Pranks and Nostalgia

I was getting some steak out of the freezer to thaw this evening and I suddenly remembered something my brother and I did when we were kids. I almost peed on myself trying not to laugh, because it was a late night trip to the freezer and everyone was asleep.

We used to go to this steak house with our parents. There was a half wall that separated the dining area from the area patrons walked through to make their orders. We, my brother and I always sat at the table that was up against that wall.

I am not sure who thought it up, but we used to dip steak fries in ketchup and drop them on the floor on the other side of that half wall.  Then when people went through there, we would say, “Watch out don’t step on that dead french fry!” Only we usually only got to the word “dead” before they were jumping around, trying to lift up their trays to see and backing up when they would see red on the floor.  Then we would say, “Oh, no. You killed it.”

When they finally realized that we had said french fry, they usually didn’t think it was as funny as we did. I don’t know why we never got into trouble.

Another time we were in a buffet style restaurant with one of my friends. She and my brother were on the opposite side on the table from me and there was a table with a bald man and his wife and some other people behind me. My friend and my brother started taking ice cubes and flinging them with their spoons. I kept giggling and trying to get them to quit. Then all of a sudden both of their mouths dropped open and they had that uh oh look of being busted on their faces.

I turned around to see if I could figure out what they were looking at. The bald man was reaching up and wiping off the top of his head. One of them had shot an ice cube and it had skidded across the top of his head.

Fortunately for us, we left shortly after that. I think they had been shooting for his head all along.

Got any good stories about trouble you caused as a kid?

Here are some good “Nostalgia”, quotes to help inspire you.

We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it.  ~George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, 1860

Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson:  you find the present tense, but the past perfect!  ~Owens Lee Pomeroy

If you’re yearning for the good old days, just turn off the air conditioning.  ~Griff Niblack

People seem to get nostalgic about a lot of things they weren’t so crazy about the first time around.  ~Author Unknown

It’s never safe to be nostalgic about something until you’re absolutely certain there’s no chance of its coming back.  ~Bill Vaughn

The world is full of people whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to the idealized past.  ~Robertson Davies, A Voice from the Attic

[I]t becomes increasingly easy, as you get older, to drown in nostalgia.  ~Ted Koppel

Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.  ~Doug Larson

Things ain’t what they used to be and probably never was.  ~Will Rogers

Nostalgia is a seductive liar.  ~George Wildman Ball

Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.  ~Franklin Pierce Adams

True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories.  ~Florence King

I don’t like nostalgia unless it’s mine.  ~Lou Reed

Who wants to live with one foot in hell just for the sake of nostalgia?  Our time is forever now!  ~Alice Childress

Nostalgia for what we have lost is more bearable than nostalgia for what we have never had….  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

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Journaling Prompt-best practical joke or prank

I recently read a journaling prompt that asked me to write about my best practical joke or prank. This was a hard one to narrow down. I have so many.

When I was a teenager, I went barefooted a lot in the summer.  I lived in a mobile home community. Notice I said community, not trailer park The place I lived in was about 3 miles long and 2.5 wide.  We had streets and blocks and there was a neighborhood where only elderly retired people lived. We had to walk through it to go to the store and buy pop or candy, etc.  The blacktop got pretty hot and we would walk on the curbs to avoid it. If we lost our balance, we would step on peoples grass.  Some of these retired people were pretty hateful about it, and would yell and cuss us out for stepping momentarily on their grass.

So, we figured out how to turn off the electricity in their houses. We would turn it off and then hide in the dark and listen  to them stomp around and curse while they were trying to figure out why their electric went off.  In retrospect, I realize they might have broke a hip or something, but hey, they started it.

We had a barbecue one evening and after we finished eating, my friends and my younger brother’s friends were roasting marshmallows on those big 2 prong forks and some sticks.  There was a Vietnamese family that had moved in on the street over from us.  Someone got the bright idea to throw those flaming marshmallows at their house.  Everybody was laughing because the people were running around yelling in Vietnamese inside.  I went to see what everyone was doing and I still had one of those 2 prong forks in my hand. Someone tripped me and the thing went through the side of their mobile home up to the handle.  It was an awful noise going in and even worse when we pulled it out.  I have absolutely no idea why, but those people moved within the week.

