I have some photos of A. that our grandmother took. A. had the chickenpox, so she had red spots all over her body. She had gotten out of the bathtub, and refused to allow our grandmother to dress her, and instead dashed over to her rocking horse and rocked madly away, buck naked.
I remember one day when A. had come over to spend some time with me. We took a walk, and she wanted a soda. Instead of asking for one, she mimed gulping down a soda, smacking her lips with satisfaction, and then making an “aaah” sound. I pretended not to understand what she wanted, and she kept doing it over and over.
Another time I was going to buy her a treat, and asked what she wanted. She gleefully asked if we could get a can of chocolate frosting, and share it! I was totally grossed out by the thought, and refused, but got her something else that she enjoyed almost as well.
When Joe and I were newlyweds, we had A. over to spend the night a few times. Once I took her with me when I was getting the truck washed at one of those automatic car washes. I told her, with dramatic emphasis, that after the wash cycles were finished, a huge vacuum was going to go over the car and suck up all the water. I said it in such a way that she would think I was joking, and the look of delight on her face when the vacuum cycle actually did suck up all the water was beautiful.
Once when the parents were out of town, I was staying at their house keeping an eye on things. Liz was still in high school, and A. was in elementary school. A. was going through a hating to bathe phase, and flat out refused to take a bath. She was nasty stinky, and I was determined that she would bathe that night. Finally I got tired, and filled the tub with water and told her that if she didn’t get into the bathtub by the time I counted to 10, I’d throw her in with her clothes on. She giggled and laughed, thinking it was all a game, until I threw her in with her clothes on. She sat there for a moment completely speechless. Then her face started to get red, and she opened her mouth and began to bellow. “I’m going to tell Mommy! I’m going to tell Daddy!” and she went down the list of everyone she was going to tell on me. I calmly stood there and waited for her to finish roaring, at which point I said, “You know what? Mommy’s going to think it’s funny. Daddy’s going to think it’s funny. Liz and I think it’s funny. And I think if you stop yelling for a minute and think about it, you’ll think it’s funny, too.” She sat there for a minute, and then started laughing. Of course, she hated having that episode brought up in later years, and probably never laughed about it again.
During that same week, we taught her how to make a family dish called “Something Different.” Mom had whipped it up when, as a newlywed, Dad unexpectedly brought someone home for dinner when she had nothing to fix. A. made the dinner on the night our parents were expected home from their trip. When we asked her how she liked it, she said, “It’s distinctly good, because I made it!”
Once Liz and I took A. out to dinner. She ordered spaghetti and meatballs, and the food was taking a little longer to arrive than she thought appropriate. She took her knife and fork and banged them on the table, yelling, “Where’s my eats, woman?” Liz and I shrunk under the table and tried unsuccessfully to pretend that we didn’t know A.
One day I had taken Liz and A. for a ride. A. was in the back seat, belching as obnoxiously as possible. She could belch on demand as loudly and violently as any boy I’ve ever heard. Liz began getting disgusted with it after a while, and proclaimed that “belching isn’t funny. Snorting is.” I laughed my butt off when A. began snorting, and carried on for the remainder of the ride. Liz wasn’t amused by the fact that she opened herself up for it, and had no one to blame but herself.