Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I'm going back a generation on this one, but it's such a funny story, that it deserves to be shared.

One night when our dad was about 12ish, his parents left him and his siblings home alone while they went out to a church meeting. While they were gone there was a cloud burst. It poured down for a few minutes. It came up so suddenly and so hard that the birds didn't have time to get to any shelter. He and his brother came out, and there were a mess of birds whose feathers had gotten so wet that they couldn't fly. They could just go up to them and catch them! Catch them they did, about 20 or 30 of them. They brought them into the house and put them under boxes, jars, baskets, whatever, thinking that they could keep them as pets. Well, after about an hour, their feathers dried off and they could fly again. When their parents came home, there were about 20 or 30 birds flying around inside the house. Can you imagine?! Bird poop everywhere! Dad said that Grandma was Furious! Too funny!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Something Lost of Old Found

I posted this on my blog a long time ago, but it was so funny, and being months ago, some of you may have missed it.

We had an elderly woman, who was rather bad tempered, living next door to us when we were kids. Her name was Francis. We lived in constant fear of accidentally throwing a ball or something over the fence, into her yard. She would kill you if she caught you in her yard even for a second! Anyway, as our houses were both next to my grandpa's grocery store, and as she lived there for several decades, she knew the family very well. And having no family of her own, my uncles who worked at the store did lots of things for her and she sort of adopted them, and vis-versa. Anyway, when she died, about a year ago, she left the house to someone in the family. My uncle David was cleaning out the house, and he found this board in the shed. You'll have to click on it to read it. Too funny! I vaguely remember something about John trying to set up a toll booth in the alley behind our houses. The sign mysteriously disappeared, and we were greatly miffed. Well, now the mystery is solved: Francis, probably disgusted with our antics, basely stole our sign.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

John's Mail to Fake People

Yes, John invented a lot of fake people for me to get junk mail for. He must have spent a couple of hours filling out a huge stack of business reply cards with my address and goofy names. This would have been about a year and a half ago. I was pregnant with Justice. Here are some of the names that I can remember:

Jon Potte Outhouse-- I still get mail for him, usually outdoor / camping catalogs
Lydianous -- Still get this one- life insurance
Bruce Nathornious - Yup, still get that one
Bruce Gaylord - Yup
Bruce and Ross Theater of Pain - Parenting magazine- I canceled- I'll put that story below
The Nudist Society of Bethalto - still get that one, usually yoga clothing catalogs
Chubbie - pregnancy / baby stuff - haven't got that one in a while
Tubbie - same as above
Fats - ditto
Gordon B. Hinckley - Yes, John is about to be eaten by she-bears any second.
Something about gay & lesbians, I can't quite remember that one.
Mrs. Rabbity M. Geropostal
Hardy Dumper - L.L. Bean Catalog

That's all I can think of for now. About the Theater of Pain. We got a bill from Parenting Magazine, so I had to call and cancel the subscription. I had to tell the lady on the phone the name on the account!


To do this blog right we have to introduce Brad pretty soon. A year older than me, we often talked about how cool it would be if he got held back a grade in school so that we would be in the same grade. I still dont know for sure if Brad intentionally engineering his failing 3rd grade or not, but fail he did, and we were in the same grade the rest of our lives and we were glad about it. As to if he flunked on purpose, all I can say is I would not put it past him.

Frankly there was not much you could put past Brad.

Both parents seemed to be gone from home at work all the time, so Brad had alot more personal freedom than I did. Alot more access to the telephone, so he made alot more prank calls than I ever got to. I was admiring and jealous. He had money to buy all kinds of electronic gadgets, which we would take apart and put back together in his laborotory. His parent's had a garage, but we always called it the lab instead.

Prank calls was his way of life. (Last time I checked in with him, 5 years or so ago, they still were, actaually). He picked an old lady more or less at random, and made a very regular target of her. (5 or so years ago, she was still a regular on his hit list) Ordering pizza to other peoples houses... limos, cabs, chicken... anything that people would deliver, he ordered, for other people. He was the brains that came up with the idea of filling out business reply mail cards for other people, that resulted in the creation of an imaginary Vincent Sever who my parents get mail for to this day.