There was another trick we used to do where we would hide and shine flash lights into people’s houses and watch them trying to figure out where they were coming from. Ordinarily, this was annoying but harmless.  We did it to our friend’s house one night and her dad kept going out the front door trying to catch us and then out the back door trying to catch us.  After awhile he quit.  We figured he had given up.  The next day, my friend told me that her dad had hurt his back real bad. We asked her how and she proceeded to tell us that he had ran out the back door trying to catch someone shining a flash light into their living room.  The dew had settled on the porch and he slid across the porch and down the steps.  We felt really bad about it. When you are pranking someone, it never occurs to you that something might go wrong.

Have you ever lived in a place where running electrical appliances interfered with phone or television reception? Well we randomly picked a number out of the phone book and called a lady and told her we were the phone company and that we would have men working on the lines in her area, and would she please not answer the phone for the next while, because it would be dangerous for our linemen.

Then as soon as she hung up, we got all set up in one room with an electric mixer. Then one of the guys went in the other room on the extension. We dialed her number again and let it ring for a half hour non stop.

The lady couldn’t stand it any more and answered the phone. When she did we turned on the mixer and caused the awful static noise on the line and the guy in the other room screamed and made noises like he was falling. Then we yelled at the woman and told her that we had asked her not to answer the phone and told her that she had just caused Bob to be electrocuted.  She got real upset and was appologizing and stammering saying that she had just listened to the phone ring for so long and she couldn’t stand it any more and she didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

The longest lasting prank I was ever involved with involved my hair and a bald man.  A friend and neighbor was very bald. His nick name was Baldy, seriously.  That’s what his kids called him.  I had really long hair and wanted some bangs.  After I cut my hair, we were joking that I should give it to Baldy. Then it just kept building from there.  We typed up an official letter from the Bald Men of America association. It said that he had been nominated as a candidate and had won an award for being the best looking bald man in his state.

Then we took my hair and braided it and put a ribbon on the end and said it was the award.  We put it in a box and addressed it to him and put it in his mail box.  He blamed at one time or another over the next few months, almost everyone he knew.  He never did blame it on me, and apparently never noticed that the box had no postage, i.e., was never mailed and he never noticed that my hair had been cut.  As far as I know, he never did figure it out. It went on months.

I know I was a mean kid, but I bet you have some pranks of your own.  Besides, the Karma for bad kids, is having kids of their own who inherit their parents sense of humor.

I came by mine honestly.  My maternal Grandpa and his brothers used to stay in bed too long after their dad told them to get up. They were teenagers. Apparently one night he told them that if they didn’t get up when he called the next morning, he was going to take a belt to them.  The next morning, they put logs under their blankets and stood outside the second story window on a ladder and watched their dad beat the devil out of those logs.

My paternal Grandpa and some of his cousins used to get sprayed by skunks on purpose and then sit next to the pot belly stove in his one room school, so the teacher would have to send them home.  In his defense, he said some of the teachers they had were very abusive and mean to the younger kids, and he and some of the older boys decided they were going to stop one such man.  They hung him up by his pants off of the side of the school house. I’m pretty sure he was upside down.

Personal Insight

The other day, I suddenly realized just how far back, I had been unable to express anger until it was overwhelming.  My husband and my kids probably have no idea why I am that way.  When you are writing your memoirs, consider writing down what makes you the way you are. Your kids may not love you for it, but they may understand you.
My Mom is a very volatile person. She hits the roof over nothing and everything. She is one of those people who has to be “handled”.  Out in public, she can embarrass me in no time flat.  She knows what is inappropriate, but doesn’t care.

My Dad, on the other hand is a very dignified, mannerly person.  You would never know by his tone of voice or facial expression that anything ruffled him.

I remember my Mom not allowing us to get angry, because when we did, it escalated and prolonged hers.  It was as if she was the only one in our home allowed any drama.

If I got sent to my room for something, usually being a smart ass, if I stomped of closed the door too hard, my Dad would make me go back and return to my room and re-close the door repeatedly until he felt I had walked quietly enough and until my door made no sound whatsoever when I closed it.  He was basically forcing me to show no emotion at all and he was whether purposefully or not, telling me that I had no right to have any feelings concerning how others treated me or what they decided for me.

