Tales From The Family Crypt

When my family gets together, the house is filled with laughter and joy and stories from our past. There’s one particular story which refuses to stay buried. It’s a tale of siblings at their worst and goes something like this:

First, let me introduce the characters in my tale: one very cool sixteen year older brother, fourteen year old Me who could’ve starred in Toby Keith’s song I Wanna Talk About Me, our eleven year old sister who would do anything her older siblings told her to do, and our four year old baby sister, who within the space of one minute could go from cute and cuddly to whiney and annoying as only a four year old child can do.

On a summer day off from school, with our parents away shopping, we played baseball in the backyard. Our baby sister was determined to join in but of course we wouldn’t let her. After much whining and begging, she finally threatened to run away.

With cruel glee, we grabbed mom’s kerchief, filled it with food, found an old broom handle and fashioned a hobo stick. We stuck one end of the stick in our sister’s chubby little hand, threw the other end over her shoulder, then shooshed her out the back gate.

Mad as can be, she stomped up the alley while we laughed and jeered and urged her on. But as she trudged further and further from home, her anger faded and doubts set in. Reaching the end of the alley, she had to make a decision – turn left or right. Continue on or stop.

She stopped. Nearly a full block away from the people she depended on the most, she stood with the hobo stick over her shoulder, alone and sobbing while we laughed at her. Eventually we took pity and brought her home but I think of that little girl now, scared to be so far from home, pushed away by the people she loved most.

Although it’s many years later, we still talk about this childhood moment and remember the laughter mixed with the cruelty. Our baby sister, who now has babies of her own, takes the teasing with grace and a smile – and gives us a jab or two back. Yet she holds no grudges … or perhaps she’s just biding her time, waiting for the perfect opportunity to get even with her much older siblings, waiting until we’re in her care and too old to defend ourselves. Yeah, that’s the scenario I imagine, when that little girl finally has the opportunity for some payback.

What was the meanest thing you ever did to your sibling(s)? Or if you were nicer than my siblings and me, then feel free to share your favourite childhood stories from your family crypt.

About Sheila Seabrook

Author of contemporary romance and women's fiction.

Posted on September 21, 2011, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. Sheila,
    What a fun and interesting story from your past. Big families must have been so much fun!

    The meanest thing I ever did was sit by and let my friends tend to my older sister when she broke her arm because I was too mad at her to help. My friend had to get my mom out of the shower while I played nearby in the dirt! What a brat I was and boy did I feel guilty!

    I’m not even sure if I got in trouble, but I still remember feeling bad about my actions. But don’t worry, she’s gotten me back plenty!

    • Good morning, Christy!

      It must be the guilt that makes these incidents so memorable. But of course, when your sibling pays you back, your guilt meter tends to decrease.

      Now I have a lovely image of a young Christy playing in the dirt. So cute. 🙂

  2. Oh Sheila, you bad girl. I was that kid once. I was the “baby,” and until I was pregnant for my second child, the oldest callled me Baby. His wife wasn’t happy and finally told him being pregnant and having a child qualified me to be grown. He laughed, shrugged and said, “Sorry kid, you’ll always be my baby.”

    I was the monkey in the middle who could never catch the ball, the one who had to be watched and who the middle one dragged to the library. That is my best childhood memory of that brother. The days he took me in hand to story book hour at our local library, or red to me at night. The big one was the charmer and sang while he strummed his guitar.

    While it may not have been any fun being the forever baby of the family, it gave me great memories of both my brothers. Maybe your baby sister doesn’t hold that one bad memory as much as she does of all the other great times we little ones have enjoying our older siblings … great post and thanks for the memories 🙂

    • Good morning, Florence!

      You’ve described the sibling relationship so well, especially when there’s a significant age difference between youngest to oldest. How much younger are you than your brothers?

      And those special moments you had with each of your brothers, I know that my baby sister shared those with each of us individually, too. It’s the gang mentality that causes so much trouble.

      Thanks for sharing your special moments with your brothers. I love these stories. 🙂

  3. I *trimmed* my sister’s bangs. She ate chocolate/mud-covered ants. And gave me her allowance. LOLOL

    We always laugh over those.

    • Good morning, Vicki!

      Oh my goodness, you were a holy terror. LOL! Whenever I see your picture, I can see you still have that same mischevious light in your eyes. It’s lovely when we can laugh at the past and it becomes a “good” memory instead of the torture chamber it was at the time.

