A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The big win

I haven't won many things in my life. OK, there was that plastic lace tablecloth that I won when I played Bingo with one of my old aunts. And the $5 I got from Reader's Digest in the early 70's for something.

But nothing much. At least not after my first, ever big win. I was 11 years old and we had just moved into our new house in Tucson. Yessir, had it built for us in one of those new-fangled sub divisions. My grandfather was very upset because we had just moved to Tucson the year before and now we were moving out of town again (our new house was 10 miles away!!). I can still remember my first day of 6th grade at Kellond School. Since we had just moved in, my parents drove me to school and were going to pick me up in the afternoon. I hadn't learned the route to walk yet. Had a fine day at school then the bell rang and I ran outside to find my parent's car. Not there. Oh, well, they're a little late. No big deal. So I waited. And waited. And waited. By that time all of the other kids were gone, the school crossing guard was calling it quits and I was left to fend for myself. Oh, god - they finally found a way to get rid of me! It was all a trick! They dropped me off and never had any plans to pick me up! And they purposely didn't show me how to walk home! This is probably all because of my little sister who they like better than me and I probably did something to her that made them mad and they decided that since they had another kid, they didn't need me anymore..... So I sat on the curb, folded my skinny little legs, pulled my Ozzie and Harriet lunch box close to me and I cried. No, I sobbed. What would I do, where would I go (OK, a little Scarlett O'Hara thrown in here). I was too young to get a job. Sob, sob, sob. Then I heard the horn honk and saw my dad. They got tied up moving some things and he was sorry to be so late. Had I been crying, he asked? Of course not. Why would I be crying? Just had a lot of dessert dust in my eyes.

But I digress. Over the next few weeks we put the house together and my dad got totally excited because a new store opened up down the street called Handy Andy. It was a do-it-yourself store which was all the rage back in the late 1950's. I mean, you could even buy big containers of bug spray and not need to hire an exterminator! It was very cutting edge.

One day I went there with my folks and, while they were shopping, I walked around. Noticed these large yellow stars painted on the floor and then heard someone over the loud speaker talk about a contest where they played music or something and if the music stopped and you landed on a winning star, you'd get a prize. So I deftly pranced from star to star waiting for my big moment. And, lo and behold, I actually won. I was beside myself, ran screaming through the store looking for my mom to tell her the good news. We went up to the counter to gather my special prize - it was a canary.

Now, my mother was not big on pets. She was raised in downtown Chicago so they never had pets. And as an adult she was a fanatic about a clean house so pets just couldn't be in the picture. Her excitement over this win wasn't quite at the same level as mine. But she agreed to let me keep the canary if I took care of it and kept everything in pristine, spotless condition. Of course, I agreed. By the way, do you know how messy birds are! Yikes, I had no idea. I fell down on the job after about a week so the bird had to go. Luckily I had a good friend down the street who had a COOL mom and who was allowed to have pets. So she took Sparky. I would go over every day after school to visit. Until that fatal night when my friends younger sister thought it would be great fun to sneak up on Sparky in the middle of the night, lift the cover off the cage, and yell "Boo!!" Also, did you know birds can literally be scared to death? Apparently this one could. He dropped. Gone. Kaput. I was sad. My friend was sad. Her little sister thought it was the funniest thing ever. My big win, my special moment, my triumph - lost.

Oh, well, I still have that plastic lace tablecloth.

7 comments:

Desert Diva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Desert Diva said...

The previous post was removed because I apparently can't spell when I have a glass of wine!

What an amazing story - I'm waiting for the entire version to come out in book form.

I am sorry about your bird - you must have felt horribly sad...

kathy said...

Being there, I would have felt really bad for Sparky. Right now, I laugh out loud. Sorry, Sparky.

Halfmexican Mama said...

How sad, I mean about the bird...had a parakeet once I thought I could take pretty good care of...until I realized they needed to actually have food WITH the water...:-(

ira said...

I cant beleive the poor thing died!! Shit, mustav hurt!
Its funny though!! *eek* :)

Wendy said...

I have had many birds and they are messy. My mom would never let me have anything like that growing up either so I had to wait until I was on my own. I had a Cockatiel that was the sweetest bird ever.

Jenni said...

Poor, poor Sparky. I'm just surprised Gram let the bird stay in your house for a whole week!