Brenda was a mean girl. We were thrown together because we were all Sunday School together. She was snooty but tolerated me the best she could in Sunday School because I was preferable to Mary Bragg, an overweight girl who constantly complained other girls were “talking” about her. We usually weren’t, because we’d already done that and moved on. I guess I was a mean girl wanna be.
At any rate, Though Brenda could tolerate me at Sunday School, it was a different story at school. Sometimes I tried to buddy up to her, only to be rebuffed when a real friend came along. The thing about Brenda was, she was mad about horses. I had a horse. From time to time, her yearning to ride a horse got the best of her and she’d ask to come ride my horse. I was would have played with a rattlesnake if it hadn’t bitten me too many times, so I was glad to have her. We doubled up on Ol’ Frosty and plod along being good friends as looming as the ride lasted.
Once in a great while, Brenda and her older sister Sandy, also a mean girl, the age of my older sister Phyllis, would invite Phyllis and me over. One Sarurday, we all climbed on the honeysuckle-covered fence in their backyard and slid all one long, glorious afternoon. I remember Phyllis asking if they were sure it was okay. Sandy answered , “Sure, we climb this fence all the time.” We rode that fence to the ground. The next day in Sunday School, Brenda was mad at me. It seems they’d gotten a “whuppin” for our afternoon’s shenanigans and Mr. Davis “wished he could get his hands on us!” I never cared to go back over.
Several years ago, I saw Brenda’s obituary in the paper. I wonder if she’ll talk to me in the unlikely event I meet up with her in heaven. I know for sure I won’t be swinging on the Pearly Gates with her.
Dear Auntie Linda, I live in a decent, not fancy, neighborhood. All the residents keep their places mowed, painted, and well-kept, except for one neighbor. The lady living directly across the street from me is a hoarder. Her place looks like she is having a garage sale all the time. Junk cars, old furniture, and hundreds of flower pots are in plain view. She has old appliances and dozens of containers standing on her porch. Her shades hang crooked on the windows. Her grass is tall and she has dozens of cats swarming around. We ordered Pizza the other night and her cats attacked the Pizza Man. Several of us talked to her and she threw us off the property. What can be done about this miserable mess? Sick of the View
Dear Sick of the View, You can call the ASPCA or animal control about the cat problem. You can call the city about the mess and junk cars. They can deal with the woman if it’s bad enough to be a hazard. You have my sympathy. How awful to have to look at a mess everyday. Auntie Linda
Dear Auntie Linda, My dad is totally selfish. He goes around blowing money like there is no tomorrow leaving my mother to figure out how to run the house on almost nothing. We grew up with him raging at her about what she spent on groceries and utilities. She is so beaten down and submissive it is hard to watch. I hated growing up that way, going ragged while he spent like a mad man. When it all comes crashing down because he has made ATM withdrawals without telling her, he accuses her of wasting all his money, demanding to know what she spent it on. He dresses like a peacock, while Mother creeps around looking like a country mouse, wearing her clothes till they are threadbare. I don’t ever remember her going to the beauty shop. She does her own haircuts and home perms. It’s not pretty, to say the least. Dad criticizes her weight and appearance, saying she looks like a slob and has let herself go. I feel just awful for her and am so angry at my father. I know she should stick up for herself, but she’s so beaten down all she wants is peace. They never go anywhere together. Thank God, I am out of the situation, but her life looks hopeless. It is so hard to watch. I wish I could help, but she says “It’s not that bad and I’d feel guilty if I left. Besides, I can’t make it on my own.” Worry about Mom
Dear Worry, This does sound like a terrible way to live, but you’ve summed it up pretty well. There’s nothing you can do unless your mom gets the courage and is motivated to get out. Your dad is not going to change and has her right where he wants her. Auntie Linda