daughtersofnormabates











{September 3, 2012}   Styles by Slatz

When I was in the second grade, I missed a lot of school. I was sick with measles, mumps, flu and chicken pox. When I was sick, Mother left me at home while she went shopping. She would seat me in the den with a food tray and a telephone so I could call Daddy if something bad happened. Daddy would call me from his office to make sure I was okay. I watched TV and drank Coca Cola’s in the den when I was sick. On TV, I saw reruns of The Loretta Young Show.  I loved her swishy dresses and stories about being a fashion model.  A movie that came on was Sunset Boulevard,  a scary movie about an old lady who used to be a famous movie actress. She was in love with this man who didn’t love her. She tried to make him stay in her big old house.  But he didn’t want to stay. He tried to get away, but she shot him. He fell into her pool. News cameras came but she thought they came because she used to be famous. One day The Old Man and the Sea came on. I thought it was Moby Dick. The old man fought with a fish in the ocean for a long time. The fish was so big that it pulled him in the boat. He kept holding onto the rope even after it burned his hands. He finally caught the fish because he didn’t give up.

Once I got well, I was left in charge of my brother and sister while Mother went places. Mother said I had to act my age. My brother was four. My sister stayed in her crib the whole time. I wasn’t allowed to pick her up. I could give her a bottle of milk from the refrigerator, because she could hold it herself. Mother went to Styles by Slatz to get her hair fixed. I liked her hair better before they fixed it. Her hair looked good when it was loose. When she came home from Styles by Slatz, her hair was glued up in a bun.  She had to be careful with her bun. If it got messed up, she had to wait a whole week before it got fixed again. She wrapped her bun in toilet paper before she napped.

One day while Mother was at Styles by Slatz, I played peek-a-boo with my sister. She stood up, holding the rail of her crib.  I opened the door to the bedroom and stuck my head in. She giggled and stomped. Then, pulled my head back and shut the door. She giggled and stomped again. The game went on for awhile. I tried to make her tired so she would sleep. Since I couldn’t pick her up, I had to keep her laughing until she was tired. I pulled my head back again and shut the door. Then, the door wouldn’t open. I jiggled the handle. The door still wouldn’t open. I pounded on the door. Still locked. My sister was waiting. I jiggled the handle again. I tried to push the door open with all my weight. The door wouldn’t open. My sister didn’t know why I didn’t come back. She started crying. Then she cried louder. My sister was locked in the room!

I paced in the hallway. I didn’t know how to get the door open. My sister was screaming. My brother stopped watching TV and came to see what was wrong. I panicked. How could I get the door open? I ran into the door with all my weight to shove it open like they did on TV. But the door didn’t bust down. If Mother came home and saw the door locked, she would whip me. I had to think of something.

I walked next door to Paula and Anna’s house. They were my friends. Maybe they could help me get the door open. They were eating lunch. While we walked to my house, I explained what happened. I told them I had to get the door open. My sister was in there. If Mother came home and saw the door locked, I would get a whipping. We heard my sister screaming before we opened the front door. Her screams made me more scared. I didn’t want to live. I wanted to die. Mother was going to give me a whipping. I lied down on the green carpet in the living room and put my head under the coffee table. I could still hear the screams I started hitting my head on the leg of the table. I hit my head on the coffee table leg over and over. I wanted to knock myself out. I hoped I could hit myself so hard I wouldn’t be able to hear my sister’s screams. If I hit my head hard enough, I might see stars like in the cartoons. My brother was scared, too. He went back to the den. Paula and Anna left my house to get help.

They came back a few minutes later with Gail, Carmen and Mark. Paula told them that I was in trouble. Now we had a gang so we could bust down that door. But Gail said, “Wait. I think I can pick the lock.” She saw her Dad do that when their door was locked. She said, “Get me a bobby pin.” I went to the bathroom and found one. Gail straightened the bobby pin and stuck it in a hole in the doorknob. She jiggled it. The door didn’t open. I said, “Let me try.” I poked the bobby pin in the hole. I jiggled and pushed. The door was still locked. Now my sister was quiet. What if she cried herself to death? Oh, God! I had to get the door open!

Mark said he was going outside to look at the window. We followed him to the side of the house and looked up at the window. It was too high off the ground to climb in. The window could be locked. Mark said we should try to get in through the window. He said, we could stack stuff under the window and climb up.

I went inside and  got a stool. We put it under the window. It wasn’t high enough. So, I went back inside and got a chair. Everybody stood back while I put the chair under the window and put the stool on top. Still not high enough. I went back inside and got a phonebook. I put the phonebook on top of the stool. Now, it looked high enough. Everybody circled around while I got on top of the chair, then the stool, then the phonebook. Gail said they would catch me if I fell. I wobbled, but I could reach the window. I pushed the window up. It wasn’t locked! Even though the window was open I still couldn’t climb through. Mark said to hold on to the sill and they would push me through the window. That’s what they did. Paula, Anna, Gail, Carmen and Mark pushed me through the window. I fell in, hitting the floor hard. I was in! I checked on my sister. She was asleep.

I unlocked the door and walked back outside. The gang was waiting for me. We did it! Now, I didn’t have to kill myself. I wouldn’t get a whipping. Mother would never find out what happened while she was at Styles by Slatz. And I knew the way to get a locked door open was to ask for help from my friends.

 

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