How I Deal with Life.....

How I Deal with Life.....

Saturday, December 19, 2015

He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother.

It is almost Christmas and maybe I should be writing some heartrending tale of giving and the power of seasonal love, but I want to write about my first memory, so that is what I am going to do. You want Christmas sentiments go buy a Hallmark card.

My first memory is of a Japanese babysitter trying to boil my brother alive like a lobster. Or maybe a shrimp. He was pretty small back then. I bravely and heroically threw myself at the babysitter and told her to put me in the boiling water instead of her lowering him into it. I say, bravely and heroically, but I knew if the babysitter boiled my brother alive I’d somehow catch the blame for it and I’d never ever hear the end of it for the rest of my life. Every family reunion, every Thanksgiving, every Fourth of July barbecue someone would say, “Hey, what about the time Teri let her brother be boiled alive?”  I knew, even in my five-year-old little heart, that I couldn’t bear sixty years of that story being repeated and repeated and repeated ad nauseam.  Screw that. I’d rather be boiled alive.

            Fortunately Mom and Dad walked into the house just about the time the babysitter stuck my foot and leg into the water and I let out a blood curdling scream that sent my dad running into the bathroom to jerk me away from the babysitter. He yelled at her, but since she could speak no English she just stood there and smiled and nodded her head while he railed into her. Mom and Dad had never used the babysitter locater service offered on Misawa Air Base again. Turns out that Japanese babysitters in 1965 didn’t know much about the hot water tap and didn’t know that they should be checking the temperature of the water before lowering a one-year child into it. You are welcome, brother. But instead of thanking me, about two months later he repaid me by pulling the string completely out of  the back of my Chatty Cathy doll and she never talked again.  My brother still owes me fucking big time. And I do mean big time.

            When we left Japan to come back to the states we almost left my brother behind because he refused to get on the plane. He kept pointing at the plane sitting on the tarmac, shaking his head no, and saying “Big bird, big bird (he predicted Sesame Street’s Big Bird long before Jim Henson came up with the idea- I think he should be getting some royalties or something).  I say we almost left him in Japan, but I know Mom and Dad wouldn’t have done that. If he hadn’t calmed down they would have just tranquilized the shit out of him and carried his comatose tiny body onto the plane. It didn’t come to that, although I think it would have made a great story for every family reunion, every Thanksgiving, and every Fourth of July barbecue. I made up for what my brother did to my Chatty Cathy by terrorizing him for years with this: “We got you in Japan, Someone just left you on our doorstep and one day your real mommy and daddy are going to come back and take you away and you won’t even be able to talk to them because they will speak Japanese and you can only speak English”. Hey, a sister has to what a sister has to do. I am still pissed about Chatty Cathy. I may need therapy for that. You think?  Oh, wait, I AM already in therapy. I’ll just have to make sure to bring it up at my next appointment. I mean, after all, what am I paying him for?

            My brother has no recollection of the day he was almost boiled alive, and his first experience with planes didn’t seem to scar him much. After all, he grew up to work in the airline industry. Go figure. I know he makes good money but not once has he offered to buy me another Chatty Cathy doll. Told you I needed therapy for that shit.

(below: base housing Misawa, Japan 1965)

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