born, and our first-born baby was finally here!  It was a great celebration!  ( I have to insert at this stage, that as he held her for the first time, he went pale, and almost fainted--the nurses grabbed him and her, and rescued the moment! I'll never forget it!)

As both John and Bronney shared the same birthday there was always noise, excitement and (for me, a lot of work!)  There was once just one cake, and then eventually 2 cakes - one for Bron and her little parties, and one for John and family and friends--eventually we worked out a system, and still managed to celebrate each birthday somewhat separately when it involved family and friends.  But just for us, it was a great morning of presents and laughter and balloons.  It was fun that they shared the same day, and we always tried to celebrate the specialness of it all.

As Bron got older, she loved having birthday parties, and I always tried to theme the parties to whatever her current fad of toy or happiness was.  We had Strawberry Shortcake parties, Cabbage Patch kids parties, etc, and associated games for all the kids.  I always tried to provide the same themed party prizes, and each guest went home with their own party present along the same lines. However, I still at that stage did not understand the party bag.  The little bag of lollies and things you hand to each child as they leave the party.  During Bron's parties, I had a large bowl of lollies for the kids to help themselves, and as I stated I provided a present for each party guest.  But without the bag of lollies at the end- it was a flop of a party according to them...took me a while to realise what I was doing wrong, err right, but wrong--you know?!

But the party games were a great challenge--not to create, or even have happen, but to control Bron from trying to win each prize!  She always was (and still is!) very competitive - (even she would admit it), at games, and especially games with prizes--she wanted them all!  Not the point of the party games really though, was it!! 

So I would distract her, or trip her, or do anything to let the others win, until at one party she got angry and wanted the prize.  I had to interfere, and make up a reason why the other 'winner' should have the prize, and pulled Bron aside and told her to stop competing--well--that was like adding fuel to the fire--she went crazy!  Eventually I just gave up and gave the other prizes to the kids who hadn't won yet--for best smile--best runner, anything--and just kept Bron away from the prizes.

After that particular party, I had to pull her aside and tell her what a disappointment her attitude had been, and promised her that because of it, she couldn't have a party the following year.  It killed me, but I kept my word, and I think it made her think about it all..because the year after that she understood and was happy to share the prizes--just hated not being the winner!!

Now I haven't ever tried to claim that I am a great cake maker--actually I suck at it.  I can bake them--sure--but make them pretty and successful?  For kids? Not really..I remember one cake at one of Bron's parties--I was baking it as I decorated the room for her party--always a lot of work to decorate and make it just party great!  Anyway-- eventually the two layers of cake had baked and I had them out to cool--still had to decorate them and add final touches to the party.  Well- the clock ticked on, and the party environment looked great, but the cake refused to cool fast enough, so decided to just go forward anyway,  I made the butter frosting, added the pink food colour and started to frost the layers.  It seemed simple enough, but when I tried to put the two layers together, the top one kept sliding off, and settling on a slant.  Try as I did, it just wouldn't cooperate--(I think it was possessed by the horrible anti-party thug- horrible things that they are.They creep in and try to destroy anything nice that is attempted, humphing under their thuggish breath, "Humph!" they rumble out, and even slobber and grab at dirt if they can reach it - horrible things!) So, desperate, I found some toothpicks and put them ever slightly in the bottom layer of cake and settled the top layer onto them.  Holding my breath, I waited.....the top layer stayed in place!  I finished decorating the cake with the relevant figurines and candles for the party theme, and placed the cake carefully in our cold room.  Whew--it was a relief to have that over, just as the first guest arrived!

Well the party rolled on, and it was eventually cake and photo time, I 'proudly' brought the cake out, which had so far been cooperating, but couldn't figure out how to remove the toothpicks from the cake.  So placing the cake in front of Bron for the photos and candle lighting, we eventually cut into it, and served it out.....with my warning: "Kids!  Eat around the wood--it is in there somewhere!"  My warning didn't scare them, and they ate happily, if not messily--probably occupied in looking for the wood!  I think they thought it was another party game!

As Bron got older, and moved out into her own home, as a single young woman on the go, birthdays still were a big thing!  A big part of the celebration was always the balloons and the pre-set-up!  We, as a family, always hung the relevant amount of balloons to the persons age--by this time Bron was 20 something.  I was stuck at work in a late meeting, and Bron was away or at work, so it was up to Chris to do the decorating.  We must have had a key to her house, as he let himself in, set down our presents, and started blowing up the balloons.  He had the balloons hanging from her lounge room ceiling and around, along with the streamers. I came over after my work finished, just in time to see him complete it all!  It looked great!!  We went home with big smiles on our faces knowing that Bron would get the big surprise when she got home.

As I said, Birthdays are a big thing in our family!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bear with me guys!

I have two blogs coming--working on them simultaneously (whew! That's a big word!)  Both are totally different from each other- but hopefully worth waiting here has been crazy lately!

"How can a person write!", she said to herself!

I promise--could be worth reading.....maybe a memory jerker--maybe scary!  Who knows!!

Luv ya!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Strap and Squirt and their peculiar lttle ways

I really love Strap and Squirt, but they sure do know how to work me to play on my sympathies, and get their own way--most of the time anyway..sort of like when our girls lived with us.  I usually always gave in, and Maddie especially really knew how to work me. I used to tell her that it's not fair when she used her eyes in the Puss in Boots (Shrek) sort of way--but she did!  And I would be :"Doomed as doomed could be, you know!"-Ed Grimley

Well, Strap does the same thing. 

His key position is to sit at the back patio doors and look through the glass at me, especially when it is just me in the room.  He really plays me.  Because he sheds so much hair, I am not letting him come inside so often, unless I really have planned a good cleaning day, when it doesn't matter, because I will clean it all up soon anyway! 

But on normal days, he just and puts his nose against the glass even, and with his eyes, asks me why
I'm not playing with him!  Guilt!  He's a good guilt Master! (I wonder if he was a good Jewish Mother in a former life) - Sorry if I have insulted any Jewish Mothers - but you know what I'm talking about!

Look at those eyes--c'mon! I'd have to have a cruel heart to refuse that look!  9 times out of 10 - Strap wins!  Don't you just hate that!  I mean, I should know better, Maddie knew I should know better, Strap knows I should know better, --but do they care? No!  They have their eyes, and their not afraid to use them!

Eventually, I usually give in, and agree to play ball with Strap.  This involves me throwing his favourite colour of ball - yes- he chooses his favourite colour of ball each day, based maybe on his mood and all.  (I know , you are telling me that dogs only see in black and white tonings- yea yea--but this is Strap--who knows with him- he identifies everything by colour!

We went down South recently for family issues, and to stay with Bron and family while we dealt with the other issues.  Before we left, I made sure that Christine, our wonderful animal person would be available to feed and look after Strap and Squirt.  She is brilliant- she comes in, plays with them, and then feeds them and leaves, when she knows they are OK.  Anyway, with the note I left for her, I included a new purple tennis ball, for her to give to Strap.  Apparently it was the only ball he would play with.  He has days when he will only choose his pink ball. even if we throw the blue ball!  He now has green, pink, blue and purple...I'll test him out on his choices--but he hasn't disappointed me yet in how he chooses his balls. He kills me!  There's some deep intelligence there, hidden by the eyes! Darn those eyes!

Anyway, as soon as Squirt sees me outside, she starts to use all of her language skills- dredging up old phrases even - anything to get my attention - so while I am throwing balls for Strap to bring back directly to me, Squirt is squawking:
"Wake up!" "Strap", "Squirt", "Like it!" and whistling like mad...any sound she can think of--and I am repeating them to her--it is often chaotic out there--but fun!