Tag Archives: kids

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.