When my children and I first moved to Missouri in 1976 I was lucky enough to get a job working for the city we moved to. This small rural town had (and still has) its own electric services and I was hired to work there. Fortunately for me I had purchased a home across the street from a sweet old judge and his wife (he got me the job). For a few years I rented out the house I bought in order to have money to fix it up before we moved. Every summer the kids and I would drive back to Missouri with my mom and dad. We would spend the summer working on the place, while staying with relatives (or camping out in the house when it house was empty).
This has practically NOTHING to do with my story, except this is where I was working when I received a call from my 12-year-old son (my daughter was around 8). (FYI: my son is now 6’ 9” and was very big for his age back then. Because of his size he was not allowed to hit his sister, or any one else for that matter, under any conditions.)
MOM (me): (answering phone) City offices, how may I help you?
GENE: Mom, Patty’s not listening to me. She has Quackers (a baby duck) in the bathroom and won’t put her outside (plus a list several of her other infractions).
MOM: Put her on the phone.
PATTY: (Not waiting for her mother to talk) NO, HE’S JUST BEING MEAN!
(thunk = the sound of the phone being dropped or more likely being thrown to the floor)
(the buzzing sound of a disconnected phone).
MOM: (answering phone) City Offices, how may I help you?
GENE: Mom, she’s carrying duck food into the bathroom……. and I can hear the water running …………and she won’t listen to me.
Can I hit her?
MOM: NO! Put her on the phone.
GENE: (yelling) Mom wants to talk to you!
PATTY: (a minute or two passes)“TATTLE TALE!”
(very LOUD thunk and a boy’s scream….)
(young girl screaming and the Doppler effect of those screams moving away through the house.)
MOM: (hanging up the phone and jumping to feet) Ahhhh, I seem to have an emergency at home. (hasty exit left)
SCENE: Upon the arrival of Mom, Gene is found lying on the couch with a cold wash cloth pressed to the top of his head.
The area is examined and a knot the size of a small walnut is found to be a prominent
GENE: I was sitting on the floor in front of the TV when I handed the phone to Patty. She yelled, "Tattletale," and then hit me on the top of the head with the receiver.
I got to my feet and ran after her, but I was slow getting up and didn't catch her.
MOM: ( fixing ice pack in kitchen) Patty where are you?
GENE: (from front room) The little monster locked herself in the bathroom.
ACTION: (crying can now be heard coming from the bathroom)
PATTY: I’m sorry, Mom, he just made me sooooooo mad!
MOM: Come on out.
The rest of the MELODRAMA included the usual lecture and the issuance of the punishment deemed appropriate for the various violations of the house rules. A cease-fire was declared and Patty was sent to her room. As for myself I called the office and took the rest of the day off. I HATE TEACHER DEVELOPMENT DAYS!
I wish I could say that this was the last time my daughter bashed my son on the head. About a year later she beaned him over the head with a large, metal, antique, pitcher I used for a flower vase. I don’t remember what the problem was but this time but, in front of her, I gave Gene permission to HIT her. She NEVER did it again (I knew he would never hit her, but, she didn't).