Once, when we were both little, my brother Andy called our mom a bad word. I said, "Say it again!" We both got our mouths washed out with soap. I was sent to my room several times as a kid for being sassy or for not minding. I would hide vegetables in my milk or tea, or scoot them around on my plate, or hide them in my napkin to make it look like I had eaten some and then lie to my mom that I ate them. (My mom was wise to all of my tricks.) I would sometimes pretend to be sick so I could stay home from school. My mom said she always knew when we were faking, but since we put on such a good show of it, she figured we needed a break from school and would let us stay home.
|My brother Andy, my dad Albert, and me at the J. T. Roberts house in 1957. I'm wearing such a big pout on my face, it has to be fake! Looks like my dad was having trouble corralling my brother for a photo.|
One summer, when I was 15 or 16, I decided to wash my dad's red Buick Skylark. Rather than using the mild dish detergent we always used, I decided it would be better to clean his dirty car with laundry detergent (or maybe it was Comet). I scrubbed and scrubbed and rinsed his car, so proud of myself. Until it dried, that is. I had scrubbed off the shine. I was so shocked, I didn't know what to do. So with my face fire-hot red and my heart pounding, I quietly put up the cleaning supplies and slipped into the house. Later when my dad saw his car, he asked what happened to it. "I don't know," I lied. He said he just didn't understand what could have happened. Was he waiting for me to confess? I don't remember him even getting mad or saying anything else about it.
|At Jekyll Island, Georgia, in the early 1970s.|
My dad had to know that I was the culprit. Maybe he was just pleased that I made the small gesture of washing his car even though it turned out to be such a disaster! He drove it around like that for several years and then traded it in. I only recently confessed to this naughty deed to my sister Helen. I never told my dad that I was the one who ruined the finish on his car.