Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stories That They Tell

The stories I’m talking about aren’t the ones we Banditas slave over, trying to decide if “blue” or “cerulean” is the best adjective to describe a heroine’s eyes. The ones where we stare at the computer screen and think “Come on, story, I know you’re there.” The ones that we hope you will one buy from the bookstore.

Nope, today I’m talking about the stories family and friends tell on you. The ones that are told over and over much to your chagrin or occasionally to your amusement and frequently to your embarassment

Now, you have to know that I was a very good child.

{Snickering? Which Bandita is snickering?}

No, really I was. Platinum blonde hair, cerulean blue eyes. See? I was the perfect angel. (Those are too wings on the back!)

Ok. So I wasn’t.

First “Joanie” story told by my mother and capitalized on by my brother.

It seems when my parents brought home their new little bundle of joy aka “The Baby”, 18 month old Joanie didn’t know what to make of it. Who was this squalling kid? Was he staying? Is he looking at MY toys?

Now at 18 months, you’re not usually too verbal but evidently, even at that early age I understood the concept of “Actions speak louder than words.” While my Mom’s back was turned, I proceeded to push this intruder in his carriage into a back room.

Look at my stuffed pink elephant, will ya!

Bro loves to try to make me feel guilty to this day but the sin was compensated for several times over when we were kids. The Christmas that the original Jungle Book movie came out? HE got a cute stuffed Balou bear. Me? I got a stuffed vulture. HE got the nifty red fire engine pedal car while Joanie was the recipient of the sedate brown sedan.


Years later he got even. He nabbed my baby doll carriage and filled it with caterpillers. GOBS of caterpillers! Wanted to take them for a ride up and down the driveway.


Then there was the tale of my adventures as a 2 year old. My Mom came into the kitchen to find me climbing on the kitchen table. She reacted, telling me to get down immediately. Which I did.

Then I took off running out the front door, Mom hot on my heels. The whole way I was yelling “Don’t hit me anymore!” She said “I hadn’t laid a hand on you but when I finally caught you (in the field across the street) I took care of that!” I must have been part Billy goat because I recall another table climbing incident only this time I fell off and smacked my head on the concrete floor of our basement. I clearly remember driving to the ER (ahem, they didn’t HAVE 911 then) of our Catholic hospital where I thought it odd that a nun was x-raying me.

So what about you? What stories do your family and friends delight in torturing you with? What was the oddest toy you got as a child? Did you torture your siblings?

(To the left is a snapshot of one of the rare moments my Mom could catch me, LOL.)


terrio said...


terrio said...

How about that! He can help me pack. I so needed more hands. Uhm...wings? Now I need to read the blog. Be right back.

Joan said...

Warning, warning, Terrio. Secure your vehicles immediately. The GR is hooked on Grand Theft Auto!

terrio said...

My family loves to tell stories only they get more exaggerated with each telling. There's the time I collided with my sister and gave her a black eye with my forehead. We were both roller skating in the house (odd, I know) and no one ever talks about the giant goose egg I had.

Then there's the time I got tired of watching everyone else go up to communion and leave me in the pew. So I went. And Fr. Sargus nicely explained I couldn't have any and sent me on my way. I was horrified!

The stories I wish I'd heard were ones from my grandmother. She crossed the pond from England when she was 12 (alone!) in 1929 and though I lived with her almost all my life, I never heard her talk about her family or her childhood or anything. She's been gone for 13 years and I still regret never getting some of those stories out of her.

terrio said...

LOL! Joanie - I'm not sure he'll like my little pick up as well as Fedora's van. He can't fit nearly as many chicks inside. ;)

Seriously, my living room is covered in empty boxes. With his help, they should all be filled by morning.

BTW - Love the pics with the blog. You did look like an angel!

Natalie Hatch said...

wow you girls are quickity quick1

Donna MacMeans said...

Joanie - I love the family pics. Your beautiful smile is still unchanged.

Let's see - I'm one of five and while I can think of stories to tell on each of them - I'm blanking out on stories of my misadventures *g*. I'm sure if you asked them, they'd quickly come back with something.

Oddest toy - I'm thinking those ugly trolls that were so popular years and years ago. I had several.

