When I was a child, about eight- or nine-years-old, my mother went to the hospital to have her third child. My brother and I were packed off to an aunt and uncle’s house. There we got involved in a game that was more than a game.
Now, this aunt and uncle had five children. The two oldest were off to college. The two youngest were about the same age as my brother and I. The middle child was a teenager, uninterested and uninvolved in the lives of children.
My aunt and uncle’s old farmhouse held an attic with two bedroom spaces, each holding a pair of bunk beds. The second-floor held four more bedrooms. A living room, kitchen, dining room, and den made up the first floor. And there was a basement, the realm of the children. The basement had several rooms of bookcases and cabinets and a door to the outside.
Outside was a wonder. A grape arbor and an orchard gave us plenty of room to be rowdy kids running around.
The three boys and I invented an adventure game. Being the only girl, I was the heroine or the damsel in distress, depending on the turn of the play. The boys were the heroes and occasional victims. The evil villain was invisible, an unknown who left threatening notes. We dashed in and out of the basement, zig-zagged through the spooky fruit trees and grabby grape vines, uncovered clues and threatening notes, did heroic deeds, and wore ourselves out with fun.
Memory fails to recall what quieter activities filling the evening after our meal. What I remember is climbing upstairs to the attic bedroom, into the lower bunk, and falling fast asleep.
I woke gasping for air. Ice cold hands were around my throat, choking me! I couldn’t see who the cloaked villain was but screamed for help. The three boys rushed to the room and pounded the villain with their fists. Lights came on, the villain disappeared. I sobbed my tale of fear to my aunt and uncle.
The boy heroes identified the dastardly villain as my teen-aged cousin. My aunt and uncle punished him. They soothed me. The visit was short (probably not to my aunt and uncle). My brother and I went home and welcomed our new baby sister.
Today, I feel bad for my teenaged cousin. He took the game a little too far, perhaps, yet, the choking was minimal and momentary, or I wouldn’t have been able to scream. Looking back, I was frightened, but the fright was temporary. I have a fun-to-tell memory, my brother and cousins got to be real heroes, and I got a story, two blog posts, and a novel out of the adventure!
What do you recall fondly? Childhood memories? Adventures as a Teen? Trials and Tribulations of being an adult? Were any of your experiences more than a game? Any lessons you learned from these? Please share your story below in the comments below.