2nd grade; Seasons in the Sun, Lamanites and a Pasturized Girl

In the style by Alice Adams on writing short stories. ABDCE (Action, Background, Development, Climax, Ending)

Gillman loomed through murky water and hobbled toward his next victim’s leg. Shrieks of horror in black and white during Friday night’s Creature Feature movie! Laura and I couldn’t watch so we hid in our card-table blanket fort. That night at 2 AM we heard her oldest brother, Ken, thunk! onto the nearby sofa. He would be OUR victim in the morning.

Ken’s head needed some decorating and all the loose Barbie heads and glitzy Barbie accoutrements were fair game. “Shhh…be quiet…Don’t wake him…” said Laura. I nearly snorked. He moved. We repositioned a few 1-eyelash Barbie heads and other items onto his chest and forehead. He would love the hearts we drew in ink!

We scurried into Pam’s room and put on a record: “Seasons in the Sun” and danced and sang. I already knew how to sing because my twin brother and I would sing in our basement to Olivia Newton John and John Denver. We were going to be brother/sister singers like the Carpenters but better. Pam was already up and out the door by 9, so we played with her collection of plastic horses that were Strictly Off Limits and then Laura showed me how bras are put on. “You lean over and let them just shake in there.” I tried it. And couldn’t imagine.

Then it was time for cereal. We snuck passed Ken, still asleep (weird teenagers) and crawled quietly up the green shag steps to the kitchen.  We had fruit loops with raw milk. Laura’s church didn’t allow pasteurized milk-cooked at a low temperature for a long time-to sanitize it. It was ok. I had had raw milk at her house before. Gamey mixed with waxy Fruit Loop wasn’t so bad if you knew to expect it.

At 11 AM, Ken screamed “Mom! She did it again!”

Her mom yelled “Laura Jean!”

And we hid under one of the beds with Floofer.

I learned a lot about the Mormon church from Laura’s house and from Primary School. Every Monday night was Family night and church people came to her house of 2 parents and 7 kids and 1 giant long haired grey cat named “Floofer”. Laura was youngest and some kids were old enough to be in high school, like Ken or almost married, like Maria. Her mom, Diane, was sweet and fun and always asking what we were up to in a caring way and winked at us.

Primary school occurred after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays-the days the boys would wear their Boy Scout uniforms. It seemed to be a requirement. I had my heart set on earning my CTR ring this year. CTR meant “Choose The Right”. If I did my lessons and was good I would get one. It was dark green in a Superman type shield shape with silver letters on a silver adjustable ring. I would be wearing it All Summer Everywhere. It would glimmer at the pool.

Ken knew when my family would be out of town camping and where our home made wine stores resided. We were always at odds with our other neighbors, The Snodgrasses, but especially after those weekends. It seems empty homemade wine bottles ended up in their backyard that had no catshit in the sandbox. We would apologize and explain in cases like these but Mrs. Snodgrass still got huffy if I was on the 3-party telephone line with Laura discussing plans for our next summer play or haunted house involving Potatobugs and peeled grapes in jello.

Summers were great. Whenever someone got a new large appliance, the box was fair game. It became a house and puppet show, or scenery, with curtains. Of course we all knew how to sew. All the neighbors came to Laura’s backyard and we made homemade ice cream from rock salt-it was magic. Her parents wore polyester trouser cutoffs and I could see The white Sacred Garments they got married in inside a pool at the Temple. They must have been really good swimmers.

Even Mr. Oldsten came over though I can’t remember if he brought his cigarettes and beer like he usually did at our house. We probably all had Kool Aid.

Almost all the kids were in the play and Laura’s older sister, Mandy, got to be the princess with her long blonde hair. Laura and I were Court Jester Dogs or Lambs.

2nd grade was easy and Mrs. Hatch was nice. She Did look like my grandma as my sister said. School was fun and we always had great homemade Halloween Costumes and had a Halloween indoor parade with candy. I was a mouse with a half ping pong ball and pipe cleaner nose. It smelled like glue but was so cute and I was terribly proud to wear it. My twin, Jim, was Snoopy as The Red Baron and looked the part every bit. Mom made them and they were great. My sister was Pippi Longstocking and made her own being grown and all.

In November 1974, a good looking stranger would come to town and kill. Ted Bundy took a girl from down the street and it would be 40 years until one of his would-be victims who was taken barely survived and wrote about it. We were protected from the news and hysteria until summer when our hair would be cut off.

I loved Christmastime and carolers. Each year I hoped the Mormon church group would carol for us, but 1974 was no different. They had instruction to bypass the Pasteurized House like Quarantine again. 

Late Spring and I was still obsessed about the CTR ring. I had been to every required class (we got silver stars for those).  We had been learning about the Nephites-the good, blonde-haired people with sandals and white Jesus clothes. Even Jesus had blonde hair and blue eyes inside the chapel when we had grape juice communion at the end of Primary.

Today, we were to learn about the Lamanites. The ring would soon be mine! We opened the pages of our new booklets and there were the Lamanites-evil people with brown skin, sandals and dingy Jesus clothes. We were told that God had cursed them from white people to black. 

My blood boiled.

I raised my hand knowing I may never see that CTR ring. “Doesn’t God Love All The Little Children of The World…Red and Yellow, Black and White, They are Precious in his Sight?”

My First War Over Religion began.

I’m not sure what the teacher said but the kids whirled around to stare. My Audacity was front and center demanding to know if the CTR ring was real in what it meant. “Isn’t that WRONG?!” My mind had started to buzz again. And then I couldn’t hear or remember anything.

That night at dinner, my family talked about what happened. I remember my mom saying “when you grow up and get married, it doesn’t matter what colour of skin the person has, as long as he or she treats you well and you are happy, that is what matters.” And Dad said “Yep. That’s right.”

Weeks later back in Primary, to my disbelief, I got my CTR ring in crinkly plastic. I took it out of the plastic and tried it on various fingers until it felt Right.


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