Friday, June 12, 2009

Shaddy and Our Gang

The following short, short story is a piece of creative non-fiction based on an actual day in my life at least fifty years ago. I've embellished it out of necessity; too much time separates me from the exact details of that particular afternoon.


My two younger brothers, Carl and John, and I are watching Spanky and Our Gang on television after school. In this particular episode, Alfalfa, one of the main characters in the show, opens his piece of bubble gum and reads these words inside the wrapper: Every fourth child born is Chinese. The remainder of the half-hour follows Alfalfa and the rest of the gang as they proceed to the Chinese laundry downtown to observe a Chinese family first hand.

My attention shifts immediately from Alfalfa to on my brothers, sitting on the floor in front of the TV. My eyes come to rest on Carl, the fourth child born into our family. Poor Carl. He’s so easy to pick on because he's so sweet; without hesitation, I pounce because sweet, I'm not.

“Well, Carlie. Did you hear that? You know what that means, don’t you? Tom, Bob and I, we're one, two and three; you're next at number four. No doubt, you're Chinese! How about that! You can start up your own Chinese laundry when you’re all grown up. Meanwhile, here are a few shirts for you to clean and press. It'll be good practice. Hop to it, would ya? Please? Pretty please with fortune cookies on it?

Carl goes into the kitchen. “Mom, Shaddy says I’m Chinese. Am I?”

“Shaddy, what nonsense are you feeding him this time? Stop it before I come in there,” Mom calls out to me from the sink where she's peeling potatoes for supper.

Carl comes back in the living room looking content with Mom's reassurance that I'm talking nonsense.

“Mom doesn’t want you to know the truth,” I whisper to him. “You heard what they said on TV. They don’t lie on TV,especially on a show like Spanky and Our Gang! It's a kid's show. Really now!

Carl looks a bit puzzled, but not really upset. Darn! I don’t think he cares one way or the other if he’s Chinese or not as long as he’s fed when he’s hungry and has a bed to crawl in when he’s tired. That wasn’t much fun, I think to myself. Hmmm. Where’d John go? Maybe I can convince him every fifth child born is a raving lunatic.

“Hey, John. Where’d ya go?”

(As I look back on that afternoon and many other days as I was growing up, I wish I had it all to do over again. I wouldn't be so mean. Fortunately, neither Carl or John harbor any resentment for the stunts I pulled as their older sister, at least they don't appear to. Hmmm, maybe they're waiting for just the right moment to show me otherwise).


Sarah said...

LOL!!! Poor Carl. Did he ever get even with you? Ahem, did any of your brothers ever get even with you? This is cute Shaddy. There's nothing like having a little brother to tease right?

Thanks for posting this!

Hope your weekend is swell... :)

Lia said...

Very funny, it reminds me of the time my children were small and I heard my 3yr old daughter saying her alphabet backwards, it took me a while to realise that she was saying it backwards, as I am dyslexic.

When I asked her how she had learnt to do that, she innocently replied "Ashley tolded me mummy"
Ashley is her older brother by 3yrs.

Took her an age to learn it the right way,Ashley "tolded" her that as well....seemed only fair.

Brothers!!! I had 12 of them, well I still have them and they still tease me.

Anonymous said...

Very cute! I'm surprised I don't have have the planet resentful against me for the stunts I pulled. Maybe they are and I just don't know it. My aunt had my uncle believing he was adopted for a good while.

~ Courtney Vail

Linda Yezak said...

I'm so jealous of your large family. It was just my brother and me in our home, and getting him in trouble all the time lost its glow after awhile . . . esp. since he was older and better at getting me in trouble!

Annie said...

My sister and I were also pranked by my brother as kids. Then, I did not find it funny at all! However, after living with two sons, I totally get it and now laugh about the many things my brother did. I never did get him back though! Today, I pull pranks on my kids. My favorite, hiding behind the door, and screaming just as they enter the house. My oldest also reacts with terror. My youngest...will still working on him, he just calmly walks in and says, I know you were waiting. Although, he has pulled some good ones on me since he was little!!! Thank goodness, the humor and laughter continues!!!