Today’s memory challenge is brought to my mind as we begin training our new dog Cassie. There are limits to be set and boundaries to be pushed. It is all a part of growing up and being a part of a family.
Kids get in trouble. It happens. I was such a nervous child that I didn’t get in trouble very much. I was always terrified that something really, REALLY bad would happen to me which was all in my head. My mom or my grandparents could say good morning to me in the wrong tone of voice and I would burst into tears. The strain of trying to be perfect and of course never succeeding took its toll on me from childhood into adulthood.
I can only remember three instances of actually getting in trouble though. One, I don’t know what I did but I had to have been 10 or 11, but I made my mom so made that she threw a couple of pillows at me. I think she must have wanted to do more but didn’t. And as I write this I am remembering more – the one thing I did wrong all the time and probably was what made her so mad – was not clean my room. In her younger days my mom was a real clean and neat freak. The vacuum cleaner never cleaned things good enough for her so she would get down on her hands and knees after vacuuming and pick things up off the floor. I never kept my room clean. I mean, we are talking disaster zone. And like most kids I didn’t see the big deal since I could always find what I wanted and she could always shut the door. But she didn’t like to do that. She wanted it clean. Many a time I would come home from school to find out that she had cleaned my room for me. It was the only time I ever got really really angry. I would have a full-out temper tantrum and throw things around the room and make it even messier than before. That was probably what happened the day she threw pillows at me.
In Junior High I had a horse named Sparky. We boarded him a ways from home and one day my mom and my grandmother came out to watch me ride. There were a couple of cute teenage boys working at the place and I was trying to show off. I tried to jump on Sparky bareback without using the step I usually used (He was huge. I was short.) I missed and fell off into the dirt and halfway under him. I said “damn” and my grandmother slapped my face right there in front of everyone, including the cute guys.
But the time of getting in trouble that I remember the most was with my grandfather. My grandfather was my world (until he died when I was 10.) He taught me how to play cards and I wanted to play with him all the time. Even though he was tired after work he indulged me a lot. He never “let” me win and I got tired of losing all the time. So one day I cheated. I was so sure that I had been sneaky enough to not be caught but of course he knew. He just said “you cheated” and packed up the cards. I remember very well that sinking feeling in my stomach that I had done something unforgivable, that I had disappointed him, that I had broken something that couldn’t be fixed.
Your turn. Can you remember a time you got in trouble as a kid?
I can’t come up with a one. My parents did more of the “disappointed in you” bit.
Of the many….
…but actually, I was very clever and didn’t get caught often enough to get in trouble all the times I should have…..
One time when I was getting a “little old” for my mom’s punishment methods, she whacked my arms with her molded plastic hair brush. If I wasn’t in 7th or 8th grade, that would have inflicted some pain. (It was a feared weapon of discipline in our house). But this time –I knew I must be getting older– it didn’t hurt so bad. I could be a “tough soldier” and take it. This frustrated Mom. She whacked even harder. But the brush broke! She proceeded to beat me with her fists like a cartoon beating on the chest of it’s invincible foe and screaming “You broke my brush!”
It was all rather silly. And I think she thought so too. I never was punished with weapons again. Introduce: the worse punishment of any tween — Grounding and No TV!
The Punishment that FIT the Crime…
Now, in retrospect I can see all the classic signs. I was a picked on kid in grammar school. So, textbook was my action: I found weaker beings to pick on them.
One day at the bus stop, I rode this kid hard for wearing the same style jacket as mine. Later that afternoon when my mother wasn’t home yet, this kid’s mother came to my house and she yelled at me and threatened to beat me up right there! I was scared shitless! She didn’t lay a finger on me but there was a “guilty-bad-feeling” hole the size of a shotgun blast through my chest.
I never even looked in the direction of her kid again.
Were we twins in a past life? The only thing I can remember getting in trouble for on a constant basis was not cleaning my room. My mom could have cared less, but my dad…he and my mother designed their house and he always liked to give tours. Well, I love them dearly, but believe me the architect’s creativity was not poured into our bedrooms, which were comfy, spacious, but really a basic box. Not the highlight of a tour. But just close the door and wave at it with a comment about a teenager’s mess? NOPE! Had to have that room cleaned. For me, if I had a path from the bookcase to the bed, I was happy. 🙂
OH! I’m “playing” a meme, and the rules say I have to notify the people I tag. Here’s me, jumping up and down and waving at you! 🙂
August 15th, 1987. I got in the worst trouble of my life. I, however, didn’t find out until the first of September.
We were living in North Carolina (grandparents were in Ohio). I had gone out to an old family friend’s farm. They had horses to ride. Well, thanks to my grandparents and these friends, I’d learned to ride before I could hold my head up by myself, practically.
