08 January 2019

[Bess Tuggle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: Things 1 & 4, "the First & the Worst"

My eldest and youngest have been frequently referred to as “the first and the worst.”  The two sons in the middle were just gravy, or the icing on the cake.

Not that either of them was bad, the first or the worst.  They just trained me well.  When they ganged up together I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hades.  

Thing 1 loved to experiment.  Any broken appliance would be disassembled and converted into –something- else.  So glad he had a separate breaker to his room, otherwise he would have burned the whole house down.  There was one time that he jacked an old speaker from the trash along with an old turn-table (record player).  He figured out how to put up a pulley line in his room, spooled by the old turn-table, and then hook his little, plastic Army guys to the pulley.  Once the Army guys were over the speaker he’d drop them down onto the speaker, plug a –naked- cord into the wall socket, and launch them. Yup!  There went the breaker!  Glad I caught him before he tried converting a microwave into –something- else.  Not sure what would have happened, but I –am- sure it wouldn’t have been pretty.

Thing 4 fed off what he learned from Thing 1.  That wasn’t always pretty, either.

I got a call from the school.  That was a pretty regular occurrence when all four were in the same school.  At the bare minimum, it was weekly, and that was when I was lucky.

Thing 4, just barely starting kindergarten, was in the principal’s office.  He was scared silly.  He sat in a chair next to her desk, crying his eyes out when I got there.  Thankfully, we had a really good principal.  I don’t know how she held it together, but she sure did.  I was called because Thing 4 was about to be expelled from school.  In kindergarten.  He was being expelled for bringing “explosives” to school.

He’d snuck into Thing 1’s bedroom and stole some caps-strips.  For those that don’t remember, they were a long, red paper strip that you fed into a cap gun.  They were a lot of fun when you were out in the woods playing “Cowboys and Indians.”  They weren’t too cool at school.  Getting caught teaching your fellow classmates how to scratch them off with a pencil to make them pop was even worse.

When I got there the principal turned her back to us and stared at her door.  She was laughing so hard she was crying, but to Thing 4 it looked dismal.  Home we went, he got a lecture, and got to go back to school the next day.  


Bess Tuggle