The way things are

Life is a really hard game. The pieces keep falling out of those teeny little cars!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


I've always lived in Vacaville, but until the first grade I lived in what is now dubbed the Old House. I only remember a couple of random things about that house--what the pool "shark" looked like, for instance. Anyway...

The Old House was at the end of a cul de sac, upon which was a wall that separated our street from the street on the other side. There was a little opening in this wall large enough to walk through to the other side. During the summer months, we had swarms (is this the correct term?) of frogs in our yard, many of which would swim around in our pool. They weren't hard to catch, so we would entertain ourselves by taking them through the wall and throwing them into the street on the other side. I suppose this was sort of inhumane, but the frogs looked so funny when they had been run over--like in cartoons when characters get flattened. The only difference was that there would be a wet spot surrounding the flattened frog. Yeah I know that's gross, but we were children.

We used to play with Beanie Babies all the time. Sharky would sing the signal into the intercom and we'd gather upstairs. It wasn't uncommon for our Barbie vehicles and furniture doubled for Beanie Babies toys. We were obsessed with those things--we had many "rare" Beanie Babies that were supposedly worth hundreds of dollars. I think they go for a couple of bucks a piece now on eBay. Figures.

Sharky had this life-sized stuffed pig that she lovingly named Wilbur. Topher and Handsome once kidnapped it and rolled it down the stairs. Sharky cried.

Once when Handsome was misbehaving, we shoved him into the storage room and shut the door. He yelled and cried and banged on the door begging us to let him out. The Rents came and scolded us for locking him in. Our response was that we didn't lock the door--if he would just try the handle he would be free. I think they laughed at that and just left him in there. Later when he was misbehaving we would threaten to put him in "The Room" and he would suddenly be a perfect angel.

I think we were meanest to Handsome. He was the youngest sibling for six years, and then Harry Potter was too young to pick on. Once, at a beach in Hawaii, Handsome's eyes turned red from the salt water. We started chanting "Red-eye Handsome" (his real name lends a better ring to the chant) over and over, but Sharky and Topher had just started learning Spanish in school, so they changed it to "Ojo rojo Handsome." I don't know why he got so mad about it, but his anger only encouraged us, and the name stuck for quite some time.

Handsome's real name is such that it's really easy to slip it into almost any song or jingle. It was irresistable--he would get so mad about it, even though the songs were rarely insulting. It got to the point that we could even hum the tune to one of the songs and he'd get angry. For some reason we thought that was hilarious.

My dad has always been really big on oldies. He made us listen to them as we grew up, and I'd have to admit that I still love them. He used to turn them on in the living room, and we'd all sing and dance to them, jumping off chairs and such. I'm very fond of those scraps of memory. We have a couple of home videos of us dancing. One was to Weird Al's "Fat"-- we stuffed pillows in our clothes and then ran into everything we could, including each other. Another one of the videos includes us rocking out in our sunglasses to "We Built This City On Rock and Roll." So much fun.

If someone were to ask me what my very favorite memory is, it would probably be a muddle of memories that fall into one category: playing games with the family. During holidays especially, we would stay up to the wee hours of the night playing board and card games. We had this old game called Stop Thief that we'd play all the time. And Rook. Rook is pretty much THE Pedersen game. I don't remember being taught how to play--we just grew up learning it until we were all masters. Rook wasn't just something we played at home--whenever extended family was around, we'd play it because every one of them were masters as well.

Even though we're all older now, we continue to play games. When the kids come home from college, when we eat Sunday dinner at Grandma's house, or when the aunts come out to visit, we spend hours playing six-handed Rook and every other card game that can be played with Rook cards. It's my favorite thing to do with my family because when we're playing, we're laughing an spending time together doing something we all love. Whoever I marry is going to have to be a game-lover because he just won't fit in if he isn't. And I plan on raising some little Rook-players of my own.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. I guess it's just fun to reminisce. I don't know how entertaining it was for my readers... *Shrug*


Blogger Gogie said...

Wow what a trip down the memory cul de sac...or is that court? Haha

9:26 PM  

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