Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Cold Summer in Westview

One of the percs of being an older sister is that I was able to give my younger siblings wheelbarrow rides and airplane rides.  We had a large back yard, perfect for playtime scenarios.  Arlo, Laurie & I would stage little shows for the neighborhood kids, charging a dime for admission, and a nickel for lemonade.  We also served popcorn occasionally.  Arlo was the script-writer for the majority of our plays and scenarios, though we also got to do a little improv.   My best friend Leda remembers attending a few of our plays, and actually thought that they were entertaining.   Arlo & I played the characters of "Sporty and Lynn Nelson", which Arlo wrote and directed. I went along with it all, interjecting a few additions to the script, which Arlo would only accept if they were "in character".  

My brother was a character himself, a true individual, which sometimes got him in trouble with the local toughs. Laurie & I would often find ourselves rushing off to help our brother out, when he was outnumbered by the bullies.  Arlo later told me that it wasn't great for his ego that his sisters saved him a lot of the time!

My brother Tom and I were often at odds growing up, partly because the four youngest continually complained about Tom's bullying.  After one trying day when I was 17, I was stuffing a chicken for dinner, and Tom was being his usual bratty self.  In frustration, I turned around and yelled at my brother, and in a rage, hurled the chicken at Tom. 

Tom deftly dodged the flying chicken, which landed on the floor.  My action was counterproductive, because not only did Tom just laugh about it, but I had to re-clean and stuff the thing.

Arlo didn't like taking baths or showers, when he was young. It was partly because it was so COLD in Westview, where we grew up.  But stink is stink, no matter where you live.  One day, my mom had had enough, and ordered 10-year-old Arlo to take a shower.  He reluctantly agreed, and Mom was content to hear the shower running soon after.  20 minutes later, the shower was still running.  Mom decided to check the situation out, and found Arlo in the bathroom with the shower running, alright.  But Arlo was fully clothed, sitting on the closed toilet seat, reading a comic book!  Mom took the comic book, rolled it up, and started hitting Arlo over the head with it.  She didn't get too far before dissolving into laughter (I found her that way, outside of the bathroom, and couldn't help laughing, myself)!   

Maybe Arlo couldn't be blamed; as I mentioned, Westview in the summer is a COLD place to be, and we all sported the "layered look"....many layers of clothing....and didn't like shedding the protective warmth, unless it was for a good reason.  Among the nine of us, Arlo wore the most layers, they were like tree rings. Conversely, baby brother George didn't see the need for clothes, and he would often shed them and  run outside, before we could catch his little butt.  Occasionally, I'd hear: "Hey, Debbie, I saw your little brother running around naked!" Luckily, George outgrew that tendency....eventually.

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