Written By: Leslie Means
Note: I am writing this ‘scary’ story for my girls. Right now they are too young to understand. However, I want to show them what a typical fall Saturday was like for me at the age of 8. In a few years, my oldest will be that age and I know she will be ‘horrified’ at the way life was back in 1990. I’m already shocked at how much has changed in such a brief time. Here’s my haunted story for them. Please insert scary sound effects at your convenience. (That’s the du-nuh, if you you were wondering ‘what is that strange word you keep putting in here, Leslie. You know – like, Law and Order or something)
The year is 1990. A little girl named Leslie is frustrated by the early morning light. The sun’s rays peak through the cloudy haze of the late October morning, disturbing her sleep. She pulls the covers back over her head trying to catch a few minutes of sleepy bliss. The chill in the air made her toss and turn last night. Even her large purple floral comforter couldn’t keep her warm. The cold sank down to her toes and into her fingers. Every inch of that 100 year old farmhouse was capable of heat but her parents refused to turn it on until it got “really cold.”
“Put more clothes on,” her parents uttered. “Pants, socks and a long-sleeve shirt will help.”
How dare they make her suffer through October’s chill. She had no choice but to dress warmer.
Da – nuh
It’s a Saturday morning. Most kids her age are busy watching cartoons, but Leslie can’t sit down until her job jar is complete. Not only is she still cold, her unfortunate luck continues as she draws one of the worst jobs out of the canning jar. Her heart sinks as she reads this word on the tiny torn piece of paper.
For the next hour, she cleans the toilet and scrubs the sink. Her mother made her use an old toothbrush to get between the tiny crevices. A week’s worth of dirt and grime lingers around the sink. She’s working so hard she fails to remember the chill in the air. Over an hour later, the work is complete.
Finally she finds a moment to rest. Unfortunately, her favorite cartoons are now over. Her parents only get 3 channels and by this time if the TV is still on, it is only showing “This Old House” or “Sewing with Nancy.” Leslie wants nothing to do with this rubbish. Instead, she decides to use her imagination to keep herself busy.
She heads outside to engage her mind. With no neighbors nearby she is forced to play with her older sister, Lindsay. Fortunately, they have a good relationship and for the most part get along quite well. Leslie and her sister head to the barn to search for old chicken eggs. One by one the girls throw the rotten eggs out of the top window. The egg that ‘pops’ the loudest wins. After a few minutes the stench is so powerful, Lindsay and Leslie are forced to leave the barn. Suddenly, the girls hear their mother scream.
The clock reads well past 1:00pm. Leslie and her family are used to eating at a later time. Lunch and supper are served whenever her father comes in from doing work around the farm. A light meal is placed on the table that day. Leslie finishes her food as she knows not to waste a single bite. After the meal is over, the girls clean the remainder of the kitchen before retreating to their rooms to read or rest.
The rest of that afternoon is filled with farm chores, bath time and a late supper. After the meal, Leslie asks her mother if she can split a can of pop with her sister. Joy emerges from her face when she hears the word “yes!” Her father decides to light the fireplace that evening to get rid of the late October chill. Leslie grabs a stick from outside and a large marshmallow from the cupboard. She spends the final moments before bed snacking on her treats, warming herself by the fire and watching “Murder she Wrote” or “Dinosaurs” with her family on their only TV.
That evening, Leslie reviewed the day’s events in her mind. She spent less than an hour watching television, ate all of her food (including vegetables), read plenty of books, used her imagination, got hours of exercise, listened to adults, and ate marshmallows for dessert. Although she uttered a few complaints, she couldn’t have asked for a better day.
To my girls: Life is pretty great right now. We have more than enough television channels, your dad keeps the house nice and toasty, you get pop and candy on a frequent basis, your chores are limited, and you have plenty of neighbors and computer games to keep you entertained. But even though these things are wonderful, don’t forget about the simple joys in life. I want that for you. Because every kid needs to run. Every kid needs to throw a rotten egg. Every kid needs to listen to adults. I hope I can give you a taste from my childhood, because even though someday you may look back and think it was scary, I think it was grand– job jar and all.