If I had not been a VERY strong person, imagine what a weak pushover I would be as an adult. I however determined that I WOULD control my destiny and if emotion was a sign of weakness, then I would learn not to show it.  You can stand in my face and tell me to go to hell and I will smile at you and ask you what you will be packing to take on our trip together.

My brother came out with my Mom’s attitude. If he wants to scream, yell, curse and throw things, he will.  He feels entitled to his anger.  The thing is, he’s right.

I have a very interesting family dynamic here, don’t I?

I long to be able to scream and holler and then go on with things. I just can’t shake the need to keep anyone from knowing they made me sweat.

Journaling About Your Early Life

If you are old enough to be an adult, you can reminisce about your childhood. If you aren’t you should know or can ask your parents the basic stuff, like where were you born and how your name was chosen and were you born on time, early or late. You can recall or ask where your parents were born and their ages.

What was your childhood like? Hoe did you get along with family members; siblings etc? Where did you live? Was it in more than one place? Why did you move? Do you have friends that you grew up with?

What do you remember about your school years? When I tried to journal this category, I could only remember one teachers name? I am bad with names, so sue me! I think if I go rummaging through my papers and report cards, I can find out some and maybe refresh my memory.

Did things in your family and school experiences help shape who you are now?

I think that I will be adding to that category as I scrapbook old family pictures. In the interest of being honest , I have written some of my memories .

You can read them or not. If you do, they may help to start your memory of your own life.

was the first child of Judith Ann (Harless) and Frank Clifton Taylor Jr.
I was born 10-28-1964 in Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, WV.
I was about a month overdue.
I have a brother named Frank Clifton Taylor III. He was born 4-2-1967 in Cabell Huntington Hospital, as well.
My Mother was born 7-15-1944 in Cabell Huntington Hospital. She was the daughter of William Augustus Harless and Violet Memphie (Wetherholt) Harless.She had an older brother named William Dale Harless.
My Father was born at home in Wellston, Jackson Co., OH. He was the eldest son of Frank Clifton Taylor and Mary Elizabeth (Lilly) Taylor.
He had a brother named Robert Wetzel Taylor.

My parents worked in a shoe factory called Perry Norval in Huntington, WV. Mom had a few waitressing jobs. My Dad worked at the Nickel Plant in Huntington too. He got layed off and work in Huntington was hard to find. Dad had some college education, so he went to Cincinnati, OH to find work. He had his pick of a few companies there. He picked Proctor and Gamble. After we moved there, he worked in several different departments and worked his way up. I remember for sure that he worked in the department that made Folgers Coffee. He worked in departments that designed packaging for Crest Toothpast and several different types of shampoos. Some of the time he worked in the Lab, and after promotions, he was designing packaging. My brother was one of the first test babies for Pampers Diapers. When we first moved to Cincinnati, Mom worked in a factory that did laundry and repair on uniforms.

When I was about six, she stopped working and stayed home.We moved from Hyde Park in Cincinnati to a mobile home park in Mason, OH. It was about 45 mins to an hour from Dad’s job. This was in the 1960’s and there was a lot of Racial Violence in the schools. Dad didn’t want me to be in a school where I might get mistreated for being white. So, to the suburbs we moved.

The school district I was in was called Lakota and my elementary was called Liberty Elementary. I do not remember all of my teachers names but a few stuck in my memory. My first grade teacher was mean and once I asked to go to the restroom and she said yes, but you won’t be allowed to have recess if you do. When I went home and told Mom and Dad that she had made me stay in and put my head down on my desk as punishment for going to the restroom Dad was pretty agravated. Part of his college education was to be a math teacher. He knew it was against the law for a teacher to do that. When he got done with the teacher and the principle, one of them put a big note on my file that said, Don’t mess with her father. He was not violent or abusive, he was just smart enough to know what to say to make them afraid of losing their jobs.

From the very beginning of school, I had trouble fitting in and making friends. I got picked on and called names and I am sure it had a big effect on who I am now. I remember the kids making fun of my clothes because they were different. Mom says my clothers were better than theirs were and that’s why they picked on me. I am not sure. I am very light complected and some of the kids even made fun of being able to see my veins through my skin and my big blue eyes. How was I to know these very things would be considered very pretty when I got older.

