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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tales From The Crypt

Coming from a family of 9 children there was never a dull moment in our house.  One of us was always coming up something to do which usually got us into trouble.  I was the oldest girl  (there was only 3 of us) and the second child in the line of 9 with only one sibling older, a brother.  My place in the line brought with it the title of "mother's little helper" and believe me my mom needed all the help she could get.  I helped her take care of my younger brothers and sisters.

Me and my brother, Keith at two and three years old respectively
My older brother had such charisma and finesse that he could pretty much talk me into anything.  He could turn a no into a yes with the snap of his finger and you really never knew what hit you.  When he smiled he won the hearts of everyone including me.  He was an instigator and I was his follower (and so were many others who could not resist his charm).  Here is just one of the "tales from my crypt" I thought I would share with you.

We lived in the country about 7 miles from town.  I suppose my dad thought he could keep a better handle on us and keep us out of trouble if we were in the middle of no where with no way out!  HA  We didn't have much in the way of toys just what we came up with in our imagination and when you don't have a lot of toys you'd be surprised at what you can come up with using sticks, cane poles, string, and determination.

Pretty much the way our creek looked
Image via Pinterest ~ Originally pinned by Dirk Soergel

In the winter months when the weather turned really, really cold we would go down to the creek located behind our house which would freeze over.  We didn't have skates, too expensive so we skated with our shoes on (the only pair we had).  I had just gotten a new pair of the cutest little shoes.  They laced up like a saddle oxford but instead of leather they were a brushed velveteen fabric with different colored patches along the laces in different colors.  I was so proud of them!

Well, my brother wanted to go skating on the creek but didn't know if the ice would hold us.  So, he said to me "you go first and test the ice because you are the heaviest".  Well, I was chubby at the time but I had my new pair of shoes on and was afraid I would ruin them.  He kept coaching me to "just do it, you'll be fine, I'm sure the ice will hold you."  Because I was a girl and wanted to prove that I wasn't afraid and that I was just as tough as he and his friends were I took the first step onto the ice, then another and yet another.

By this time, I was feeling pretty good about myself showing them that I wasn't afraid and that the ice was okay. I had gotten to the middle of the creek when all of the sudden the ice gave way beneath me and I went sinking into the bottom of the muddy creek calf high.  He stood on the bank laughing, bent over with his hands above his knees.  I knew I was in trouble because I fell again for one of his  jokes.  I also knew I was in trouble with mom because as I walked out of the water my new shoes were soaked with water and mud and the lovely velveteen looked like that of an animal with matted hair.  I ran all the way home and instead of telling my mom, I went to the basement, removed my shoes and hid them under the staircase. I worried all the rest of the day about them but had to wait for them to dry out before I could brush them hoping they would look the same way.  The next morning I went downstairs with a brush from our shoe box and tried to brush the velveteen but it was still too wet and the inside of the shoes were still full of squishing water.  I didn't put them on but took them into the living room hid them behind a chair and waited until it was time to catch the bus before I slipped them on.  I wore them to school soaking wet, hoping that by evening time they would be dry and I could sneak back into the basement to brush them up.

Not the same style but the same muddy mess
Image via
With all the activity going on in the house with the other kids mom didn't have much time to notice that anything was wrong.  I continued to be worried and when the bus dropped us off, I ran straight into the basement removed my shoes and wet socks.  By this time, the shoes were dry but had a dry ring of mud around them where the mud had settled.  I brushed and brushed but couldn't remove the mud ring.  They looked better but not at all like they should have.  So, I gave up and wore them hoping mom wouldn't notice.  This was one of those few times when she did.  Because I was never good at lying, (the words "I'm lying" forever etched across my forehead) I told her the truth. She was very disappointed with me (the worst kind of punishment was to hear your parents tell you they were disappointed in you) and said I was too rough on my shoes and I was going to have to wear them just the way they were. And wear them I did! I got off light that time because she didn't tell my dad.  He would have really gotten mad because I was very hard on my shoes and clothes. I was a tomboy and always falling down, ripping a hole in the knees of my pants, and wearing out my shoes long before my sisters did.

