Chapter 12 (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff)A Chapter by Allen Smuckler
“Don’t sweat the small stuff...and it’s all small stuff”
- Richard Carlson, PH.D
By the time our lawn was planted, house was painted, and cement was sanded we were ready to move our belongings into our new home. Moving day came and of course we all pitched in to help. Moving is such a weird feeling. Here you are, trying to make your old possessions “fit” into a brand new house. It just doesn’t work. We had a huge moving van, that was about a third filled with all our possessions piled toward the front and tied with ropes so as not to move during the five mile trek from Chestnut Garden, Bridgeport to Toll House Lane, Fairfield. It didn’t take long to move the boxes and the stick furniture into our new abode. As you would expect, there were some mix-ups; boxes marked “fragile, glasses” went to the bedroom instead of the kitchen. Boxes with sheets and towels, of course, went to the kitchen.
My cousins were there helping us move. This was such an unusual time for me. Though my favorite relatives would now be living only a mile away from us, in the town of Trumbull, I was also moving away from the life I knew; the life that was comfortable and secure. The people and friends I cared about, though I can’t remember a single one today, and really after I met the first couple Stevenson Road and Toll House Lane friends, quite frankly, dismissed them from my mind altogether. Never the less, it was a new and exciting passage in time and I was beginning to get excited about the promises. Little did I know, that within a few short years, my life would change course drastically and remain afloat for the next ten years. Along the way I would ascertain and explore and yes, even escape through one event after another... passing and groping through one portico, then another on my way to perception…on my way to discovery...on my way to adulthood.
But those are other stories for other times and future chapters.
Meanwhile, there we were, moving boxes from room to room, emptying them, and carrying in all the furniture. Deciding where everything needed to be placed even though I had absolutely no input in the decision-making. It was fun though, watching all the grown-ups fumbling around and changing their minds every three minutes. I didn’t have much, so it was easy to take care of me, but Mom and Dad, well Mom and Dad were a different story.
“I think that table should be in the far corner, Bernie,” Mom would direct.
“I don’t know, Hon” (Dad always called mom Hon, as if that was her name). “I think the orange chair goes better there.” pointing to the large picture window.
“ No, I want the orange chair under the window.” mom would counter.
Dad always knew which battles were worth the effort and which weren’t.
“You’re probably right”, he conceded.
Five minutes later, the orange chair was in the near corner and the round table was under the window. And on it went, until everything was in its place.... for the time being at least. I learned a lot about negotiations from my father and my Uncle Harry. Life was just too short to fret the small stuff, and it was, as I would learn later in life, all small stuff.1
At long last, it was time for us to have some lunch. My aunt Cele and uncle Harry were here along with my two female cousins, Adrienne and Judy. Judy was unique because she was an identical twin to Stevie, a male. Stevie hated being called Stevie, especially later in life. He always wanted to be called Steve...it was after all, more masculine. I never got this identical twin stuff, though. They didn’t look or dress the same, at all...and if someone didn’t tell you.... you would never have known. But, we all played along to make them feel important, and different. Adrienne was younger than “The Twins” and was my closest relative in age and awareness. She was and has always been the one constant in my life and has seen me through my various bumps and bruises. She even fixed me up with most if not all my “dates” between the ages of thirteen and sixteen (More on that later). We were pretty much inseparable and she remains my “best” friend, to this day, though everyone who meets her feels the same way....
Lunch was nothing special. We had sandwiches, potato chips and of course orange and grape sodas in bottles. The adults sat at the table in the kitchen and the children sat at the breakfast bar (we never had a breakfast bar before), eating our well-deserved feast. Suddenly, and without warning, Judy reached for the bottle of orange soda not noticing the opened grape soda next to her right elbow. In her haste, she knocked both bottles over, with the grape cascading over the edge of the breakfast bar down the side, onto the brand new wallpaper covering the entire height of the breakfast bar.
“Oh my God!!!! I’m so sorry, Aunt Bert!” Judy bellowed.
My Mom’s name was actually Roberta but Many people called her Bert. She never liked this though; because she said it make her sound like a dog. You know, “here Bert, come on Bert.” My cousin’s had a dog named Birchy. I think that’s why Mom felt the way she did...They had no idea of course...No one did.
“I’m so sorry, Aunt Bert!”
“Uh oh,” I surmised to myself. I thought my mother would have a conniption but instead she calmly and coolly spoke,
“That’s ok, Judy.” “It will wipe off.”
“Bernie, get a damp sponge.” Mom instructed.
Dad, as was usually the case, heeded his command like the puppy he had become, and handed Mom the wet and dripping sponge...I think he did that on purpose just to piss Mom off...but maybe not.
And, you know what? It did come right off. Almost like magic, it disappeared with nary a remnant of the grape stain that I, even at the tender age of seven, thought would leave a huge birthmark - like remnant for the rest of our days at Toll House Lane. I’m not really sure if Mom knew this wallpaper had a special magical component to make stains vanish or if she was shocked into a passive stupor; hence the lack of emotion over this near tragedy. Never the less, another catastrophe was avoided, no one got hurt and we would all live to see another day.
© 2012 Allen Smuckler
Added on April 27, 2012
Last Updated on April 27, 2012
My Life (A Child's View)
AboutI'm a poet, a singer, a peaceful gunslinger.. looking to share my poetry..and a little bit of me...if I dare I 've been writing since I was 18.... am slightly older now, and still trying to fin.. more..
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