I got good grades with very little effort all the way through school. I know my intelligence was something that set me apart from the other kids too. I only had about one friend per year in school, until 3rd grade. I made friemds with a girl named Patty Hastings. She actually stayed my friend the next year even though we were in different classes. We remained friends until a few years after we got married. She married Jerry’s frind Bill Hall and he moved to Cincinnati with her. I believe he thought he was too good for Jerry after he moved from our rural area. We eventually lost contact with them.

In Junior High School, I made friends with 3 girls. Bari Farmer lived two houses down from me and was about 2 years younger than me. Linda Logan was my age and Gina Arno was too. They were a year ahead of me in school. When I started school, there was a rule that if your birthday was after the end of September, you had to wait until the next year to start school. My birthday was in October.I had a lot of trouble getting along with Linda. There were several times we had fist fights, because she started them. I usually came out on the losing side. My heart wasn’t in it, because I wasn’t mad at her to start with. Eventually she made a bad move one day and hit my brother and when I asked her what she was doing, because she knew he had been taught not to hit girls. She basically just walked up to me and slugged me up the side of my head. I more or less blacked out from pain or anger. When I became aware of myself again, I had two pretty good sized male friends pulling me off of her.Evidentally, she had tried to pull me down on the ground andinstead I ended up on top of her and she couldn’t get up. Some of our friends told me that her parents basically told her she had it coming and she was too embarassed to come out of her house for a long time because she was black and blue. We had an on again off again friendship after that and were never close again. Part of her trouble was jealousy. This got started by my first boyfriend who tried to keep it a secret that he liked me because I wasn’t popular and neither was he. He just couldn’t take the pressure. She was popular to a degree and so he went out with her and paid like a date and when he went out with me, we went Dutch. She wasn’t happy if she couldn’t have all of the boys and would only chase after him long enough to make him stop paying any attention to me and then dump him again. The last time I caught them together, they got mad at me because I was mad at them. Very juvenile. I would never have spoke to them again if they hadn’t come to me wanting to be friends again. The whole situation was weird. He paid for dates with her, but bought me jewelry and stuff that was more personal than dates. I would have preffered public ackowledgement to jewelry.

Gina was my friend all the way through high school. She had a whole clique of girls who were in her grade in school and got good grades and semi-popular. She was hanging onto the edge. They weren’t supposed to know that she lived in a mobile home park and anything else tht would make them feel superior. By that time, I had figured out that it was better to have one true friend tha to be popular. I had figured out who I was and the type of person I wanted to become. I didn’t need other people’s approval any more. I felt sorry for her because she hadn’t.
We both had parents who were paying rent on a lot, for a home they already owned and some of those other girls lived in apartments and the first time rent wasn’t on time, they would have been homeless, yet they looked dowwn on us. We were just as middle class as they were.

I had a not altogether awfull home life. When I was a small child, the two sets of my grandparents had a falling out over religious differences. My Mom said it was dumb, because they really agreed with each other on the matter, but said it differently. Anyway, my Taylor grandparents did not like for my brother and I to speak about my Harless grandparents when we were with them. My Grandma Harless didn’t show much either way, probably because she knew it was awkward. I did not know until I was old enough to put the pieces together, that both of my parents came from highly disfunctional families that looked normal on the surface. I loved both sets of my grandparents despite their differences.

I am not sure if my parents should have had kids. Mom had a couple of nervous breakdowns when I was a child. They didn’t have the medicine available that is available now. Part of it was due to the disagreement between their parents, and part of it had been from her bad childhood.
Sometimes both of our parents were abusive. They believed the Bible said they were supposed to use corporal punishment. But it wasn’t the only reason we were whipped. They both acknowledge that they shouldn’t have done it now. I believe my grandparents regretted the treatment that they gave their kids too. I made it a point not to make the same mistakes they did, with my own children. The problem with my parents was when they weren’t sure that beatings were o.k., the Church of Christ preachers taught that it was not only o.k., it was a commandment from God. I am the 5th generation of Church of Christ members on both sides of the family, so “Spare the rod and spoil the child” was ingrained in our family. The Church was not wrong, but some of the preachers were. Many of them have no children of their own to give them an informed opinion. The best way to learn what the Bible really means is to look it up in Greek and Hebrew and not just swallow spoon fed doctrine. Knowing the history at the time of the first Christians is very helpful too. Reading Josephus is good for that.He was a Hebrew and also a Roman citizen and was commissioned to write a Hebrew history for the Romans.