Terrio - cool beans on snatching the GR. Put him to work! I'm sure his beak can punch through that packing tape.

Helen said...

Good work Terrio have fun with him I hope he helps with the packing

Great post Joanie and love the pictures. I am the eldest of 4 girls and we are all very close in age I don't think I got any unusual presents normal run of the mill stuff dolls prams dogs.

My mother always told me and everyone else about the time I cut one of my sisters hair I remember it well I was about 3 she was 2 and we were playing hairdressers out in the yard and I got the scissors and cut all of her curly hair (made a mess of it) I had straight hair after Mum took her to the hairdressers to get it fixed up her hair never grew back curly and I pretty much have heard that story for ever and Cathy always tells people why she has straight hair as if LOL

Have Fun

Amy Andrews said...

HI Joan - great walk down memory lane and nice to be back again in the lair. BTW - your Mum looked like aregular hottie. Great pins.

My mother alwasy tells the story how I fed custard t the TV news anchorman one night when I was about 3. I was sitting in front of the tele eating custard and every time he opened his mouth to speak, good girl that I was, I shared a spoonful with him. My parents came in to find a dribble of custard sliding down the screen and a pool of it on the carpet.

Maureen said...

I also had a little brother that I tortured by tricking him into doing things that he shouldn't and then making sure I was no where around when he got caught. When I had my own children and my daughter was torturing her little brother all the stories resurfaced.

Terry Odell said...

Loved the memory of the red fire engine pedal car. My little brother got one. Loved it. Named it "Charlie Ness." No clue why. He was probably 3 years old at the time. Maybe 4. He also got the chemistry set when our aunt got married -- gift from the new uncle.

In addition to family stories, don't forget to collect family recipes, especially those that your great-grandmother made 'by the seat of her pants.' When they're gone, they're gone.

Carol said...

My Mum and I went to America when I was 6...
mum's twin sister was a war bride,had been in the USA for 11 years, pregnant with her 4th child and really homesick for Australia, so Mum and I went to Romulus in Michigan for a year...
Mum got me a pink Rabbit from the big store she worked in there! I've still got him and I called him Bumstead, He's got a black waistcoat! Quite a strange looking rabbit really!!
Cheers Carol

Buffie said...

Awww, Joanie, what adorable pictures!!!!

Hmm, I'm trying to think of some stories. I'm the baby of the family. My sister is 11 years older and my brother is 13 years older. So by the time I got to the age where I could remember things, they were pretty much out of the house.

I do remember one time when I was about 5 my family met up with my Aunt, Uncle, and cousin at Disney World. At that age I was one of those children who asked a million questions an hour. We all stayed at the Red Carpet Hotel or Inn or something and my mom said that I just kept bugging the adults about the name of the hotel when in fact there was no red carpet in the hotel. LOL!

When I was about 3 or 4 I had quit a mouth on my. Very *ahem* sassy. I know, you never would have guessed, right? Anyway, my sister always teases me about a particular little saying that I would always tell someone when they argued with me. I would apparently put my hands on my hips and plainly tell the person they could kiss my rosey red butt.

There is one story that I like to tease my mom about. Both of my parents were married before and had children. My half brother and sister would come and spend the summers with us. Well one summer my half sister was just too much of a handfull. She had quite a sassy mouth and my mother just couldn't take it any more. So when dad got home from work he found his daughter literally taped to a kitchen chair with tape over her mouth!!! My mom said she had had enough. Thank goodness that was decades ago because she would probably have gone to jail if that happened today.

Buffie said...

Hey Donna -- did you ever get my email?

Joan said...

Hey, Terrio!

Ok, rollerskating in the house wasn't normal?

I remember getting new skates...those kind you clamped onto your shoes and SQUEEZED tight with a key?

We skated all over our basement, grabbing the support poles as we zoomed by and swinging around them like ballerinas or something.

That concrete floor was good for something besides cracking 3 year old heads!

Joan said...

BTW - Love the pics with the blog. You did look like an angel!

It's all in how you wear the halo, m'dear :-)

Good luck with the packing? Um...where are ya going?

Joan said...

Oh, come now Donna. Surely there are misadventures you can report? Maybe something involving a paintbrush?

Well, we're mainly talking about childhoods, so maybe that was adolescence?