You ask, what did my brother do when he saw me crying about my shoes and running home?  He did what he always did...laughed.

Do you have a story to tell from your "tales from the crypt".   Do tell!


  1. A great story Kris and I love the photo of you and your brother. I did something similar once with a pair of red shoes. I was desperate to wear them to school, so I sneaked them out. I badly scuffed them you can guess the rest.

  2. Dear Kris,
    your story is really wonderful! I love it.
    ...I can imagine how you as a little child were feeling having those trouble. Considering how old you were, all of your efforts to restore your shoes back to the original beauty was really exemplary.
    My mum have told me that I was an inquisitive, bright child who always very curious to try something new which led having trouble from time to time. So it was not so easy for my mum to keep an eye on me. ;)) But now I have become a good girl and behave myself, I think.... *LOL*
    The picture of you and your brother is so wonderful. You both looks really cute.
    Have a nice day, dear Kris.
    Warm regards,

  3. What a great story-it reminds me of reading Little House on the Prairie.

  4. Kris,
    That was such a wonderful story! I enjoyed it very much. I can just see you falling in the creek and your brother sitting there laughing at you. You sound like me when I was young. While some girls helped their mom bake goodies in the kitchen, I was outside running around, building dirt forts with the neighbor kids. What a great memory this is for you. I have been writing short stories about my childhood and growing up, so my kids can read them to their kids, and so forth. You really should do the same. You write well, and with 9 kids in the family, I'm sure you have a lot of funny and sweet stories to tell. Thanks for sharing your childhood tale with us. Love the picture of you and your brother.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  5. Dearest Kris,

    Just found your comment at High Heeled Life & the Country and I love to follow you. We got several things in common, our age I guess as 60-plusser and being from a large family. I was the second born, my oldest sister got still born... I have longed all my life for an elder sister. My next sibling is a sister and the youngest one is; that makes 7 of us alive. This muddy story brought back memories for me when I was maybe 9 years old and four of us went visiting an uncle and aunt. Dad's brother who'd just moved into a new subdivision. It was winter and after a hot chocolate and some cookies we had to haste home as in winter time in The Netherlands it gets dark around 4:00PM. Of course we didn't make it in daylight and worse, we wanted to take a short cut and ended up in the mud where no road was yet paved. We got stuck in the mud and as we pulled our feet up the shoes were IN the mud... Needless to say how we arrived home and I always had the responsibility as they expected me to be the wisest, being the eldest. Oh, yes and I was Mom's second hand too!
    Love to you,

  6. Kris...You are the perfect story teller...I love to hear your tales...Sister and I did not always get along as well as we do today. She was 3 years older and could be a bit mean to I remember. HA! One day she was on the top of the swing set and I shook it until she fell off. Luckily nothing but her feelings were hurt. Believe it or not...I didn't even get in trouble because my parents were happy that I finally stood up for myself. She just hates it when I tell this story...

  7. the picture is so beautiful ! I simply love it
    also fun to get to know you better, great story

  8. the picture of you and your brother is so cute and your story really heart-warming! I am an only child and I wish I had some of those stories:-))u are very lucky to have grown up in such a big family...

  9. I read your story and it was really interesting for me and I liked it so much. You and your brother are looking so nice while being children.

  10. Kris, you are a wonderful storyteller as lead us onto the ice with you, your descriptions of your charming brother, and your guilt in ruining your new shoes... Please keep these coming. As the oldest of 6 girls (no boys) I know that the stories will never run out!


  11. Hello Kris! God it's been a while hasn't it?
    Your story is actually heartbreaking. Oh! the fear a child can feel is such an overwhelming feeling...

    I have to tell you, the way you treated your clothes and shoes sounds very much the same as my son does ; D


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