All we wanted as five year olds was to be sixteen. At that age, being sixteen meant that you were an adult and got all the guys and a really cool job, like being a banker. Sixteen-year-olds could go out any time they wanted and had a blast. If you were sixteen, you were invincible. Of course, that is most certainly not the case, but to a five-year-old girl, sixteen could be anything she wanted it to be. For we five girls, it was our own special world.
As we grew older, sixteen became even more extraordinary to our imaginations. We dated New Kids on the Block ["Oh-oh Oh-oh-oh, the right stuff"] and played unspeakable games, too embarrassing to say [although why our very mild, watered-down version of "strip poker" is so unspeakable, younger Steph, I don't know. We were five, people!] If I were to mention what crazy things we came up with to play, my former childhood friends would murder me. [I honestly don't remember what else there was, but I kind of want to make something up just to make life interesting.] There was also Star Search, Elton John's album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road [Still love this one. We would pretend we were ghosts in a cemetery while dancing to "Funeral for a Friend"], and fairy tales. With the fairy tales we acted out, I usually got the part of the princess, which made the other girls mad. Never bothered me of course. [Sue probably picked me most of the time because I was such a lemming. Although, my name does mean "crowned ruler," and I'm still holding out for the possibility of marrying Prince Harry, so perhaps it was just density, I mean, destiny.]
I remember some of the things we did for Star Search. There were the usual dance contests, which nobody really won because how can you single out one child in the area of creativity [apparently that rule doesn't apply to picking out the proper princess -- see above regarding fairy tales]; there was the "taking care of a baby" section. Sue would ask us questions like, What do you do to a baby with colic? [The answer: get a muzzle for the little squawker. Just kidding! Another true story: until a couple years ago, you know, when I was a grown woman of thirty -- as opposed to a grown woman of sixteen -- still had no clue what colic was. According to Wikipedia, it's crying. A lot. For no good reason. Seriously? Maybe I wasn't kidding about that muzzle. And in case you missed it, grown woman of thirty, still no clue what colic is. Totally thought it was a gassy baby. Whatev. And the crap if I know what you do with a baby that won't simmer down. That's what the internet is for, people.]
Every day at lunch we would watch a movie. Our favorite was Troop Beverly Hills with Shelley Long. ["Beverly Hills, what a thrill!"] I've watched it recently and think it is the silliest thing I've ever seen [aw, younger Steph, it's not that bad], but back when I was a kid, you couldn't beat it. I remember the first time we watched the movie Witches with Angelica Houston. [Actually have another blog post regarding this movie:http://stephbehr.blogspot.com/2014/08/revisiting-my-childhood-witches.html]. Everyone else was fine with the movie, but I'm still haunted by the awful images of Angelica Houston as a witch and other scenes from the movie. I've watched that movie more recently as well, and though I'm not as frightened by it [note the "as frightened"], the images, as I said, are still looming around me.
Before lunch we would take long walks around the neighborhood. [I don't remember much, but I remember the walks!] Sometimes there would be scavenger hunts, and sometimes one of us would be allowed to push the baby stroller of whoever was small enough at the time. [This sounds confusing, so I feel I should mention, Sue did watch other children in her career besides the five of us girls.] We'd take with us a jug of tea. [I don't remember the jug of tea, but I'm glad younger Stephanie did.]
Oh Sue's tea -- the taste was magical to us. We had tea with almost everything. I don't recall Sue ever keeping soda around the house or many types of juices. The choice was always tea or water. We drank tea with our snacks, which is the part of life that a child lives for. [Well, that may not be true anymore, younger Stephanie.] If we did something bad, we received no snack. If we didn't finish breakfast or "feel like eating" until later, we received no snack. Receiving no snack was a hard thing, but luckily, the incident didn't occur often. [Shocked that younger Stephanie did not mention receiving a sugar cube as a treat for being good.]
The one thing we weren't too fond of -- but would kill for now -- was naptime. [That one is very true still, younger Steph.] Sue had [still has!] three children. The oldest daughter had married and moved out. There were three bedrooms upstairs and there was a bed or a couch -- I don't remember which now, but for our intents and purposes I'll say it was a couch -- downstairs in the basement. In Jeanie's and Chris' rooms hung posters of Duran Duran and other 80s bands. We loved going into their rooms for naptime because, of course, they were older and very cool. Each of us was allowed to take a book into bed with us. [Oh my word, that sounds so naughty. My fellow bibliophiles -- it all starts in the crib apparently.] I don't remember, but I think by the time we were in school we didn't have to take naps anymore. I mention this fact because I don't recall Jennifer and Donna having a naptime or being around at naptime.
I vaguely remember a time when I fell asleep on the living room couch watching a movie. [Oh man, this happens all the time now. Welcome to the other side of thirty.] I don't recollect if naptime was still in effect for the five of us or not. I had awakened when someone picked me up and carried me down the stairs to the basement couch. I pretended I was still asleep. I liked being carried; that kind of security is a good feeling when you're a kid. [Oh, younger Stephanie, not just when you're a kid. Ain't too proud to admit it.]
We used to make up dances. [Just flitting from one subject to the next, aren't we.] Jennifer usually led us in this task. Everyone would contribute at least one step, and when it became a finished product, we'd perform it for Sue who would congratulate us on a job well done. They were silly things, of course. I still can't dance well.
When Fer and Ashley stopped going to Sue's, Donna, LeeAnn and I indulged in less and less creativity. Maybe it was because we were growing older, and sadly our imaginations were growing lazy.
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[And that's all I wrote. The piece stops there. Mercifully, if you ask me.]