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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« obituary: snail | Main | childhood confessions »

childhood confessions revisited

Allison and Jodi came over for dinner last night. I went temporarily insane
and actually decided to cook something from scratch...I made lamb stew,
which turned out okay (much to the surprise of all of us :-)). There's something
very therapeutic about cooking, I find, especially if you don't have to
cook. I tend to prefer recipes which basically take care of
favourites are the type where you chop up a bunch of stuff, dump it in the
pot, and leave it to simmer for hours (or bake in the oven for hours).
Any dish that needs frequent attention from the cook will inevitably
suffer at my hands.

Allison and Jodi brought Nanaimo bars and Ben & Jerry's New York Chocolate
Fudget icecream for dessert, yum. We watched City of Angels on DVD and stuffed
tapes (cutting, folding, and stuffing tape covers into cases of our
Castles and Skyscrapers tape, our first album...we had been starting
to run out).

Worked at home this morning, then worked some more on my laptop in a Chapters
a few blocks from here for a couple of hours this afternoon, nursing
a short nonfat Lactaid Tazo chai tea (say that ten times fast) in the Starbucks
Cafe. My friend Allison George got me hooked on this beverage.

I also bought:
The Girls' Guide To Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank, The Great
Gilly Hopkins
by Katherine Paterson (I've misplaced my old copy and I
*love* this children's book), The River by Gary Paulsen (sequel to
The Hatchet). I've just finished Holes by Louis Sachar, a recent
Newbery winner...great story!

As I was heading into Chapters, I noticed a crowd of young girls outside of MuchMusic down
the street, screaming. Turns out the Hanson (sp?) brothers had just arrived at the
studio. Wow, did I feel old. :-) They seem to have gotten a lot taller (the two younger
ones, anyway) than how they appear in their "Doo-wop" video (or whatever that song's
called; stop laughing at me, Allison!).

Today's Blatherpic from my dad, who is in Japan until next week doing volunteer work in a school. He's been sending regular
reports by e-mail to Ruth and me, as well as photos taken on his digital camera.
Pretty cool way to keep in touch, and seeing the photos (I told him to take lots
of pictures of FOOD, of course) helps gives me an idea of what he's experiencing.
I hope to go to Japan someday. Anyway, I'll be posting some of the pics he's
been sending me over the next few days.


Here are a few responses to my question, "What were some of the horrible things you used to do as a child?"

From Lloyd: "Why, Debbie, what nasty little tricks you pulled as a child...behind that angelic smile...Here's something my sister and I did. Every winter (and in
Saskatoon, winter was winter!) my parents (of blessed memory) used to go to Palm Springs, California for an extended period of time. The first year
they did this (my brother was already grown up and out of the house), they got our next door neighbour to come in and make breakfast and kind of look
after my sister and I. Turns out my Dad was a bit of an innovator for the early 60s, having installed a buzzer system in our house, one upstairs, one on
the main floor, one in the basement rec room and one outside on the patio (for the two days of summer we had). It was a rudimentary but effective
intercom system. My poor mother, who was only 4 feet 11, had a buzz code of "two short". How appropriate. Our neighbour, Mrs. Flood, was a
well-meaning but rather annoying person who would cheerfully repeat the radio's dire weather forecast of 30 degrees below zero with a 40 mile an hour
wind for a windchill of -60. Wasn't kidding about winter. One morning she came over and I accidentally leaned against the buzzer on the main floor. She
said "what's that buzzing?" My sister Patty and I instantly realized she didn't know about the system, so we said, "What buzzing? We don't hear anything".
And so, for the entire winter, every now and then we'd hit the buzzer, and she would mutter to herself, "There's that buzzing noise again. I know I hear
buzzing in here." She never caught on-- and thankfully, forgot to mention this to my parents when they came home. That's just the tip of a very deep
iceberg. Don't get me started on stories, but that's one I wanted to share."

From Ju: "My teddy bears have strongly advised me to make a formal complaint. Stringing up teddy bears is not nice. They don't like it. They are quite irritated
that this is done in Canada. A number of them are rethinking their emigration plans. I have been trying to think of some pranks I played as a child. I
couldn't think of any. I must have been a boringly good child. How very embarrassing. I did not start to misbehave until late puberty. Mind you, then..."

From Andrea: "Pranks that I can recall include squeezing toothpaste down the laundry shoot and . . . I think I was about four years old when I brought my mother a
gorgeous boquet of flowers (with the roots still attached). Mom graciously thanked me (hiding her confusion) and suddenly realized to her horror that
they greatly resembled the cherished blooms of the botany professor down the street. When he appeared at her doorstep, asking if she noticed anyone
picking his flowers, she sympathized and denied all knowledge. (Of course, that doesn't Mom and I didn't have a little talk about what flowers NOT to pick
*wry grin*)"

From Paul Kwinn:
"Hey, Ju, I thought I was going to be completely boring, too. Then I remembered one thing that I did do. I was the eldest of 5 children, so I was generally
expected to kind of be in charge when my parents weren't around. One way that I enforced the "no TV in the afternoon" rule (a few times) was to unplug
the TV in my parents' room, take a short piece of very narrow guage wire, and attach it between the prongs of the plug (up against the plastic). Then, if
they plugged it in, there'd be a loud snap as the tiny bit of wire exploded. (Ah, the innocence of youth...) Once, I remember using two of the tiny wires.
Then a while later I heard a "Snap!", and went running upstairs. My brother Jamie was there, and said, "There were two wires, but I was afraid that
might be too dangerous, so I took one off." :{)} So much for elder brother thinking he's so smart.

And hey, who never did the spray can blowtorch
routine (re-enacted in Arachniphobia)? Definitely didn't do that _to_ anybody, though."

From Dave Weingart: "I was, of course, the perfect angelic child. Never ONCE did I do anything like hiding my mom's platinum-and-diamond engagement ring in the sugar bowl
at the age of 6 or climb over fences to swim in people's pools when I was in high school or gather all the gunpowder I could from the firecrackers I'd
purchased illegally and put it into the little glass bottles that model paint comes in and make small bombs that I would use to blow holes in peoples lawns,
nosirree, not me."

From Beckett: "I can remember discovering tape (I was about 4, I think), and that it could stick to almost anything, especially if you used enough of it. In the process of
conducting experiments I decided that putting a lot of tape on our old cat would be the best test of how well tape could stick, with all that fur. She put
up with me very well until I tried to pull off some of the tape (she very nearly was wearing a tape suit by then) at which point she yowled, scratched me,
and hobbled away in a huff. She was later discovered by my dad, who had the unenviable task of removing the tape suit. He stood my older sister and I
up in front of him some time later and asked who had done the cruel deed. For some reason he didn't believe the story that Sheba (the cat) had done it
herself because she wanted to dress up. And my sister, surprisingly, never ratted on me. So since my dad couldn't know for sure which of us had done it
he punished us both though I can't recall now what he did to us. But I do still feel shame and great remorse for torturing our poor kitty. She really was
very patient about the whole thing..."

From Annie: "As a youngest (by seven years) of three, and the other two being brawny great chaps. I had to resort to doing evil things to get my own back. I used to
spring tricks on myself and then blame my brothers when my parents were looking... I also once filled my brother's blade razor with hard soap. It cut his
face to *ribbons*. What an unpleasant child I was :-)"

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