Jumpers and Keds and rosé, oh my: Episode 2.

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I got to see the Broadway version of Wizard of Oz this weekend! It was in town for just one week and it was wonderful: stained-glass-looking sets that melded the lush style of the film with the more sharp-edged John R. Neill book illustrations. The one problem was that Glinda was NOT PINK – she was metallic, glittery and purple. Sacrilege! To make up for the disappointment I had some pink wine during the intermission, as you can see.

As a side note, I love to see all the different outfits that people wear to Broadway matinees! It makes me realize that I do not have enough polka dots and chevrons, paired with candy-colored solids, and I need more.

This is the next little bit of the story… I think this is the last part before the Orc family really began to take over our lives with a vengeance. You see why I called them the Orcs.

So in 1999, we lived in the Lake Orion rental house with the spooky basement. There were several major power outages and two sewage explosions, during which we all lived at Grandma X’s for a couple of weeks at a stretch. When the sewage exploded, brown water came out of the toilets, the bathtub and the ceiling. L, M and I thought this was a lot of fun.

We continued to attend Lothlorien Baptist, and I enjoyed it. Awana was on Wednesday nights, not Saturday mornings, which meant kids didn’t have to go to prayer meeting. (The dark, empty gym where we had game time felt a little creepy, though.) You also got a piece of candy for every verse you memorized – Mom confiscated them, but it was fun to collect them. I even got to help a “bus kid” learn her verses and that was cool. My pine derby race car won several races in the Awana Grand Prix and all the other girls screamed “Go Kay!” It was exciting. I got contacts that year too and I felt like a normal-looking child instead of four eyes.

Summertime: We went to Numenor Baptist Camp for the first time because Dad was filming their promo videos. I don’t think it mattered as much what we ate at this point. We were still eating pretty normal food except mom wouldn’t let us have sugar or fried stuff. (She always had a big battle with Grandpa X whenever he wanted to take us to China Town or Old Country Buffet.) Numenor had a huge water slide called “Big Blue” and we got to ride our razor scooters all over the campground. I made a blue recipe box shaped like a house in the craft store.

Our family all stayed together in a cabin while my dad filmed. The summer kid camps were going on – that’s what he was filming – and I thought it was cool that these kids got to go to camp and sleep in teepees. I asked mom if I could do that sometime and she got upset and said that wasn’t something we did — it was better for families to stay together.

Mom was pregnant with Baby O and she broke her foot getting out of the van when we came back from Numenor. (A neighbor lady, Mrs. G, came to stay with us while Mom was in the emergency room and I thought that was weird – normally, the neighbors were not allowed in our house.) Mom had a big cast on her foot for the rest of the summer and I learned a lot about laundry and cleaning.

I also figured out that if I twisted the straps on my overall shorts, or rolled my long baggy boy shorts up at the waist, I could make them come up above my knees like the shorts that regular children wore. I would tug them back down quickly if Mom was around. (After my purple and white shorts shrank in the wash and became my favorite shorts, they had mysteriously disappeared.)

Sometimes when we went to the grocery store or the thrift store, we would hear bad music (rock or jazz) being played over the loudspeakers. We were not supposed to listen to it and, if it was too loud, sometimes we had to go back out and sit in the car so we would not hear it. Sometimes, though, it just stuck in my head and I couldn’t help thinking about the lyrics. Once when we were in Great Clips getting someone’s hair cut, there was a song playing on the radio with the words “So I cry…and I pray: Love me, love me, say that you love me. Fool me, fool me, go on and fool me.” I thought it was the saddest, strangest song and it gave me a prickly feeling.

September: I turned 11. The only thing I remember about this birthday is that Grandma and Grandpa Y, Dad’s parents, were in town and took me out for lunch, and I wore my wide-collared, blue sleeveless sailor dress WITHOUT ANY SHIRT UNDERNEATH. This was practically the only time I ever got away with wearing something sleeveless and I felt so sneaky.

I also felt sneaky every time I peeked through the Sharpie marker that blacked out bad things in our books. (Library books were fixed with little square sticky note bits.) Occasionally it was just a word or two, and you could hold the page at the right angle and read “heck” or “gosh” or “went to the movies.” However, sometimes whole chapters were glued or paper-clipped together, and it was frustrating because things had clearly happened in the story and I didn’t know what they were. Sometimes Mom would scribble a brief summary at the top of the next OK page: “In that chapter, Rose got engaged to Mac.” (Anything to do with romance was very bad. The words “in love” and “fell in love” were always blacked out.) In one book, Mustang: Wild Spirit of the West, Mom cut out all the bad things with scissors and reading the book was like reading confetti. This always frustrated me, but it was necessary for Mom to read and fix all of our books before we got to them.

There were very few videos that it was all right for us to watch. We owned two, Mary Poppins and Bambi, and we got to watch them when we were sick. Most other videos had objectionable elements. Either someone kissed someone, or there was bad music, or people weren’t dressed properly, or someone said bad words like “stupid” or “idiot.” We could not watch television, and if television or a video was on at someone else’s house we had to leave the room. It was also wrong to go to the movies, even to see an unobjectionable film, because that meant you were supporting the evil movie industry.

To be continued!

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