Joan said...

LOL, Helen.

So Cathy won't let you forget about the curls huh?

She has to realize you were only trying to bring her into the height of fashion. I mean we eldest have to look out for the ones below us, right?

Ok, maybe not so much.

I have a vivid memory of me at age 10 deciding I would trim my own bangs. Trouble was that I tried to do it without my glasses...really close to the mirror and my angle was just a weeeee bit off. The left side ended up snipped to the roots.

Not a good look.

Joan said...

Hey, Amy!

Welcome home!

LOL, on the custard. That is SO cute! Rough on carpet, but cute!

My Mom would have loved that compliment and...ahem...her nose wasn't the only thing I inherited.


MsValerie said...

Argh...Valerie stories. There are so many, and so many have survived, that I have to shake my head. I've even heard "Valerie" stories from friends of my sisters, without my name (shudder). Apparently my clumsiness and impulsiveness have provided great fodder for party laughs.

Yes, I tortured my younger sisters, but they returned the favor when they got bigger and meaner. One went into law enforcement; I always attributed her need to carry a gun to some of the things she survived at my hands.

My mom's favorite: When I was little (I think 4 or 5), I had long hair that was held back by those big hard plastic headbands (We're talking the early sixties here). Of course, the headband was a great toy...I'd chew on it, bend it back and forth, and generally do anything I could except wear it because it made my head ache. So, one day, the bending and stretching caused it to snap in two and one piece hit me in the eye, leading to (yet another) emergency room visit for Valerie. As my mom was leading me in the door of the ER, crying and with a hand over my eye, I stubbed my toe. More tears, and now I was limping and holding a hand over my eye. When the doc tried to examine me, he pulled a big light down to the table and I threw my hand up to protect myself, and got a second-degree burn. Talk about a walking catastrophe.

So, I'm 51 years old now. Last month, I went home to visit and had a wonderful afternoon at the beach with my mother, my two sisters, and my 14-year-old niece...just the women in the family. And guess which story started the round of "Valerie" stories?

Joan said...


Oh, my poor brother did get tortured.

When I was 4 and he was 3 I decided that we would "fool" our parents. So I made him get dressed in little red polka dot ruffled nightgown and I dressed in his cowboy pj's and we rushed out to show our parents.

We have this great pic of me giggling like a loon. While bro just looked kind of stunned.

Bro never forgave me.

Bwahahahah.....look at MY pink elephant, will ya?

Joan said...


You're so right about the recipes. There are half a dozen ones my Mom made and I can only recreate a few from memory.

She didn't write things down.

Man, she could make the best potato salad!

Joan said...

Awwwww, Carol. Your rabbit sounds precious....and very stylish!

With the image of that waistcoat, I think Bumstead is a perfect name!

I don't have my elephant anymore.


Maybe I should check Bro's old toy chest?


Joan said...

Now buffie, I think that inquiring about the source of the red carpet is a sound question.

I have vague memories of this but of course was told about it.

Evidently, when I was about 2, we visited the old Ohio Coney Island amusement park. We stayed overnight in a motel and "back then" as an amenity they provided double edged razor blades....that they kept in a 2 year old level.

Yup, nosy me opened said draw and reached in cutting several fingers.

Ok, I'm starting to sense a pain theme here....

terrio said...

Joanie - I got a wild hair a week ago and decided to move. By the end of the month! I signed the lease yesterday and I'm moving next weekend. Just 20 miles east from Chesapeake to Va Beach. But I'll be closer to work, have a slightly bigger place, kiddo will be in an excellent school and we'll be 10 mins from the beach.

Can't beat it! Happy to say the GR is getting into the spirit of packing. He's only lost a few feathers to the packaging tape. However, he keeps sitting down with another book off the shelf and I have to shew him back to work!

Louisa Cornell said...

Joan, what a cutie! No surprise that such an angelic baby grew to be such a lovely lady who writes wicked romance!!

Terrio, be careful. The GR may pack himself! Then you would have him with you forever, like Fedora!!

My Mom loves to tell everyone she always knew I would be a singer because I could sing the entire Frosty Morning Sausage Commercial song perfectly in tune at the age of 3. I have NO memory of that one! Apparently I was a very grouchy baby and often the only thing that would stop my crying was listening to my Nana's Maria Callas recordings. See a pattern here?

