In which – yet again – I get close to my “inner child.” I just can’t seem to leave her alone. Maybe she’s not ready to be left. 😉
I’m building a house of cards on Bubby’s carpet. My cousin Barry shows me how, but I can do it, I can do it all by myself! I wish he’d go away and play somewhere else. But he’s seven, he’s older than me. So how can I tell him what to do? Maybe he’ll go play with the other cousins even if I don’t say anything. So many cousins are here today: Sheila, Myrna, Judy, Reesa, Lorne… oh, I can’t remember all their names. I’m only six.
This carpet’s so nice, so perfect for building on. It’s fuzzy so the cards don’t slide, and it’s got so many colours, so many shapes. Auntie Bernice says these are triangles, and those are squares… I guess she’s right, ’cause she’s right about a lot of things. I heard Mummy say one time that Auntie Bernice is her smartest sister. I guess that’s why she’s right about everything.
Mummy says it’s Passover, that’s why we’re all here today. What does that mean? Steve says it means we’re gonna stuff our faces. Steve’s my big brother and he knows a lot. But sometimes I don’t like him ’cause he’s mean to me. I don’t know why he’s mean. Maybe ’cause one time I was playing with his old merry-go-round toy, and he wanted it back, but Mummy said “Oh let her have it, Steve, she’s just a baby!” I don’t think Steve liked that. I know, ’cause he made a mad face at me when Mummy turned around.
Oh, look at how big my card house is getting! It’s almost as big as Bubby’s house! Haha, no, I’m fooling you, it really isn’t. Bubby’s house is huge. It’s so big, when I stand at one end, I can’t even see the other end. It’s like the universe. I know all about the universe ’cause Steve’s friend Albert told me.
Albert’s almost as smart as Auntie Bernice. I like him and I told him I want to marry him when I grow up. And you know what he said? He said, “That would be my pleasure, Frannie!” He’s nice to me. Not like Steve. ’Course, he’s very old, though. He’s… I think he’s ten already. That’s way too old for me!
My card house is so spread out, it almost reaches Bubby’s feet. Look at Bubby’s shoes! They look so funny, so shiny black and short and round and fat. They have laces. Not like mine, mine have straps. ’Course these are my party shoes. My school shoes have laces like Bubby’s. But they’re not so big and fat. I wonder if I’ll have shoes like Bubby’s when I’m old like her. I hope I don’t. I don’t want to be old like Bubby. ’Cause then I might be sick and walk so slow like her, with a cane. And I wouldn’t be able to make card houses on the carpet.
Bubby never gets down on the carpet with me. She sits on the chesterfield, talking with my aunties and uncles. Sometimes she watches wrestling on TV. Then she yells “Oy! Oy!” She thinks they’re getting hurt, for real. But I know they’re not, Daddy told me it’s just for pretend. How come Bubby doesn’t know that? Maybe Daddy should tell her. Maybe he doesn’t want to tell her. Maybe she likes to think it’s for real. Then, if Daddy told her, it would spoil it. I don’t know. Some things are so hard to figure out.
Like my teacher Miss Duncan. She’s my teacher for grade two. I’m young for grade two but they let me in ’cause they said I was smart. Anyway. I was sure Miss Duncan liked me really a lot, she always smiled at me. But yesterday something bad happened. I was late for school. Just a little bit late, five minutes! But Miss Duncan, she always hates when anybody is late. Boom!—she tells me I have to stay after class. At three o’clock everybody goes home except me. Miss Duncan goes out and comes back and hands me a wet, soapy rag and a pail of water. She says I have to wash all the desks!
Right away I feel like crying, but I hold it in. I start rubbing the first desk—mine—with the soapy rag. Nothing happens! All the marks and scribbles are ink, that’s why! Doesn’t dumb old Miss Duncan know that ink doesn’t come out? I keep rubbing, and still nothing comes out! I start to cry, because I’m really, really sad. And I’m mad, too! I’m mad ’cause I can’t say “This isn’t fair, just for being a tiny bit late!” And I can’t say “You’re a dumb old thing, don’t you know ink doesn’t come out!” No, I have to keep all those words in, locked in my head. So my tears leak out, instead.
It’s funny, I don’t know why I’m thinking about all that now. Now, I’m playing on Bubby’s carpet, I’m happy. Why am I thinking about what happened yesterday, when I was sad? Silly me! Haha, Mummy always says that, when she does a funny mistake: “Silly me!” I wish I could be like Mummy when I grow up! She can make jokes on herself. She can help me forget bad things, like about yesterday.
Bubby’s got her party dress on. It’s navy blue. I know that because Mummy has a dress the same colour and she told me it’s called navy blue. I know a lot of things. But I wish I knew more things, like why is Bubby so fat.
I wish she wasn’t fat ’cause I would like to sit on her lap but I can’t, her big tummy takes up all the room. If I could fit on Bubby’s lap, I would sit on there and put my arms around her neck and hug her for a long time and I would tell her I love her and I love her food too. Then if she would ask me which food I love the best, I would tell her everything, ’cause it’s true! Her gefilte fish, and chopped liver, and chicken soup, and chicken, and knishes, how could I pick a favourite? Only one favourite? No, it’s impossible! Oh, boy!
Someday I will write a story about my Bubby, and food and everything. I hope I don’t forget.