White House Stories

I don't recall many "bad" days in the white house. There were some interesting ones.

One of the most fun pranks we pulled was on an October afternoon when we must have been bored. Mom had left me "in charge" while she was out for some reason. Aboy was 4 or 5 ish. He was not bothering anyone but we decided it might be fun to dress him up like a little girl to fool Mom. Halloween must have been close to inspire us to go for it.

There was a new preacher at the church and we would tell her they asked us to watch the little girl while they had a meeting with the decons. Woohoo! We were off!

We dug through Arr's clothes to find something small enough to fit him. We settled on a little white blouse with a simple collar and pink skirt with white knee high socks and black mary jane shoes. That was the easy part!

We dug into Mom's make up for the next part. This was, of course, strictly forbidden. We added a little powder to lighten up his skin, a little eyeliner to make freckles across the bridge of his nose and cheeks, some mascara to darken his lashes and a light smuge of lipstick to add some pink to his lips and cheeks. Oh! he was CUTE!

The hair was a problem but we found him a bonnet then took some of Mom's old nylons and braided them, cut off the toes and shredded the end then taped them inside the bonnet! TA-DA!

We told him his name was Mary and he was supposed to be shy and quiet. We didn't figure he could change his voice enough. He practiced looking at his feet with his hands behind his back and twisting one foot back and forth on it's toe for shy. We quizzed him till he would just shake his head for yes and no.

Oh boy, we were ready! We all went outside to play. Everyone was watching for the car so we could run back inside when Mom arrived. We always ran inside when Mom got home to see what she brought. There might be treats!

As almost always since she had started working, Mom was in a hurry. The car came flying down the street and whipped into the driveway. The five of us raced for the house and beat her to the door which I held open for her.

With her arms full of packages she strode to the kitchen and dropped her load on the counter. Then she got busy putting away groceries and such. The girls waited for me to time it. They watched me for a signal. When she was almost done I said, "Oh, Mom?" in my best "good girl" voice. " The new pastor's wife came by and..."

She interuppted me, "Oh, No! Did she come in?"

"No, she was in a hurry," I continued, "She had a meeting with the decons and asked us to watch her little girl." There, we were in it now!

Mom's head swiveled around and she fixed on the bonneted but bowed head of the extra female child. "Hello, what's your name?" she asked.

"Her name is Mary," Vee spoke for "her" quickly, " and she's kinda shy." I nodded at Vee, good job!

"Well, Mary, it's nice to meet you," Mom stated and she went back to putting things away. "You kids can go play now."

We rushed into the dining room, biting our cheeks or tongues to keep from laughing. Aboy was so proud of himself. " I twicked her!" he said wth a little skip. We all shushed him in a panic that Mom would hear.

"Now what do we do?" Cee asked. We all looked at each other, thinking.

"We be nice to the new girl and play a game with her," Vee suggested.

"She's not dressed for outside games," Cee agreed.

"Candy Land!" Arr chimed in with her favorite game. Aboy was just learning to count and he wanted to play Sorry. He was the guest!

We rushed to set up the board and climbed up on the chairs around the dining room table, box in hand. We really started a game but were whispering to each other to quite giggling and stop laughing the whole time we waited for Mom to come in.

When she finally did walk into the dining room we were all very obviously being "nice" to the guest and playing politely. "Where's Aboy??" She asked me.

"He got tired so he took a nap," I replied.

"Oh. When did Mrs. Z say she'd be back?"

I glanced at the clock, it was about 4:00 p.m.. "About 4:30," I answered her calmly. I scowled at Arr because she was tittering behind her hand. She made a somber face and hushed.

Mom got in "tidy up" mode and went off to fuss with the living room for the company she expected. We all clapped our hands over our mouths and stifled.

"It's your turn, MARY," I said loud enough for Mom to hear and we kept playing and giggling.
Mom must have needed a dust rag from upstairs a few minutes later because she went by us headed that way. The alarm in my head for trouble went off loudly.

"QUICK! Everyone line up by the stair door!" I exclaimed. They looked at me funny but they all knew I could guess ahead better than they could so they did it.

"Line up" meant get in order from tallest to shortest. I think every photo of us ever taken had us "lined up". It was also the way Mom inspected us for church or special events before we left. She would look for last minute smugging or crumbs and tighten any loose braids.

I knew Mom would check on Aboy while she was up there. It's just what she did all day, track kids by last reported positon. We waited all in a row in front of the stairs, hands clasped in front of us and giggles making our shoulders twitch.

"VALLLLLAURE MARIE!" I heard her shout as she ran down the stairs. That sobered us up! The death cry! Aboy looked worried so I shot him a grin and he smiled back at me. "Keep your head down!" I reminded him. He looked at his shoes.

The door was flung open and Mom screeched to a halt as she hit the dining room floor and saw us all waiting for her. "Where's ABoy!"

This was it. All the kids watched me. "I looked her square in the eye and said, "Right here, Mom."

Her jaw dropped a little and she stared ate me. "Right WHERE?"

My lips started to twitch, "Right HERE!" and I pointed to "Mary"

We all started cracking up. We had REALLY tricked her! She wasn't pretending to be nice, she was FOOLED!

While we laughed it up Mom got down on her knees in front of Aboy, took him by the shoulders and LOOKED at him. He raise his head and grinned at her. She yanked the bow on the bonnet and whipped it off his head then did a double take when the braids that had been hanging neatly down behind his ears came off with the hat.

Well, we all thought it was pretty funny and had tears running into our mouths we were laughing so hard. Then came the back lash.

"What were you thinking! NEVER Ever dress Aboy like a girl. Boys do NOT were dresses! We all stopped laughing at the same time.

Mom was using the hat to wipe the makeup off Aboy's face while he stared at her, in shock at her anger. " I expect you to know better than this, go to your rooms!" she raged.

We went flying up the stairs to our rooms and settled down to try and figure out why Mom didn't think it was funny that we tricked her. We had no clue. Maybe she thought Aboy was kidnapped and got scared. Moms were strange when you scared them, we all knew that. We sat and worried what Dad would do to us when he got home for about half an hour.

When Mom told Dad about it that night as he got home we heard him laughing and he came to call us down for supper still smiling but he never said a word about it to us. Aboy came to the table looking like himself except for a little mascara at the base of his lashes that would have to wear off.

That was how we learned that pranking the Mom was a bad idea. We didn't do it again for a long time.

We really HAD tricked Mom and she felt stupid for not knowing her own son and getting fooled by a bunch of little kids. Since Mom started working shortly after we moved into the white house she was sensitive about being a "good mother". I wasn't capable of taking that into account then, but I am now so I know why our joke backfired so badly. Then, it just seemed like she went off the deep end for no reason.

We all still think it was pretty funny!

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