Wedding Day. My older brother Dick with his bride Joan.
My sister Karen, who once thanked me for shining the media spotlight on her, the one who had a handsome police escort to and from school every day, now turned against me because Mom and Dad had to leave Chicago and seek privacy in Arizona. For meals, in place of the usual juicy meat, clouds of mashed potatoes, and pea mounds, followed by some kindof a yummy dessert that involved chocolate, we now sat over mystery food drenched in a layer of wheat germ. Our sister-in-law, Joan, was a health nut way before it was fasionable. Added to this horror, the candy basket Mom kept in a cupboard near the fridge was suddenly empty. We had our suspicions no matter many times Joan shrugged her shoulders saying she had no idea what we were talking about.
The first rule breaking took place 'day one' after the initial wheat germ incident. Karen wanted to exact revenge on me and my big mouth. She ordered me to do something forbidden by both Mom and Joan. Karen was five years older than me and towered above my head. What choice did I have? In the basement laundry room, right above the wash machine, there was a small door that opened up to the crawl space under the porch. It was filled with dirt; a really cool hiding place. But we didn’t hide. Karen had me sit in the door opening and said, "Don’t move, I will be right back." In a moment Joan was there. Karen beamed during my spanking.
At night I was sent up the steps to do my own bathing, dressing for bed and praying. All clean and jammied up, I started my run from the hall and then took a leap into bed, hoping to dodge the boogie man's spindly fingers from under my bed. Having safely made it, my heart still raced. I pulled the sheet and blankets up over my head. However, sleep only brought nightmares about witches coming in through the backdoor of the house. They all looked exactly like the Wicked Witch of the West. Of course, it didn’t help Mom made me watch Wizard of Oz right the night she packed to leave.
Finally the month was over, and it was time for Mom and Dad's return. They came home all sun-tanned and smiling, with suitcases filled with presents for us. Just putting my arms around Mom and smelling her sweetness was present enough for me. And again she heard my nighttime prayers, chased away the boogie man from under the bed, and made meals free of wheat germ. Even the basket in the cupboard next to the fridge was once again filled with candy bars. My world was back to being normal. Well, almost, there was still the matter across the street that needed to be cleared up. That one about Monica, my very best friend in all the world. She still wasn’t talking to me. Rightly so because the family thought I made this whole story up about what happened that night when Dad paid a kidnapping ransom.
I cried mournful tears, wanting to hear Monica's voice on the other side of my phone line. I couldn't wait to hide in the nightclub's Catacombs and listen to people scream when Monica and I touched their arms in the darkness. Mom was moved. She said she would set things right with Monica's mom but first she had a confession to make to me. After hearing what she had to say, I wasn’t so sure that the story Dad told Mom the night I overheard them wasn’t the preferable one to the real truth. That one was so terrible that I never would have told anyone. And if The Chicago Tribune or the police found this truth out, there would be real trouble for us all.
PART VI next week. In the meantime please check out my newest release, PASSAGES, now a Kindle book on Amazon (see the link). Or, if you don't have one but don't mind reading the eBook on a computer, follow the other link in the left hand column on this page to purchase it from me. Just be patient if it takes a few hours until I send it. Thank you so much. You are the reason I keep writing. Well, that and because I love to do it.