I don’t like thinking about the past very much. For one thing, I did some very ditzy things when I was younger. My father tried to “run a tight ship” as he put it, but, I managed to get into mischief of one kind or another, and often, unlike my perfect sister Michelle who obeyed my parents most of the time. Her only lapses occurred when I was saddled with “looking after your sister.”
Fiesti and me on the whirligig dad made from a tree sump and a big board.
When Michelle got into trouble, my parents blamed me…always. Like the time she fell in the creek on the way to school. When she got back to the house with blood streaming down her leg, Mom immediately assumed it was my fault. I told her Michelle fell because she was a clod at hopping across the stream on the rocks that allowed the more nimble kid to cross. After that escapade, we had to take the long way to school, the full three-mile walk, no matter what the weather. No more cutting across the golf course, through the woods, behind the factories, or through the field with the raging bull, Mom said.
My parents always knew their perfect child did not dream up trouble. I was the older sister. I was supposed to set an example for Michelle and my younger brother.
After I became a teen I continued to do stupid things. I remembered one of them this morning when our pool was freezing cold. BJ said the cold went right into her replacement joints and I thought I cold feel it in my new hip too. Carol said “It’s like we’ve joined the Polar Bear club or something.” Turning toward me, she said, “Have you ever done that…taken a polar bear plunge?” Oh sure I lied, having been in cold water at age 15, but never for charity.
One winter evening, I was on a double date with my friends Helen and Roger, and some guy they brought along for me. Roger drove his car out to the City Lake, mainly for the purpose of drinking beer and ‘necking’ with Helen. The area was deserted and the police did not patrol there, so it was quiet. I got bored sitting in the back seat with a guy I didn’t know and whose name I can’t remember, and began to complain about “just sitting around.” Roger said, “Why don’t you go jump in the lake.” So I did. What a shock. It was the coldest cold I ever experienced. After they fished me out (both boys felt they had to jump in for some reason), Roger drove us to the Milky Way drive-in, where I began to shake and vomit. I learned later I was suffering from hypothermia. My parents never found out. I never told them, and I never went anywhere again with Helen and Roger. And I still hate cold water.