Why must the innocent always suffer? Especially when I’m the one that’s almost completely innocent. And why is the degree of innocence so different in the eyes of my beholders?
Two bedrooms in our basement-house were semi-finished. Susan’s crib took up residence in Mom and Dad’s bedroom, at the end of the hallway. David and I were deposited in the other.
We weren’t used to sharing a room, so we talked loudly until Mom and Dad yelled, “For the last time, pipe down in there and go to sleep.”
We whispered until Dad’s belt came snapping down the hallway. It was only a matter of time before the belt did more than snap.
A double bed, bought from the Newcombs, became David’s new sleeping spot. I don’t know what happened to my bed from Dean Road, but a double mattress perched on top of empty paint cans became mine. We soon found out cement blocks should have been used instead of unsubstantial paint cans.
David mastered the art of making harmonica noises by cupping his hands and making a mournful waaaa sound. Not your standard lullaby music, but it worked for me.
“Play Home on the Range again,” I said.
“No, I’ve already done it three times.”
“Please, just once more,” I begged. “You do it sooo good.”
Who said flattery won’t get you anywhere? Flattery got me night-time music. I drifted off to sleep dreaming of deer and antelope.Another favorite bedtime occupation was practicing somersaults. We piled our pillows up on the outside edge of my makeshift bed. From David’s bed, we dove across a two foot aisle and over our pillow wall. The objective was to dive over the highest pillow without touching or knocking any over.
We each conquered the four pillow hurdle, so we snuck in some throw pillows from the sofa.
I jumped first and sailed over our new challenge. I landed gracefully on my bed, with carefully tucked in legs so I didn’t kick the wall and alert Mom and Dad to our non-sleeping status.
David gave a couple preparatory jumps on his bed to gain height. He cleared the pillows, but his landing needed work. His middle name was NOT Grace (like mine should have been).An untucked leg made his foot crash through the sheetrock wall by my bed. The destruction didn’t end there. The force of his landing crushed a paint can, slamming one corner of my mattress to the floor.
Not only did he lose the competition, David dragged me into trouble with him.
In case Mom and Dad didn’t hear the thud of David’s foot going through the wall, they couldn’t miss the sound of my paint can being smushed into a pie plate or the wallop of my collapsed mattress.
The hallway light snapped on and Mom and Dad rushed in to find us sleeping. My teeny snore sounds sounded very convincing, to me.
Our bedroom light was off, but they managed to notice my bed lying on a steep slant. They turned our light on and continued noticing things, like all our pillows piled up against the wall by my bed.
David and I didn’t move a muscle. Being overly suspicious parents, they didn’t believe we were asleep.
Dad reached over and moved the pillows aside.
“David did it,” I yelled.
“Jump’n jeezum all to heck!” bellowed Dad.
With the pillows gone, David’s hole in the wall was revealed.
In case Dad didn’t get the message, I repeated, “David did it!”
For the first time in Norton history, the dreaded belt didn’t just snap. We screamed and cried as Dad’s fearsome belt gave us each a whack. I can only imagine the pain if we hadn’t been protected by a sheet, blanket, and quilt.
Lessons learned: Always jump from the flimsy paint-can bed onto the sturdier bed, not the other way around. And keep your feet tucked in during the landing.
Now it’s your turn: What’s your hole-in-the-wall or bed jumping story?
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