So. Back to the TMI childhood stories.
Like I said at the end of the last one, my little brother wasn’t immune to Cupid’s prurient influence either, despite his tender age of five years. To be fair to him, I’m sure that he was more interested than he would have been if he didn’t have an older brother who was at just the right age for that kind of exploration. Older brothers also tend to influence musical and cinematic preferences, and my brother probably wouldn’t have been interested in heavy metal or British comedy if left to his own devices, but that’s neither here nor there. Suffice it to say that we both had a short period of time, well before puberty sexualized everything, during which we were very interested in nudity.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this is probably not the sort of thing you’ll want to read if you’re at work; although there’s no bad language, the subject matter may be inappropriate and you may get an eyebrow or two raised in your direction. If not, or if you’re prepared to fly under the radar, then gawd bless ya and off we go.
My brother and I liked to run around the house naked (especially after a bath; we’d wrap up in blankets and watch TV), we would swim naked, we would even dare our friends to run back and forth across our front yard naked. Sometimes they’d do it, and sometimes they’d chicken out and just take their shirts off or pull their pants down or something. Our yard was full of smallish trees, which were problematic for front-yard sporting events, but great for hiding behind if a neighbor’s car happened to drive by. Incidentally, the people who bought our house from us will never know the nudity-covering power those trees possessed, because they summarily removed every single one of them, and the white picket fences as well. They even ripped out the three trees on the opposite side of the yard so that they could pave a double driveway. Never mind that they could have easily kept all those trees and parked one of their behemoth cars on the street, or they could have bought two small cars, like we did, and parked them both in the driveway. But that, as they say, is a digression.
Speaking of digressions, here’s another one about that house. We had something like a quarter of a million cats when we lived there. Every time we’d adopt a new one, she’d have a littler of kittens before we could get her spayed. This happened a few times in a row, which meant that at any given time we had at least five cats, sometimes ten, and sometimes we even had as many as fifteen, in a small three-bedroom suburban house. At some point one of them started spraying, and once one starts the others follow suit, so before long the entire house reeked of cat spray. The garage bore the worst brunt of it, after the offending felines were banished from the inside of the house. There was the telltale foot-high ring of dripping spray marks around the entire perimeter of the garage. We did what we could by scrubbing and power-washing, but nothing seemed to work, and the smell was overpowering, particularly in the heat of summertime.
I told you that story to tell you this one. Six or seven years after we moved out of that house, I was working at a video store, which was the largest in town. I worked there for long enough that I made some really good friends during my tenure there, and I got to know many of the regulars personally. One day someone came in who I didn’t recognize, so I asked to see her ID so that I could set up an account for her. I instantly noticed that her address was MY old address, and I said, “No way, you live at my old house.” She gave me a very strange look and took about one second before blurting out, “Do you know anything about cat pee?!” You could tell she’d been living with that disaster for years, and praying to every god she knew that one of us would inadvertently walk into the path of her car one day. With a herculean effort, I restrained a smile and said, “Uhhh. . .I was just a kid when we moved. I don’t remember anything about pee.” I could see that she didn’t quite believe me, but she couldn’t really do anything about it, and I certainly wasn’t going to go into any more detail with her. Sometimes the best thing to do is play dumb.
See what I mean? Also a digression.
My two favorite nudity stories about my brother involve two different girls. My second-favorite involves GirlUpTheStreet, otherwise known as WonderWoman (cause remember, I was her Superman). To get back to the subject of trees, we had two crab-apple trees in our yard, and both of them had branches that were just the right height for kids to climb. The one next to the sidewalk had one particular branch that was strong, flat and smooth, and about five feet from the ground. This made it perfect for doing chinups, or for hanging upside down, or climbing up higher into the tree. One day, GirlUpTheStreet was down at our place hanging out. She and I were ‘married’ by this time, and she was hanging upside down from that branch with her pants unzipped a little and her shirt sort of slid up, thanks to gravity. I was climbing on a nearby branch, when my brother came out of the house and saw her. Before he even knew what he was doing, he ran over to the tree and made a grab for her pants, trying to unzip them the rest of the way and pull them down. She half-screamed and half-laughed and tried to twirl away from him but it was to no avail. She fell on the ground, laughing, while he tried to unzip her pants. My dad saw what was happening, and came outside to put an instant stop to what he was doing. “[BROTHER]! Come in the house right now!!” My brother sheepishly walked in and got the speech about how We Don’t Do That To Girls and about how When You Pull Your Pants Down With Someone, It Means You Love Them. I wasn’t in on the first discussion, but I seem to remember being in on the second. Perhaps my chronology of these stories is amiss somehow, and I’m jumbling part of one with part of another. In my defense, it has been over thirty years since these events transpired, so I suppose the occasional memory lapse is inevitable. Either way, these stories are all true, and let’s hope they make for some compelling reading.
All that being said, here’s my favorite ‘romantic’ childhood story about my brother. Every once in a while, he liked to sleep naked. I don’t remember doing that very often myself (and for the record, I still don’t do it very often), but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I just remember that was one of the things he liked to do, and he would do it pretty regularly. One day, a group of us from the neighborhood was playing outside in the yard, and Brother suddenly decided he wanted to go inside and take a nap. As I also mentioned in the previous entry, there was a Mormon family who lived next door, and their four-year old daughter was a year younger than my little brother (and still is, presumably!), so she found him completely fascinating. A couple minutes after he went inside, she went in to look for him. He had whipped his clothes off and jumped into bed, when all of a sudden, YoungestNeighbor appeared at his door.
“Hi, [Brother]. Whatcha doin’?”
“Taking a naked nap.”
“Oh. Can I take a naked nap with ya?”
She pulled her clothes off, climbed up into his little bed (which at that time would’ve been the lower of our two bunk beds) and snuggled up next to him. “Ooooooh, you’re warm!” she cooed.
I seem to recall that my mom found them and very gently explained to YoungestNeighbor that she should come back to play some other time, when Brother wasn’t resting. I don’t think she blasted her out of the water the way she had done with my conspiratorial friend who wrote BELLYBUTTON and BAGINA on our patio in crayon.
That’s my favorite story of my brother, at least in this context. My absolute favorite will be entitled “One in a Million”, and will need to be told before too long here on BFS&T. But it won’t be today, because A) that story involves a cassette tape that I need to find first, and B) it’s not relevant to the topic at hand. As I’m sure you’re very much aware, I’m nothing if not fastidious when it comes to remaining on-topic.
Speaking of topics (Do you like how I seamlessly worked that in?), there is more to come on this one very soon. To be continued.
P.S. – I don’t know why it never occurred to me until just now, when I abbreviated the name of this blog – BFS&T – it reminded me of turn-of-the-last-century railroads, which made me laugh a little bit. Not uproariously, or even out loud, just a tiny little bit, and just to myself. Anyway.
To be continued.
P.P.S. – The title of this entry comes from an excellent song by The Hollies.