Got into a huge fight with a cousin. HUGE. (Okay, I was 10, but the fight was huge anyway!) So, annoyed, and needing to get away from everyone, I went, saddled a horse, and left.
That’s right. Went trail riding, without a helmet, without telling anyone, everything.
What I didn’t know was that poachers had become a problem in the area. A big one. I was out riding (the stallion’s name was Mephistopheles, but I always called him Phisty) by myself, and all of a sudden, I hear a gun shot. Phisty started prancing, nervously. I tried to calm him and turn him for home.
The first bullet slammed into a tree trunk about six inches in front of his nose. I ended up falling off. Not a big deal. I’d fallen before. I got up. Phisty had been trained to never leave a rider. So, even though he was nervous and beginning to sweat, he didn’t leave me. I caught him, and managed to step in a rabbit hole just off the trail.
Broke my ankle. Somehow (and I’ve no idea how) managed to climb back into the saddle. I’d just gotten settled, and was turning, again, for home, when a bullet skimmed his nose (he had a scar until the day he died). He reared up, and since I was in pain anyway, managed to dump me again.
He trampled me. There’s a long list of injuries (including: concussion, collapsed/punctured lung, broken ribs, broken bones etc) that happened, and Phisty ran away leaving me there.
It was over an hour before I was found. I was life-flighted out to a hospital, and was in a drug-forced coma for two weeks. When I finally came to, with a breathing tube down my throat and so many tubes running in and out of me that I didn’t know where I ended and the machinery began….
My mother screamed at me. Forever it felt like, until one of the nurses came into the ICU unit and kicked her out.
I don’t think my mother ever stopped resenting me for ruining her perfect little life façade that she worked so hard to project.
On the slap–ouch–the humiliation of that, much more than the physical pain. Though the disappointment in your grandfather’s voice…I felt that one in my stomach.
Getting into trouble
I rarely got into trouble as well. A nervous little girl? I am that way, always trying to be perfect. I am much much older now, and I think I was around 10 or 11 when I became friends with the sister of my brother’s friend, Bert. Her name was Irene and the family had moved to NH from Canada some years before. My mother too had befriended the mother of Bert and Irene, and they would visit each other now and then. I started to go to Irene’s house to play, they lived just down the street, and we were becoming really good friends. We both liked Barbie dolls and music, and enjoyed each other’s company a great deal. We laughed a lot, just had good-clean fun together. One day, Irene told me that I couldn’t come over any more. Her father said that I laughed too loud, so I was banned from their home. We never played together again. I was quite saddened over this. You know, in retrospect though I have to say, “good, thank you!”, and especially to Irene’s father, “I still laugh too loud!” I did, however, always miss Irene.
Even though I think I was a pretty good kid, and even my Mom is always telling everyone now how good I was when I was young, I got in trouble a lot. Chalk that up to Mom’s Chinese Dragon Lady temper. I remember two distinct incidents: When I was about seven years old, I really wanted a Hello Kitty bubble gum chapstick. It came in a clear tube, was bright pink, and shaped like a “real” lipstick. My mom would not let me get it, so I shoplifted it. But damn my internal monologue, as soon as we got home, I felt so guilty that I literally started to get sick. I got a fever, I felt like puking, I was jumpy, and generally a grump. My Dad asked me what was wrong, and I burst into tears and showed him the chapstick. I thought that if I told my Mom, she would call the police and put me in jail. Luckily, my Dad is a softie for his little girl. He took me back to the store the next day, made me apologize for stealing, and paid for the chapstick. Phew! Jail time averted!
Re: Trouble #1
Oh boy, I remember my son doing this with a pack of gum.
The boxes in our garage always had great treasures. My mom was a stationery nut in her youth, so I often found beautiful note cards and envelopes that she had forgotten about for writing to my pen pals (remember those before the e-mail age?). Once, I found a box with stuff from my parents’ wedding: photos, momentos, thank you card stationery, etc. I rummaged through that box and went through all the pictures. I loved seeing thos photos of my mother in her beautiful gown and looking so young. I guess I didn’t pack the box back very carefully because I broke something in it, and when my mom saw what I had done, she completely flipped out. She took out all the light bulbs in my room, locked me in there for what seemed like forever, came back with a belt (you know what it was for!), and locked me in there again after literally whupping my ass. To this day, I still don’t know what I broke. I hope whatever it was, it was worth all that, because I will carry this little nugget of warm-and-fuzzy with me until the day I die.
Re: Trouble #2
Okay, that tops them all!
Took out all the lightbulbs??? You need to write this as a scene sometime. Yikes!