Category Archives: brothers

Happy Thanksgiving: Choose Your Weapon

My John brother is kind of an asshole. When we were little, he was a *major* asshole. I’ve got four brothers, John is the brother closest to my age (and totally my favorite!)–which likely gives him the right to torture me the most. Jason, James, John, and Jacob. Jesus. That’s a lot of Js. John, Jacob, and I were often left at home to fend for ourselves. John mostly ran around with his friends and said if I didn’t do all our assigned chores, he’d beat me up. He would–and DID on several occasions. Jacob was a punk, four years younger then I am. It was basically my job to make sure the house was clean before mom got home. (I did a terrible job.)

Mom worked at the shop just one street away. If things got really scary, one of use would run to the shop and tattle. Most of the time we didn’t, instead screamed and yelled at each other until one of the kids left or gave in. Mom didn’t come home until after 6, we got off the bus around 4:00pm, so that’s two full hours of pure  hell. On Saturdays, we were told to “fend for yourselves” from 9am until 3pm. Fend for yourself meant: eat whatever is in the fridge (my mom still calls it the icebox), don’t call her at work, and don’t kill each other. Most of the time we managed.

I’m going to say it was on a Saturday. If things were going to get really heated in our green, craptastic two story house, it was going to be on that Saturday where we had a full six hours to be especially nasty to each other. No one would ever spend the night at my house because a Saturday afternoon of unsupervised destruction proved to be too much for most 10 year olds. If I was to spend the night at anyone else’s house, I had to be home by 9am. That was the rule.

On this particular Saturday, I think John was actually trying to get me to play with him and have some fun, but he was really pissing me off. Honestly, this was nearly 30 years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

I’m walking around the house, John won’t leave me alone, keeps following me. I picture myself with my golden hair falling just past my shoulders with a seriously cute outfit on, cleaning for my mother and taking care of my little 6 year old brother. –Making breakfast for them, and then cleaning the house before mom gets home. It’s more likely that I was crying about not enough food in the house, my hair was a filthy mess, I’m wearing some sort of hand-me-down shirt that had a sparkly iron-on or fuzzy letters, shorts that were too short, and no shoes. Jacob was probably whining, begging for food. I wasn’t the best caretaker. Sorry Jacob.

I remember walking towards my mothers room – probably going to snoop in her drawers, or look through her closet. (I did this often. Google cures my adult urge for snooping these days. Thanks online records!) John was following me and getting in my face. I have no idea what he was saying, I can’t remember. Likely, I wasn’t listening anyway. I remember shoving him, screaming at him (I was defiantly a screamer-I’m sure that was annoying.) He wanted to have a knife fight. Seriously.

Maybe we just watched West Side Story (John, Jacob, and I always watched old musicals and even listened to the record soundtracks and secretly LOVED them). I have no idea what his problem was. He wanted to fight, maybe fake fight, I don’t know. He kept on and on! I’m walking down the little foyer to my mother’s room to engage in my guilty pleasure. I turn around, and John is in my face. He’s holding two giant butcher knives. There was one knife in each hand, the handles were facing me.

“CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON!” I can STILL remember his face. He’s yelling and spitting at the same time. I was enraged. He wasn’t about to leave me alone. I screamed—“AHHHHHH!!!!”

…and I grabbed both knife handles, and forced down the dull (likely dirty) blades into the palms of his hands. He was horrified. He screams back, pure terror in his wide-eyed-face. “AHHHHHH!!!!”

I’m there holding these freaking knives that HE brought to me. John is dripping blood all over our carpenter-grade-green carpet in the little foyer going to my mother’s room. He runs to the bathroom and starts running water over his freshly cut hands, sobbing like a baby.

The little foyer also had framed pictures of each of us kids. I remember standing there, still holding both knives. I’m looking at the stupid frames with all our school pictures. 12 holes in each frame from for each year of school. All my brother’s pictures were staring at me, mocking me. They didn’t love anything more than getting their sister in trouble. They loved it….

We’re all laughing at the Thanksgiving dinner table, telling tale after horrible tale. John isn’t there to defend the story. This is the way I remember it, likely a little askew. I don’t remember what happened next. I don’t remember ever getting in trouble for the knife fight. I don’t remember John ever acting in retaliation. I DO remember finding some awesome stuff in my mother’s closet.

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I’ve had my eye on you

I’ve always had a vivid imagination. I was the only girl out of four boys so I had to learn how to entertain myself. I had friends, usually a best friend that I would spend all my time with, get sick of, find a replacement for, then repeat. This cycle typically rotated between just a few girls.

My bestfriend for this story was Deborah, she went by Debbie. (I’m guessing after the Debbie Gibson era, she has gone back to Deborah). She was also from a Czech family. Her mom was an angry woman, with short gray tight curly hair and a permanent scowl. Debbie’s father, Clem was super nice. Looking back I think he was so nice and laid back because he was typically drinking. Either way, very nice. She had one older sister that wasn’t around much. I remember thinking she was so cool because she had “rock band” posters all over her room. That “rock band” was Prince. In fact, she looked like she could have been in the band. She had mullet like permed hair and wore shiney clothes. I wished I could be just like her.