      Thanks for sharing! :o)

  4. My older sister, Kathy, took my favorite doll and told me she wanted to cut her hair and that it would grow back. I believed her. But the doll’s hair stayed short. I will never forget that but I carry no grudges. Oh, wait, plus she had a nickname for me – Patrot. We don’t know where it came from or why she called me such an ugly nickname but to this day she’ll laugh and call me Patrot. We’ll never know why…

  5. I have no siblings, so no mean stories to tell. But I’m certain every family has similar stories about being mean to each other. Hopefully the guilt afterward pushed all of you older kids to be kinder after that.

    • Hi Susan … I can only hope we learned kindness from our meanness but — I must be honest here — quite possibly not. All I can say is that thank goodness age gaps narrow when we become adults and become almost non-existent.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. We used to call my brother a tattletale, then laugh when he’d run to my mom and tell her what we’d said. 🙂

    There were other, crueler things, of course, but they shall remain in the crypt.

    • Hi Jan … I wonder if the taunting and teasing goes up in numbers with each new addition to the family. More in the gang to poke and prod each other. So out of curiosity, how many siblings did you have? 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

  7. I’m with Jan. I’m leaving the crypt closed. Besides, I was the wonderful sister between two brothers. I NEVER did anything to them. 😉

  8. Sheila, I remember Jeff telling me about the time you (all) sent Babycakes to the other side of the fence. She was four years old when I first met her. Through the years, I’ve watched her become one of the most truly gracious and fun-filled women I know; totally without malice. So I think you’re all safe!

    • I’d forgotten Jeff called Patti Babycakes. How sweet. I think his nickname for her probably encompasses how truly precious she was to all of us (even when we teased her mercilessly!). Thanks for the memory, Theresa, and thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  9. I’m the baby sister of two much older brothers, they were 12 & 15 when I was born. Can you say “unplanned”?

    So I didn’t get to be mean to them, but they did plenty to me. I had a flashback of that very same broomhandle send-off, and yet I kept going three or four blocks, crying until the whole family came looking in a panic, and my brothers got punished for it. LOL. And they’d put me in a big potato sack and tie it shut and throw me back and forth. But then on the other hand, nobody else could mess with me. The second anyone in the neighborhood gave me grief, they’d come walking up with their big football player bulk and scare the living crap out of them. So it had its upsides too… LOL.

    And by the way, I wasn’t an adult until I was around 35. Before that, even their WIVES treated me like the little one.

    Great post, Sheila!

  10. I honestly don’t remember ever being intentionally mean. Maybe this was because I am the oldest of nine, and somehow my mother instilled this sense of Over Responsibility in me. She has a snapshot of me at age 1 1/2 holding the bottle for my infant brother. She has a story about me at 3 years old scrubbing the potatoes – with soap – and my father complaining that they tasted funny. There’s also the story of me at 6 years old, rocking my colicky no. 5 sibling in the little rocking chair, and since I was often awakened by her, I fell asleep at my desk in Grade 1 and the teacher would cover me up with my coat.

    I use that theme of Over Responsibility a lot in my writing, and trying to get back to carefree childhood.

    • Suzanne, you were the perfect older sister to have. The patience you must’ve had is wonderfully inspiring. But along with younger siblings comes a lot of responsibility. I’d love to read some of your work to see what ways your heroines learn how to be carefree.

      Thanks for sharing!

  11. I was always the victim and while it wasn’t fun at the time, I can certainly say it’s helped me develop a thick skin over a layer of compassion. 🙂

    • You raise a good point, Dianne. I wonder if younger siblings are more compassionate because of the torture they had to endure at the hands of their older siblings. This is definitely something I’ll have to discuss with my younger sister.

      Thanks for sharing!

  12. It’s amazing the things we all did as kids that make us cringe as adults. I grew up in the country – I mean country. We we’re about fifty miles from a tiny food store and another twenty miles to something that resembled a full service grocery. At any rate, I recall at the age of sixteen driving upon my little brother, riding his bycicle on a dirt road that was on our property. He was about 8 at the time. I drove very close to my brother, put the car on park and then proceeded to rev the engine. Needless to say the car was in park, it wasn’t going anywhere but it scared the dickens out of him.

    Within minutes of him beginning to yell – my father came running down the road in his boxer shorts and boots thinking someone was killing his son! Needless to say, the car was parked for the rest of the summer and I was very busy with house and farm chores for about a month! We laugh about it today, but I wonder to myself, what in the heck was I thinking?!

    Shay ; )

    • Welcome to Women Unplugged, Shay!

      I echo your thoughts … what was I thinking? Thank goodness our parents and siblings forgave us for our behaviour. And that we stopped when we became adults.

      Thanks for sharing your experience! And I’m so glad you could stop by. 🙂

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