I have two sisters. Jeanne is the elder of the two and seven years younger than me. Martia followed Jeanne by almost two years. Because they are so much younger than I am, I didn’t have a lot to do with them, plus they seemed always underfoot, especially when I started dating. Actually, very annoying would be a better description. They were always up to something, and I suspect Jeanne was the instigator since she was the oldest. I have already posted about the girls and the Dwarf Parrot, and here follows a few more Jeanne and Martia incidents I can remember. I’m sure more will come to me.
Snow in July?
Some of you may recall Ivory Snow. It was a laundry detergent that was in the form of soap flakes rather than granules or liquid like most laundry detergents today. The stuff looked like you took a pocketknife to a bar of Ivory Soap and cut off thin flakes about the size of a fingernail. Except for its flake form, it had all the usual properties of a bar of soap.
I have no idea why they did it; you will have to ask Jeanne; but they took a whole box of Ivory Snow and spread it (the WHOLE box) on the oak flooring all around the dining room table. THEN, they took their tricycles and rode round and round the dining room table through the Ivory Snow turning it back into a bar of soap, albeit one that was now a very large and thin donut shape.
I think this transpired while my mother was sleeping and MB was on his morning calls. I have no idea how MB got all that ground-in soap off those hardwood floors.
“Do you know where those girls are?”
My grandmother and grandfather lived on the corner of Sixth Street and Minor at the other end of the block from us. My grandfather never drove a car, and no one would ever explain why. Of course, that led to all manner of speculation. My grandmother drove him everywhere he went, or he bummed a ride with someone. Since he was the principal at Kenner High School, my grandparents were always up early, and Buck (what we called him, Prof Barbre to the rest of Kenner) was at school before most everyone else.
On the way home from dropping him at school one morning, my grandmother drove by our house on Sixth Street. It was January and cold, and my mother got a wakeup call from her mother. “Neva Lou, do you know where those girls are?” she asked in a very demanding tone of voice, a voice she had perfected through years of asking similar questions.
My sisters were not yet school age, so my groggy mother replied, “In bed?”
To which my grandmother replied with an even harsher tone, “No, they are not! They are running around in the front yard buck-assed naked, and it is cold outside!”
No, I have no idea why they were doing that. You will have to ask them.
Back in the fifties everyone smoked, including my mother and dad. My mother’s favorite brand was Chesterfields. MB favored Lucky Strikes as I recall. Brands were, of course, unimportant to Jeanne and Martia, they just wanted to pretend smoke cigarettes, which usually meant my mother’s because they were left laying around. The girls, only about five and three at the time, would have several cigarettes in their mouths at one time, and they were all slobbery wet with little girl spit from saliva glands over stimulated by the taste of tobacco.
One time in Waveland, they were doing their cigarette slobber thing, and big brother decided to teach them a lesson about the evils of smoking. This was another of those “it seemed like a good idea at the time” things. As usual, each had at least three cigarettes in their mouths, so I lit them all! Two puffs later and just about the time my mother entered the room, both hurled cigarettes and breakfast all over the kitchen.
Needless to say, I got punished, but the girls never touched a cigarette again, at least until they got a lot older.