In fact, I was borderline obsessed with these older women (older=teenager). My oldest brother Jason had started bringing his girlfriend around. She was in this “older women” genre. I remember Mindy, short for Melinda, to always wear black, her bangs in her face, and always had a look of “whatever” on her face. I know this look now, she was a stoner. But at the time, I really thought she was just the coolest person I had ever met. I even tried to mimic her. I started using hair spray, had the most awesome waterfall hair, and wore my only black T-shirt over and over again. I even tried to have my own nick name by using my middle name Leigh, and insisting everyone call me by that (never stuck.)

She never actually talked to me,  but in a life surrounded by spitting, farting and cursing, Mindy was a welcome site. Jason would bring Mindy over to our house and hide in his bedroom for hours. I remember my mother sending each brother to “check on them” one at a time. As part of my obsession, I listened to what they talked about. I would lean up against Jason’s bumper-sticker covered bedroom door and try to hear what they were saying. They were usually fighting or talking about stupid stuff way over my head. Then I heard it. The most amazing thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

Mindy had a glass eye.

I honestly can’t even remember what they were talking about or why it came up. I just remember that I couldn’t wait to check it out. I burst in the room.

“Mom wanted me to check on you,” I said all excitedly. I was staring directly at Mindy waiting to see some sort of clue that she did, in fact, have a glass eye.

As Jason kicked me, and began shoving me out of the door, Mindy started laughing. Maybe because she wasn’t concentrating, her left eye began rolling around as the right eye was completely out of sync. This was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I had to have one.

I practiced my glass eye routine for hours in front of the mirror. To this day I can still look at you with one eye and make the other roll around. I needed to show someone my new found skill. Now.

My mom took me to Debbie’s house. I set down my cabbage patch cornsilk doll, and looked really, really, sad. Debbie was only slightly concerned (I was always having some sort of drama, made-up or real).

“I have something to tell you,” I said to Debbie. “You have to promise to keep it a secret.” This meant in Rachel terms, be sure to tell ever one you know so I look really cool and become the most popular kid in the fourth grade.

“I’ve tried to keep it a secret as long as I could. I have a glass eye.” Honestly, I would have cried, but I wasn’t sure if a glass eye could produce tears or not, I figure I should stick to the helpless puppy dog look.

Debbie was amazed. Just as I thought, she thought this was perhaps the coolest thing ever. She tried to share some sort of heart murmur story with me but I wasn’t having it. This was my day to shine. I was the one with the real handicap here.

All day long, I remember talking to her and doing my new eye-wondering trick. I told her how nice it was to not have to try and fake it in front of my best friend, and it was nice to just let my eye go wherever it wanted. She was in awe. I know she was.

She tried to get me to take it out, but I told her my mother would be mad at me and I wasn’t allowed to. I wasn’t a rule breaker after all. What kind of girl did she think I was?

I had to go home early that day. My glass eye was giving me an incredible headache.


Hello world!

I’ll leave this lame post title because I suppose it’s correct. If you’re following me from the beginning, its because you know my story and you know there is sure to be some good reading here… or you’re scared to death I’m actually going to write about you. I thank you just the same.

I’ve been on a reading kick lately and thought, Shit. My story kicks their story’s asses. True, if I had a drug habbit, my story might be a little more interesting.

I told my mom a while back I was going to write my story. She laughed. I think it was more of a “oh, shit” giggle than a “oh that will be wonderful!” giggle.

Why would I write my story, and why is my story any more interesting than yours? It’s probably not. But hey, its my story, and in my story I decide that everyone thinks I’m interesting and funny and wants to hear all about the twists and turns that got me where I am.

I’ll try to post in order. Although, I’ve already written a few chapters that are the most interesting, or are the ones I find myself telling over and over because they get the best reaction. Those are the chapters that are kind of like a train wreck. You shouldn’t want to keep listening, but you can’t help but want to hear all about.

In a nutshell:

  • Girl has too many siblings brothers.
  • Girl moves to Craptown USA.
  • Girl has entirely new life.
  • Girl finds boyfriends.
  • Girl realizes she is awesome at journalism class boyfriends.
  • Girl decides to be a journalism teacher have baby.
  • Girl gets married to baby’s daddy a boyfriend.
  • Girl has another baby.
  • Girl parties with babies.
  • Girl doesn’t like lame husband.
  • Girl loves being alone.
  • Girl changes entire life.
  • Girl writes a new chapter.
  • Girl finds cooler husband Schmoopie.
  • Girl realizes she raised awesome daughters.
  • Girl writes about true stories because blogging is fun.

While this seems simple, I could honestly write an entire book on the first bullet point. This outline could will change. Good luck on keeping up with me. Thanks for the follow.

And don’t worry, I’ll change all the names of the innocent. (Assuming any of you are innocent).