I’ve had several subscribers ask how I got to be such a control freak (i.e. weirdo.) It’s all quite embarrassing and I don’t know where to begin. But, as I’m always advising my critique group, “You have to open a vein onto the page.” So here’s a humiliating glimpse into my Crazie upbringing.
My mother was the world’s worst housekeeper. In her defense, she worked full time and had eight irresponsible kids. I remember that there was a chart of household chores that we were required to do each day. (My first attempt at control freak-dom?) One might expect that we came home from school and completed our chores, then went out to play.
Not us. We jumped off the bus, ran inside and immediately planted ourselves in front of the TV to watch Gilligan’s Island and/or any other nonsense show that was broadcast. Someone sat by the window that had a view of the hill Mom would be driving over on her way home. We had to change lookout’s every day, because even though it was a perfect view of the road, it was not a perfect view of the television, and that’s just not fair. When the lookout saw our battered green station wagon crest the hill they’d shout “MOM!”
Thus began the wild rush to complete our tasks before she drove, what couldn’t have been more than three minutes, into the driveway. I distinctly remember one time when she walked into a smoke filled house. Rather than bend over and pick up one of my brother’s socks that was lying on the floor, I decided to vacuum it up instead. Luckily we had extinguished the fire before she got in the door.
Keeping up with dirty clothes was another task she never quite got control of. She’d wash and dry them, then dump them on the dining room table. When the pile began to slide onto the floor she’d call out “Clothes Folding Party.” We sat in a circle and she held up an article of clothing. One of us would shout out “Mine” and she’d toss it to us.
My bedroom was upstairs and rather than walk up all those stairs, I placed my folded clothes on the step, figuring I’d take them up with me on my next trip. I never did. I just picked out my clothes from the ones on the stairs and eventually they were clear…until the next clothes folding party.
When I was in high school our house was robbed while I was home. I heard the thieves knock down the back door and I dropped to the floor of my bedroom to hide under the bed. Only there was so much junk under there already, I couldn’t fit. I had to run to my brother’s room and hide under his bed.
When the sheriff arrived, he took one look around and said “Oh my god, they trashed the place!” I was too embarrassed to tell him the truth.
There you go, dear reader. Mortifying and shameful. Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go find a bandage for my bleeding vein.
Loved that in-depth look back to your childhood. I always wondered how you all managed with SO many people in one house. I came over to your house all the time and I don’t even recall piles of clothes or anything. I DO recall running through the cow pasture so the cows wouldn’t “chase” me. I also recall that horrible day the robbers came and you called me at school. I was scared to death for you. Heaven knows you’ve had some really rough situations and I so admire how you came through every one of them and who you are today. Thank you for sharing these tidbits with us and the world.
i love to read or hear about what it’s like to grow up in big families. sounds like such a tangle of arms, legs, clean and dirty clothes, fun and lots of fighs and love. i bet you wouldn’t change a thing..
As my Dad used to say when he’d done something goofy – “I’m going to make you rich one day.” Hopefully all the Craziness of my childhood DOES make me rich one day. 🙂
So that’s where it all began back in your childhood. You don’t do your chores and now it’s become an obsession to do all your chores and everyone else’s. Knowledge is the first step in overcoming something. Good luck.
Thanks, Bob. So much to overcome and so little time.