Sunday, July 26, 2009

monkey girl


David and I have been spending a lot of time on our back porch this summer, mainly because of our lack of discretionary funds. It's certainly much cheaper to buy a six pack and listen to our little boom box than it is to go out. It's really no hardship, though. We have a lovely porch - wooden, roofed, shady from a natural canopy of sugar maples. Not the best place for my tomato plants, but a pretty damn good place for us.
During one of our back porch conversations, I found out that we had both had our stomachs pumped due to childhood indiscretions - David at age 2, but I think they managed to solve his mistake with Ipecac before they resorted to bigger things. I was 4 and remember it like it was yesterday.
My sister Peggy was sick - flu, cold, earache, I don't remember. She was 2 years old and my Mom kept feeding her what looked like orange candy. I believe I commented that I didn't think it was quite fair and where the hell was my candy only to be told to shut up.
I woke up the next morning filled with toddler angst. The house was silent, dawn just barely breaking, birds singing their heads off (I remember it being summer, but I could be wrong). I crept into the kitchen, pulled a chair up to the kitchen counter, climbed up and grabbed the bottle from where I remember Mom stashing it. It was almost full - yay! - but in a few minutes it was almost empty.
As far as candy goes, I remember it being particularly unsatisfying and thinking a 4-year-old's version of "Well, the hell with this - she can have 'em."I really don't remember a lot of what happened after that. All I remember is the hospital and a doctor making me swallow a tube. When I called my Mom for confirmation of these events, she said that yes, I had indeed crawled up on the kitchen counter, downed an entire bottle of Johnson's Baby Aspirin and gotten my stomach pumped as a result. At the hospital while her mother-in-law was accusing her of being a rotten mother my dad asked, "Why didn't you hide them?" My mom replied, "I did! They were in the kitchen cabinets on the very top shelf! I don't know how the hell she got up there!"
Then she remembered.
She remembered that I was the monkey girl.
"Monkey girl?" I said. "You climbed on everything" she said, "If we wanted to find you, we had to search every tree."
The moral of the story is that everything worked out alright. Obviously, I'm alive (even though the doctor told my mother that it was particularly dangerous for me to down the entire bottle on an empty stomach - that explains a lot). My sister got better. I lost my taste for Johnson's Baby Aspirin. I continued to climb trees, and could spend an entire afternoon in a mulberry tree with a library book. I haven't climbed a tree in a long time, but it just occurred to me why I like our porch so much. It's almost like being up there - listening to the wind rustle the leaves, watching people below you.
I'm gonna hate it when summer ends.