One thing I do agree with and is taught in the Church of Christ is to honor and respect your parents. You do not have to do or agree with everything they tell you. You can still respectfully disagree. My Dad is now 65 and has just learned to do that.Most of his adult life was manipulated and controlled by his need to do what they wanted because he thought that was what honor thy father and mother meant. A lot of the time it was to the detriment of his family with Mom. I guess my Mom learned it when she was much younger. I was a teenager when I figured out that if I didn’t agree with my parents, it didn’t make me a bad child.

I learned to cook and clean at a pretty early age. I had to become good at it, when Mom had one of her breakdowns, I had to take over for her. This meant that I had to see that my brother was taken care of at an age when someone should have been taking care of me. I was sorta like his Mom. I had to make sure my Dad and we had supper and laundry etc. I matured mentally at an early age due to this. The main problem was that I learned to push my needs to the back burner and it is something I still do. When I do get up the nerve or anger to say what I need, people aren’t used to it and they have a tendency to not like the change and tell me I have no right to feel what I feel, because they want me to still worry about how they feel. In other words, they are spoiled to being my priority. I have been learning to take care of me better. I believe that it ultimately is better for my family, if I do.

I wonder what would have happened to my family, if I hadn’t taken over for Mom? I had good grades and because of this, I had little or no home work. It left me with the time to do housework. Despite all the things I was expected to do, I managed to do things with my friends. The more Mom came out of her slump, the more free time I had. She came to depend on me as free labor, so I always had something I had to do before I went anywhere. I went to movies and skating and bike riding. We had slumber parties on the weekend and in the Summer. We went bowling and I even bowled on a league. We played board games and cards; sometimes as a family and others with friends.

During this time, my Father was very ill with Rheumatoid Arthritis. They told him that he would be in a wheel chair inside of a year if they couldn’t get it into remission. The treatments were very expensive and they had to file for bankruptcy. This added to my worries. I guess I was very afraid that we would run out of money and/or Dad wouldn’t be able to work. I started to do odd jobs to pay for things I needed like school clothes. I mowed grass and shoveled snow. Then this worked into a few jobs cleaning house for older people in the neighborhood. When I was 16, I got a job working at a local amusement park. It was about a mile away, so I could walk to work and Dad brought me home. This is about the first time I had what I would later recognize as a flare up of Lupus. I got a real bad case of what the emergency room doctor called sun poisoning. I had a rash and sunburn all over my body. He said that once you had sun poisoning, you would probably get it every time you went into the sun from then on. It was no favor for him to tell me that. If I had known it was unusual for someone to be as sun sensitive as I am, I may have found out I had Lupus, years ago. I had scarlet fever when I was little and just prior to the sun poisoning incident, I had had Mono. Both of these things combined with the many times I had taken sulfa drugs for kidney infections, probably started the cycle of Lupus flares.
Some of my symptoms were more like Rheumatoid Arthritis, which Dad had and I could have inherited it. The blood tests always came up negative.

I also had surgery on my upper jaw during this time. They moved my upper jaw about slightly to correct my cross bite. I had braces all the way through highj school. I finally got them off just prior to my wedding. They left me with a little metal in my head. I don’t knwo if this could have helped the Lupus along or not. Somehow, I still managed to not only finish high school, but to go to vocational school and after that a year of business college. I did have a miscarriage a few months after Jerry and I got married. I was a virgin when we married, but despite being on birth control pills, I got pregnant. I now know that people with Lupus, miscarry a lot. This caused me some trouble at school because I was sick, but I still graduated. The principal at the vocational school didn’t like me because I was married. He told me I should either be married or go to school. He said I shouldn’t do both. I did make one of my lifelong friends there. Vicky Perdue was in a business class there too.

As I stated before I had a boyfriend who was not very good to me and then I also had a couple of others that di not work out very well. When Jerry and I started dating, he treated me with the respect and care that other males did not. I invited Scott DeYoung, my first boyfriend to the wedding. Revenge is a dish best served cold, after all.