It wouldn’t be fair of me to just tell stories on Dear Aunt Omega, when there are stories on all of us who bear telling. One of my fondest memories is when Aunt Omega and Uncle Artis bought a brand new house in 1958.
Boy! Was it impressive! It was in a place called a “sub-division”. We didn’t really know what that meant but it sounded fancy. There were beautiful hard wood floors so shiny that you could almost see your face in them, and they were great for sliding on in your sock feet. Much better than linoleum, I might add. And the kitchen was to die for. Stainless steel sink, built-in knotty pine cabinets, and a stove-top and oven that were also stainless steel and were separate and built right into the cabinets. In the hallway was a closet that they always called the cubby-hole. It had an accordian door on it and inside it was the hot water heater. Wow! how nice to have that monstrosity hidden away in a closet instead of in the bathroom.
This place was a pure-do palace to all of us. And in the bedrooms, something we had never seen. The closets had sliding doors…no doorknobs…just two doors on each closet that slid back and forth from either side.
Now all kinds of friends and relatives were stopping by that day when Auntie and Unc took possession of the new house, and among them was another aunt of ours, Aunt Ann, along with her five year old daughter, Billie Jean.
Lynette and I took great joy in showing our little cousin all of the new fangled things in this house with her eyes and mouth wide open and in awe of not only the house, but her two older and much more sophistocated cousins.
When we took her into the bedroom to show her the neat closet, she immediately exclaimed, “What is dat?” pointing into the empty closet. And just as immediately, Lynette and I looked at each other, knowing that we were going to concoct a huge fabrication.
“Why it’s an elevator that goes up to the second floor,” we lied. “Would you like to ride it up?”
“Oh, yes, oh Yes!” Billie Jean screamed as she clapped her hands and jumped for joy.
“Ok, we told her, but the second floor isn’t finished yet so you can’t get off the elevator up there. You can just ride up, then we will push the button for you to come back down, ok?”
“Yes, yes, she squealed, I’ll just ride up and right back down!” We put the little naive girl in the elevator, told her to be careful, then we closed the door, made a whirring sound, and yelled up to her, “Are you ready to come back down?”
“Yes,” she yelled back to us as we lowered the elevator back down to the first floor and opened the door. Billie Jean stood there with this huge smile on her face and yelled, “Oh, that was fun. Can I do it again?” And so she did. Time after time after time and each time she had that huge smile on her face.
Lynette and I were beside ourselves. We tried very hard to contain our laughter. The thoughts of how we were tricking our little naive cousin were so powerful. We couldn’t have been more proud of ourselves.
Later that night when we were back at Aunt Omega’s and Uncle Artis’ old house, the phone rang, and Auntie answered it and was dying with laughter. Aunt Ann was on the phone, telling Aunt Omega what we had been doing all that time in the bedroom with Billie Jean. We kind of figured out what they were talking about, and we were proud of ourselves all over again, that is, until Auntie got off the phone and as Paul Harvey says, we got “the rest of the story.”
It seems on the way home that day, Aunt Ann was asking Billie Jean how she liked the new house. Little naive Billie Jean, looked solemnly at her mother and said, “Mommy, it’s a nice house, but,” she added, almost with tears in her eyes, “THE thinks THE gots a elevator, but it ain’t nothin’ but a plain old press!” Later, friends.