The most famous family stories are the ones the older of my two younger brothers, James, and I perpetrated on our baby brother, Brian.

When they told us we were going to have a baby brother or sister, we said we wanted a pony instead. They should have listened! Well, to be fair, the first time we saw him he had just come home from the hospital, Mom was changing his diaper. We went into the room to check him out. And he peed on us. This meant war!

When he was three we took him down to the playground next to the laundromat in the trailer park where we lived. Mom MADE us take him with us. A few hours later we came home without him.

Mom : Where is your brother?

Kids : (shrug) We don't know.

My Mom starts to walk down toward the laundromat and here comes the park maintenance man carrying my little brother. Seems he found him in one of those laundromat dryers with the door closed. Apparently the only reason we didn't turn it on was because we had no money. Our butts glowed in the dark for days!!

Now James loves to tell everyone about the time I almost cut his thumb off. Not my fault. I was pushing one of those old fashioned rotar grass mowers on the front lawn. James wanted his turn and I said no. He started running in front of me and when that didn't work he got down and tried to stop the wheels. I TOLD him to get out of the way. Mower went right over his hand. His thumb was hanging there by a piece of skin. Blood everywhere. Worse, the only parent home was Dad. My highly decorated Korean War veteran Dad who went white when he saw my brother covered in blood. Poor man nearly fainted. NOT because of the bloody child you know. But because he was TERRIFIED of what my Mom would say because it happened on his watch! Doctors saved the thumb, but it has a wicked scar which James shows ANYONE to whom he tells the story.

Joan said...

Oh, my msvalerie,

Here's a bandaid.

I swear that sounds like an episode of I Love Lucy...only more painful!

I'm sure the beach get together was lovely and...thank God there were no riptides :-)

Joan said...

Whoa, Louisa..

I mean I can see the peeing (done so artfully by baby boys) could be annoying but a DRYER???

When I was 5 years old, I let the boy across the street...HERBIE...yeah, that says it right me into playing space ship in his grandmother's dryer.

He got in, went to Mars, I let him out.

I got prepared to go to Venus and...HERBIE went upstairs!

I hollered and screamed for what seemed like hours until he sauntered back down. "I only went to the bathroom he said"

I NEVER told my Mom, but even at that young age I realized it could have been bad. I ran home and HUGGED her hard.

And sorry, James? She DID tell you to back away from the mower.

jo robertson said...

Joan, what precious pictures and stories! You must've been quite a blonde-haired devil!

Great topic!

Congratulations, Terrio. It's about time someone broke Fedora's three-day run with the chook.

My favorite story was told by my dad to me. I was too young to remember, but apparently I'd just gotten a series of shots for overseas travel and was standing up in the back seat (before seat belts) when my dad swerved the car and I bumped my sore arm against the door. I yelled out a pretty crusty cuss word and my father stopped the car and said, "What did you say?"

I replied in a regal manner with my distinct lisp, "Well, essen daddy, I chay chod chammit."

I got the whupping of my life, but I always wondered who I'd learned such salty language from.

Joan said...

"Well, essen daddy, I chay chod chammit."

Oh my gosh, Jo. That is SO cute!

I sorry your Dad didn't see the humor in that...I mean you DID have a sore arm!!!!

Renee Ryan said...


What a cute baby you were. I love this story. Explains a lot. LOL

Seriously, what a cutie. And, really, what was that little baby thinking? Trying take over your territory! Glad to see you set the boundaries early on.

Since I have a twin my baby stories are always about how my sister cooked up the escapades but little Renee was more than willing to join in the antics.

The crib could not contain either of us. No wonder my brothers used to lock us in the bedroom when they babysat.


Anna Campbell said...

Terrio, did you have to fight Fedora off to grab him? Or did that well turned ankle take his eye? Congratulations!

JT, what a lovely post! I loved all your family stories and I've loved all the others that people have shared. Although I must say I blanched at the thumb hanging off, Louisa!

