Man, I loved me some Blue’s Clues.
This post, however, is not about Steve and Blue and Magenta and Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper and Paprika. It is about good old snail mail. Remember that? People actually communicated like that. Used pens and paper and whatnot (emphasis on the h). As a child, it was one of my greatest joys to get the mail.
I grew up living next door to my grandparents. We lived in the country. The COUNTRY. We lived on over an acre and there was a farm around the corner country. Deer grazing at the bottom of the yard country. You get the picture. Oh, no street name or house number country. Just a rural route and a box number. That my parents shared with my grandparents. I can’t remember what year it was when they finally named our road and gave us house numbers, but I remember it being about calling 911 and having emergency personnel be able to find us. Although, truthfully, everyone knew where everyone else lived or gave directions by landmarks. For example, take 981 South until the cemetery on your right. Turn right at said cemetery and go 7/10ths of a mile and look for the house with Christmas lights on the left hand side.
But anywho, the mail. I loved to get the mail in the summer and sometimes during the school year because the mail would sometimes come really late. More often than not, my grandparents would indulge me in my little girl silliness. I was spoiled in my mail watch also. Gram and Pops installed a little yellow flag on a spring that they picked up that, when the door to the mailbox was opened, would pop up to let you know you had mail. So I would look out our front window down to the bottom of the yard to see if the mail had come when I thought I heard the mail truck go by.
After getting the mail, I would go to my grandparents’ house to sort it out. Funny, I almost never went in their front door. I would go around the back because the front door is for visitors. Typically, my grandfather would be sleep watching a soap opera and my grandmother would be sitting at the kitchen table doing a word search. OMG, sidebar.
I would do word searches with my Gram all the time. It’s partially due to her that I have this love of puzzles and word games. Well, one day we’re sitting at the kitchen table doing a word search and I am kinda leaning over her arm. Much to my horror, a dried up booger fell out of my nose and right into the center of the puzzle. Gram never said a word. Brushed the boog onto the floor and circled the next word.
I’d sort the mail out with my grandmother, and then, if I wasn’t going back up to the house right away, I’d put our mail on top of the fridge with part of the envelope sticking out. It was our little yellow flag inside the house.
Jump forward 30-ish years. I still love getting the mail. I love getting mail. Even when it’s junk. I mean, I realize that there’s a waste factor involved. But for me, it’s the difference between having a book in my hand as opposed to my Kindle. Luckily, hubby indulges me in this level of silly also. In the decade and change we’ve been cohabitating, pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of times that he’s gotten the mail if I didn’t specifically ask him to. I am a special star. I know.
How’s about it? Got a quirk you wanna share?
The challenge says your earliest memory. I don’t think that really makes for a good story, so how about this one instead?
About a million years ago, I lived by the ‘be home before dark’ world. Winter time? Don’t even bother to leave the house after school. But in the summer? You just figure out how far you can push your luck because even though it didn’t get dark until 9, I dare the bravest of you to stay out until 9. Not with my parents. Nope. Uh uh.
It was a small neighborhood. Fairly tight-knit. Mostly we gathered in one place and most parents knew that, including mine. (Thinking about this and laughing, I just realized that I think I can look back on the calendar and find the exact date this happened. More on why later.
There was a get-together going on in the gathering place and I was there until I figured I had pushed my luck far enough and that I should get home. Well, you know, this was a really good gathering going on and I was pretty bummed out that I had to go home. Of course, I immediately started formulating a plan on how I could go back. It seemed simple. Just wait until my parents went to bed and go out the window. It wasn’t even hard; my window literally opened onto the ground.
Which, yes, meant I was on ground level for bugs. Ugh! Once, when sleeping, I brushed my hand over my face because I felt a tickle. I’d say about .5 seconds later I jolted out of bed and turned on the light. Yep. Horrified. I woke up because a spider crawled across my face. (Something like a grass spider if you’re so inclined to look that up.) Better believe I didn’t go back to sleep for a while.
Which reminded me of more bugs. Two of the walls of my bedroom were 90% underground. On one of those walls, there was an electrical outlet. The faceplate on it either wasn’t straight or wasn’t flush, for whatever reason, there was a space between the wall and the faceplate. One day I was sitting in my room and I just happened to look over to that outlet to see black ants swarming in. After I stopped freaking out, I taped that motherfucker shut. Probably didn’t sleep in my room that night.
Back to the story at hand, I waited until they went to bed. And then I waited a little longer. When I thought I had waited long enough, as George Thorogood said, out the door I went. *guitar riff* I walked back to the gathering and continued talking and having a good time. After a while, I found my party pal over by the path to the gathering spot. We chatted a bit about nothing in general as I scanned the group. We struck up a conversation about how neither of us were supposed to be there. Not long thereafter, I saw her go pale like she had seen a ghost. She pointed and said the two words I never wanted to hear: Your. Mom.
I knew I was dust. I started walking towards her, dejectedly. The walk home was torturous. Dead silence. Silence of a rural area when even the crickets have gone to sleep and you’re sucked into the vacuum of cold that is your mother’s anger. When we got back to the house, she followed me to my room. She told me that we were not going to tell my father about this because tomorrow was Father’s Day and we were going to the brunch buffet at Seven Springs and you are not going to ruin that for him GAWD DAMMIT!
I got grounded. I’m sure it was at least two weeks. But much worse than the grounding was the fact that my mother had seen my pal there. She knew who wasn’t supposed to be there and she knew that included my pal. So in addition to being grounded, I had to call my pal’s PARENTS and rat her out. I thought surely she’d never talk to me again, but we got through it, grounded, together.
Now see? Isn’t that a better story than remembering a straight pin being pushed through a small piece of cardboard, lighting some hash, putting a glass over the hash and letting it fill up, then sipping the smoke from under the crack you get when you lift the glass up? BWAHAHAHAHA!! OLD SCHOOL!