I recently saw and raised this gag to marvelous effect, did I not Renae?

He and I lived in perpetual fear of the operator, who could trace calls, and of people who had tracing machines at thier house. To push zero on the phone was an act of extreme moxy that I couldn't really pull off, but Brad occasionally pranked even the operator. We had susperstitions about how you could tell if your victim had a "tracer"... you had to listen for a humming in the background. This lead to us building a huge data base of the phone numbers for various pay telephones in the area. Because we knew they were completely safe to call-no tracers. We used to jot down numbers of payphones when we were out and call each other to share them as soon as we got home. We had over 100 numbers.

He and I invented "tieing up the block" which meant we would get a spool of thread and wrap it (or try to) around the block on which we lived. We tried one end to the back of our bikes, and lodged the spool end some where so it would pay out as we went.

I could go on. more later...

John Digs a Hole in the Roof

This one cracked me up so bad! (But Diana, our neighbor, remarked to me that she thought John was a lunatic.)

John was about 17ish, and Dad was having a new roof put on the house. John grabbed a snow sled and dragged it up onto the roof. He filled it with old shingled and placed it just out of sight, on the back side of the roofs peak. He got a shovel, and proceeded to throw shovels full of shingles into the air yelling "I'm digging a hole in the roof!" like an utter maniac! It was very funny!


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Another clever act of violence in the basement

The basement of old house on fifth street where we grew up also had a few other features that lent themselves to neferious activity.

Understand first that this is an old and mostly unfinished basement with a truly eclectic assortment of sizes and shapes of stair steps on the way down. The floor was bare concrete, as were the stairs. At the foot of the stairs a metal water pipe crossed the ceiling in such a way that you could leap out from the second or third stair, reach out and catch hold of this pipe, and swing into the basement instead of merely walking into it- if you were in that sort of mood.

Renae and I had bedrooms in the finished section of the basement, but you had to go through the unfinished section to get to them.

I was roughly 10 or so and was spending my time in my room, laying out plans for world domination, or reading about dinosaurs, or playing with my homemade action figures, or one of my other normal pasttimes. Renae had a friend over, and they kept going up and down stairs, making lots of noise, I think deliberately to annoy me. Renae showed her friend- Kat was her name, I think- about the swinging pipe, and so everytime they came running downstairs making annoying girl racket- (and it wasn't just that it was girl racket that bugged me either I don't think- seems like Renae was showing off for her friend and that bugged me too- actaully looking back I can't remeber what it was that got to me so much- maybe it was just that they were ignoring me and I came up with this evil plan as an attention seeking gimic...WHATEVER! )

The point is, it occurred to me that a good thing to put on that pipe while they were inbetween comings and goings, would be Crisco. So I waited until they were out of the house, went up to the kitchen and got some. Applied it generously to the pipe. Went back to my lair and waited for the ineveitable. Evilly.

Kat was the one that got it. Running down the stairs, soaring out into the air, gripping at the pipe, but failing to keep a grip... falling hard and flat on her back, and banging her skull on the unforgiving, unfinished, concrete basement floor...

If I had come up behind her and hit her that hard with a rock I'd have been in big trouble, naturally. But I do not remember ever getting into trouble for it. I am not sure if I ever felt any remorse about it for that matter. And now I have a funny story to tell as an adult. hmmm... is there a moral in this? I do not know, but there it is.

Ps: I do feel somewhat bad- Sorry Kat, where ever you are!

John Nearly Blinds Renae

There was a hole in the kitchen floor, in the house where we spent our childhood. It was over by the stove, about the size of a quarter, where a pipe had previously been. We used to throw things down this hole, and look at each other through it. I'd try to spy on John through it. (This didn't work very well, because the hole was right next to the wall. So, unless John was standing in that very corner of the basement, I couldn't see him.)

One day John and I had a fight, and he was really mad at me, for some reason. He went into the basement and called up:

"Renae, come and look down the hole."

I did, and he hit me in the eye with a broom handle. No provable permanent damage, so I'll forgive him.