A lot of our family stories revolved around our pets. One of the feral cats in the surrounding bushland was a Manx (how that happened, I have no idea!). But clearly it's a very strong gene because every litter of kittens in the district for a while there had at least a couple of littlies with no tails. People would visit us and ask why we'd cut our cat's tail off. Or worse, accuse us of gross cruelty! Groan! We ended up with one of these Manx kittens as a pet, although I use the word very loosely. A pure black cat called...wait for it...Blackie. Yes, my writer's imagination worked overtime on that one. Blackie was the worst cat in the universe. Cranky. Difficult. Snarly. Heaven knows why we put up with him so long but we did. He used to lie under the back steps and swipe anyone who went up with his claws. Why? Because he could. Clearly Hitler was reincarnated! The funny thing is he had NO sense of direction. We were growing tomatoes at the time - they grow on wires in long, long rows. He'd get two rows out into the farm and get lost and have to climb a post to work out where he was. I have a black and white photo of Blackie trying to orienteer from the top of a post! Blackie didn't just work out his aggression on us. He used to go off on benders and come home covered in scabs and scars. He was a Jimmy Cagney sort of cat - small and compact and powerful but clearly got the worst of a lot of fights. Although I never saw his opponents so perhaps they looked even worse! Then he'd lie under the steps, too sick and sore even to scratch people, until he recovered. Then he'd be off to the fight again. No keeping a good (bad!) cat down! So the family joke was that when I'd come home from a wild time in town, tired, hungover, often sick, I was doing a Blackie. I used to just lie around until I'd recover then I'd be off to the fight again.

Goodness, that was a long post! Sorry!

Anna Campbell said...

And Joan, you WERE a cutie! ;-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey JT, great pix! :>

I think your brother got the better deal on the car, for sure, but hey, you got skates with a KEY. Pretty darn cool

As to Jeanne stories, Oh, lord, don't EVEN get me started. Snicker. There are four of us and I'm the youngest. When we all get together, it usually starts with, "Remember the time we lowered Jeanne down the laundry shute?" Or "Remember the ER trip after the water fight?" Or "Remember that time you followed (brother who shall remain anon. for his own safety) and got shot at?"

At this point, my father blanches and leaves the room. Since we all survived these escapades, he can't really scold us for them, but he is sincerely horrified at what happened on "his watch" as Louisa put it.

Of course, being blonde, the youngest and very easy going compared to my tempermental, saucy and generally hellions-on-wheels older sibs, my father also decided I didn't have sense enough to come in out of the rain. Okay, Papa, just because I wasn't OBVIOUS about my mischief...bwah-ha-ha!

On my father's 88th b-day, my step-mom had this fabulous dinner to celebrate. My Dad introduced all of us to the assembled guests. Later my DH said, "Who the H*ll was he talking about, 'cause that sure didn't sound like YOU!"

Ha! My Sis an I are still laughing about it because Dad absolutely roasted her, made me sound like the most gullible, sad little wimp, and our oldest bro like a fair saint with a wicked temper. The other brother got off lightly, to his surprise because my Dad ran out of steam! SNORK! Now my Sis and I tease that brother because he skated.

The fun is that I can usually start the stories on THEM much more easily...*very, very evil grin*

Suzanne Welsh said...

hey Terrio, congrats on the GR nab!!

Hey Joanie! Cute post.

Checking in from soggy Dallas!

Childhood memories. I remember watching the 68 Olympics from my bedroom where the old black and white TV was, because I had to sit and write "I will not try to choke my baby sister" 5000 times. Seems my dad took exception for that one! (I was 10, she was 7 and I'm sure deserved it!!)

flchen1 said...

Joan--awesome photos! What an adorable kid you were ;)

Terrio, glad the GR's making himself useful! Be sure to keep a close eye on him--I suppose you could tape him to a box as a last resort :) (BTW, if you find any van keys in his possession, please let me know!)

Stories about torturing my siblings? I don't recall tormenting my sister much, but I did manage to slam my brother's pinky in a door when he was not quite two. It was awful. Emergency room, the doctors reattached his fingertip, and his whole arm was in a cast for eons after. I'm still traumatized remembering it, and if ever my brother needs a trump card, he can just wiggle that pinky at me...

Anonymous said...

Joan, I would kill for those adorable blonde curls!! Wowie! :-)

I NEVER picked on my sister. She ALWAYS picked on me. She always hit me harder. Always. Every time.

