Happy Birthday to my Partner in Crime

Today is my brother Fred’s birthday, and so I thought I’d re-post a two-fer today.  In part to celebrate Fred’s birthday.  But it’s also to re-post the actual fun Christmas party idea that my office does every year.  Because it’s great fun.

So happy birthday, Fred.  And thanks for being such a demonically fun big brother.

* * * * *

A Different Toy Story

Nobody suspects I would have done anything of the sort.  I’ve fooled them all.  Well, at least I’ve fooled the folks I work with.  And that will do.

You see, we have a terrific Christmas tradition at my office.  We have a party, yes, and it’s actually fun because we like each other.  And the highlight of the party is a gift exchange.   About two weeks prior to the party, we choose the name of a co-worker, and bring a gift for that person as if he or she were 7 years old.  We open the gifts and have a great time guessing who gave it to us.  Then the toys are collected and given to a local charity.

We have a blast, it’s for a good cause, and everybody tells their funny childhood remembrances of what we would have done with a toy like they got.

But it was awkward for me this year, because I got a doll.

She was a beautiful, blue-eyed doll with rosy cheeks and curly blond hair just like mine.  Any girl would love her and gently care for her.  Any girl would treasure that pretty doll.  Any girl would have given that beautiful doll to her own daughter to love, too.

Any girl but me.  Because for the most part, I hated dolls.  And for most of my childhood did anything to avoid playing with them.  Except when I was about 7.

Well, I guess I answered honestly when I said that, uhhh, yeah, I would have played with the delicate dolly.   And, yeah, I would have played with it when I was about 7 years old.  So yeah, the gift, umm, fit me.  I didn’t elaborate, though.

I didn’t, for example, tell anyone that the dolly would not have been happy with the situation.

I blame my parents, they bought that particular house.  I blame my brother. Me, I was innocent.  I was led astray.  I was forced to do it.  The fact that it was hilarious and became one of my favorite memories is completely irrelevant.

You see, the house I grew up with was next to the railroad tracks.  And naturally, because it was strictly forbidden, my brother Fred and I used to spend lots of time playing on the tracks.  We’d put our ears to the rail to listen for trains, and, once we were sure none were coming, we’d run across the tracks.

That was fun for part of the first summer we lived there, but hey we were 6 and 9.  We needed growth opportunities.

We flattened pennies until we had enough to lay track from New York to New Haven made entirely of smushed Lincoln faces.  For a while we would wait for a train to come and then hop across the tracks, trying not to trip and die.  Fortunately we both succeeded and outgrew our interest in that particular challenge.  We tried to flip the track switch so that the train would jump the track and go down our driveway instead of on towards New Haven.  But for some reason, someone had locked the switch, and no matter what we did, we could not get the train to go down our driveway.  It was probably just as well.

One day, I got home from a friend’s house to find that my favorite stuffed animal, an orange poodle won for me by my dad, was missing.  Naturally, I accused my brother of hiding it.

“I didn’t hide it, Lease,” he said.  “I played with it.  It was just sitting on your bed,” he said in that brotherly tone that indicates I was stupid for questioning him.

He walked into my room, grabbed another stuffed toy, my stuffed Pebbles doll with the plastic head, and said. “Come on.  This is really neat.”

Out we went, down to the tracks.  We waited and waited, putting an occasional ear to the rail.  Finally, Fred placed Pebbles on the tracks.  Like Pauline, Pebbles looked skyward.  Like Pauline, as the train approached, her feet wiggled.  Unlike Pauline, however, there was no rescue.

The train whizzed by sending the most delightful plume of stuffing up and out, way over the top of the train.  It was a hit.  We rushed back for additional victims.  All my stuffed toys and each and every doll met a sorry end.

We would have let Pauline go, though. Really.

As it turned out, today at the party, my boss had picked my name, and the doll was from her.  “Would you have played with a doll like her?” she asked, no doubt envisioning me dressing her up and playing with her like other girls.

“Absolutely,” I said, weighing the doll and imagining just how high up this particular doll’s stuffing would go.

* * * * *

Other stories where the birthday boy features prominently:

Generally Speaking 

Psst! Need a Christmas Tree?


Filed under Humor

31 responses to “Happy Birthday to my Partner in Crime

  1. Another fabulous story. Should I tell you a secret? Oh what the hell, I didn’t like dolls either. Ever. I would have done exactly the same thing, with evil intent and glee. I would have been the instigator though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never had a brother…maybe that’s why I’m so highly sensitive? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Classic brother. I’ve had my share of toy-destroying stories happy birthday to Fred!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great gift idea – I’m going to suggest it for my siblings.

    And the story with the beautiful, doomed doll sounds familiar. I had a baby doll who lost all of her hair and gained a markered-up face due to little brothers. Don’t you love ’em?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As long as it makes you happy. Play with your doll any way you like.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this on so many levels!!! I have two older brothers who were also great partners in crime. Brought back memories of so many “boy” adventures. Plus I also had dolls that came to tragic end at the hands of brothers. My youngest brother (the most vicious) once took my paper dolls, cut off their heads, drew faces, and strung them on my mom’s clothesline in the backyard.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think I remember this one, because it conjured memories of my own childhood dolls. Growing up only 11 months apart in age from my older brother meant we did everything together. Which also meant most of my Barbies were kidnap victims requiring rescue by GI Joe. Ugh. Not sure that’s any better for our gender than the Barbies themselves. But were I to play today, I’d change the script immensely!

    Happy birthday to your brother!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Glazed

    Funny story. Railroad tracks are great fun for kids.

    We lived by railroad tracks several times while growing up. And of course we played on the tracks. It was our favorite place to play. It was very exciting once, when a car got hit by a train at the crossing. There was actually a puddle of blood left by the tracks where the woman flew about 5,000 feet.

    My friend and I were once warned by the railroad authorities not to ride our minibike near the tracks. So we got up a petition and petitioned the railroad to change their no trespassing rule. It was my first experience at activism. And as usual, it was unsuccessful.

    Your story hits home, because I too have many fond memories of railroad tracks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What? We weren’t supposed to play there?!? We had so very much fun there! And I think there should be a club of folks who lived near and played on the tracks. Everyone had a blast!

      Your story is pretty horrible, though. I presume the woman didn’t make it.

      My parents sold the house the instant I moved out. On my last visit, I took one final walk along the tracks and found a severed dog’s head. I tried to find something to move it off the tracks with — a stick or something, but there was nothing close by. So I went further afield to find one and a train came. I didn’t go back.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glazed

        It was indeed, frightfully horrible for that woman to be killed. Which made it all the more exciting for my childish brain.

        A severed dog’s head is also pretty horrible. I think I would have thrown up. I don’t blame you for not going back.

        RR tracks are a great playground. Kids can test how long they can walk on a rail without losing balance. They can try stepping on the ties only, to see how long they can maintain that slightly uncomfortable pace. And they can feel how warm the rails have gotten, immediately after a train has passed. Great fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Haha! The parent in me though is horrified at what you guys did! Happy birthday to Fred 🙂 That’s a neat different take on Secret Santa you do there.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. … and I can’t leave without leaving this musical treat for you … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iS2rJbg1L5k … it’s a classic!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Happy Birthday Fred … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbW3aYRGDVU …. and little sis loved the railroad incident.

    Liked by 2 people

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