This installment is in mostly chronological order and it involves a lot of screaming. If you’d known my family back in the day, you’d nod pensively and say, “Yes, of course it does. That makes sense.”
That time 3 year old Corinne began one of her famous public disturbances after my mom refused to buy her nail polish by stamping her foot and shouting, “Ya so mean! You NEVAH buy me any powish!!” (I really, really hate it when people try to spell out kidspeak, btw, and I am so sorry, but this had to be included as is because it’s one of my favorite things in the history of ever.)
How my dad would always hide one of our Easter baskets impossibly hard so that the other kids would be chowing down on candy while the last one was wandering around in circles, screaming.
How my mom purposefully created an irrational fear in her little girls. When we lived in Rexburg, our backyard fence ran parallel to a wide, fast-flowing, child-drowning canal. She would tell us stories about Boogedy, how he lived in the canal and stole children and I don’t know what else. I’m not sure if Corinne was too old to believe it, but Annie and I had no doubt. We were terrified. (I totally agree with my mom’s decision and would do the same, by the way. Kept us alive.)
That time Annie's first bird died when us girls were home alone. Just keeled right over in its cage. My dad walked inside twenty minutes later and "thought Freddie Kruger had been in the house" for all the wailing.
That time there was a tornado. I was at a friend’s 6th birthday party and when the sirens went off, HER MOM DIDN’T EVEN CARE. We just kept playing for several minutes until a concerned neighbor gave a Hagrid-like knock at the door to make sure we’d taken shelter. He was flabbergasted to see the party still in full force (“There’s a tornado coming!!!”) and the birthday kid’s mom was all, “Ooh, is that what the sirens are for?” Now would be a good time to mention that this all took place in KANSAS. He yelled at her to get us kids into the under-stairs shelter, but when she opened the door she really outed herself as an idiot. The entire thing was full of boxes and crafts. We all piled into that guy’s van instead and he drove us to City Hall where we played musical chairs in some dank basement filled with homeless people. (The tornado completely missed us. Maybe it never even touched down. I can’t remember everything, I was only six.)
How Family Home Evening at our house, the few times my parents ever attempted, always ended up in tears, screaming, and near scripture throwing.
That time my sisters and I were discussing our cousin, who we'd heard was sick, and I suggested, “Maybe he’s having his period.” IN MY DEFENSE, I was like seven, and my mom didn’t tell me about periods until I was like, married. I learned lots of incomplete information from slumber parties.
How we never said “Bless you” when others sneezed (still don’t). As a kid, I assumed it was against our religion. One of my dad’s Army friends came over for dinner when I was about 8 and blessed me when I sneezed. I froze in sheer terror, thinking he’d just done something evil in our home. My dad had to coax me to say, "Thank you,” and I gave that guy the side-eye the rest of the night.
How, when we were living in Alaska, Annie and I behaved like over-tired zombies during the summer despite the fact that my mom was putting us to bed at a reasonable hour. One night she poked her head into the room in the wee hours of the morning and discovered we had pulled back the dark-out curtains and were reading by the light of the sun.
How my sisters used to play mercilessly into my intense fear of bees by routinely screaming, “There’s a bee on you!! It’s crawling into your hair!!! THE BEE IS LAYING EGGS IN YOUR HAIR!!!!!!!!!!! Egg-head, Egg-head!!!!!!!” The ONE TIME I didn’t reward them with the typical, immediate panicked flailing and yelping was the only time that there ACTUALLY was a behemoth bumble bee clinging to the front of my shirt. The panicked reaction times a thousand followed when I finally gave in and glanced down.
How, happily, the Jessie-Bee-Teasing Era ended abruptly when Corinne came tearing out of the house in her nightgown one morning, shrieking that there was a bee in her hair. She must have been partially dreaming. Annie and I searched her permed, unruly tresses and after a few minutes of dutiful probing discovered a long-forgotten bobby pin amongst the mats. No one ever called me Egg-head again.
That time our puppy, Cricket, wandered into the laundry room alone then came out wearing a training bra.
How Annie's third bird quickly learned how to piercingly shriek, "BE QUIET!!"and my personal favorite of its repertoire, "CORINNE!!!!!!!!"
That time my parents had an uncontrollable laughing fit during Sacrament meeting. The speaker was reading “The Night Before Jesus Came,” a terribly written spin off the Christmas poem. When she got to the part about flying to the window, tearing open the shutters, and throwing up the sash, my dad leaned over to my mom and whispered, “That's why I don't eat sash anymore.” I’ve never seen my parents lose control like that before, AND IN CHURCH!! My crying mother hunched over and started furiously reading her scriptures to vainly try to counteract it. The speaker even paused and looked at them bewilderedly.
That time I accidentally hit a stranger with a rock on a beach, went like this :0, then scampered away. I’m not very good at skipping rocks.
That time my mom killed a spider without realizing it was carrying its two million babies on its back. I’ve never heard more bloodcurdling screams from a family member (aside from maybe the hamster haircut incident…and also the next paragraph).
That time I was home alone at night, the phone rang, I answered to two people screaming as though they were being brutally murdered, then the line went dead. Turns out Corinne had called me while on the road with her friend two seconds before they annihilated a raccoon.
How the guy that built our barn in Nevada was this 80-something year old man named Brownie. My mom made him rice krispy treats once, and Annie tried to attack them after school.
Mom: [shooing her away] “No, those are Brownie’s.”
Annie: [confused, suspicious] “………………….No they’re not………………they’re rice krispies.”
That time Corinne pegged our mentally disabled cat right between the eyes with a conversation heart and it didn't even blink.
That time the aforementioned mentally disabled cat pounced on Annie with intent to maim and I caught it in mid-air.
How my dad considers himself to be on a nickname basis with the prophet. My grandma’s brother died a few years ago, and my dad sat next to Thomas S. Monson (pre-prophethood) during the after-funeral luncheon. He has called him Tommy Monson ever since.