I swear.

This is what happens when you are a little sister. You get picked on. Always the victim. It's a very hard life. (Dramatic sigh.)

Let's see, weirdest toy? I was pretty much into stuffed animals exclusively. Always played vet. I have very fond memories of ripping open those stuffed animals to doctor them. Ah, those were the good old days...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Mwah-ha-ha, Suz, I'm betting she did deserve it... sisters usually do. :> I love mine NOW, but back then? Oh there was the time I socked her in the solar plexus and doubled her over..."Daddy, Daddy! I've killed her!"

That's when she finally realized I was bigger than she was.

VERY evil grin

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

(Echoing Kirsten's dramatic sigh) It IS tough to be the youngest, isn't it?

Joan said...

Hi, Renee! {Waving madly}

I just can't see you being the follower in any situation. I mean I followed YOU (as my first mentor) and boy was THAT a blessing?

Joan said...

A pure black cat called...wait for it...Blackie.

LOL, Anna. My cat Pebbles had 4 kittens. The black one? Panther. The brown one? Brownie, the Black and white Scout and the calico Squeaky.

I remember one morning waiting in the house for the school bus when Pebbles started making a terrible racket on the porch. I dashed over to find another cat "fighing" with her {wink, wink}

I screamed "Mama, mama that cat's attacking Pebbles!!", she glanced out and said "Get away from the door" (Wasn't ready to talk about the birds and bees back then at age 5 I guess).

However many weeks later she took me out to the garage to find 4 squirming kittens. I said "Mama, mama how did THEY get there?"

She never answered.

Sadly, Squeaky was eaten by the neighbor's dog Blackie. That (*&^% canine!!! He used to chase cars and one day after he took my dear kitten buddy, his tongue got run over by a car.

Sorry Louisa and others...but I was glad.

Don't worry, he recovered. But he couldn't eat a kitten anymore!

Joan said...

Oh, and Anna. If you were pulling a "Blackie" did you also climb up on the post?


Joan said...

The Duchesse a sad little wimp?

Not hardly!

I mean you SHIELD SLED!!!

That takes guts....and plenty of padding.

Joan said...

OMG, Suz! 5,000 times?

You must have got her in a headlock or something.

Does she remember it? Or did the lack of oxygen wipe it from her memory?


Joan said...

Isn't it amazing flchen that years...DECADES later they still try to pull the guilt trip?

When my bro tries to bring up the whole carrigae in the back room I tell him I decided a worse torture was to stay...and let me smother him with big sister attention.


Joan said...

Sigh, I would kill for those NATURAL blonde curls too, Kirsten.

You see how long my hair was in that one pic? Well several years later I decided I HAD to have a pixie haircut. The one where they crop it off real short?

I remember the hairstylist begging me not to get rid of that wonderful hair, telling my Mom that in WW II the Army used hair that blonde for sights in their rifles (Don't know if that's true, but it makes a good story)

As to dissecting your poor stuffed pets, I had a rubber baby doll named Rebecca. Everytime you turned around, I was putting bandaids on her. Must have known I was going to be a nurse even then!

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Joanie, what a fun post! I remember many incidents like the one you describe. My elder brother and I used to fight like cats and dogs when we were little. To this day he remembers when he cut his foot and had to have stitches I asked if I could come and watch because I wanted to be a doctor. He thought that was heartless, but yanno, it was research.

Congrtas on the GR, Terrio!

Joan said...

He thought that was heartless, but yanno, it was research.

How dare your brother think you heartless!

I mean you would only be that way GIGGLED the whole time they were stitching him up.

Um, did you?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Joanie, do you know how many pieces of paper that took!?!

Yeah, she remembers it. Has taken great delight in telling my kids all about it!

limecello said...

Oh dear - my parents LOVE telling stories how I mixed my languages. When I was two, I was pretty much learning 3 at the same time - 2 spoken at home, and then English in "the real world" - so my dad especially still makes fun of me telling him "I don't want to learn your English" in a different language.

Joan said...

How cool, limecello.

Jo knew another language when she was a little girl too :-)

What were the other two languages?

Joan said...

Oh, that's right Suz. Then you wouldn't have had a word processor to do it with....