I wanted to write about my prime achievement as a kid, the time that I won all childhood street cred in one glorious day. That was the day that I convinced my little sister to eat yellow snow.
Now before you start thinking that I was a psychopath as a kid, a monster in pink feet pajamas, let me assure you that I was a reasonably normal big sister. I protected my three younger sisters from everyone else…but they were mine to toy with. I was a master of tricks and deception.
My next-youngest sister Andrea and I used to scare ourselves silly watching Dark Shadows in the afternoon and Creature Features, which was hosted by Bob Wilkins I think on Saturday nights. I haven’t watched Dark Shadows since I was a kid but I assume it was just as cheesy and silly as it seems today – I think perhaps we were easy marks for anything scary, and my sister was a lot more sensitive than I was. There was one memorable night when we were in our beds after lights out and I was whispering to her, reminding her of the show that we had watched earlier.
“What was that sound?”
“I didn’t hear anything, go to sleep. Dad is going to get mad if you keep talking.”
“There – there it was again! That kind of scratching sound, like fingernails or claws or something. Just outside the window.”
“I’m not listening to you.” My sister pulled the blankets over her head. She slept that way a lot.
Ok, the scene was set and I launched into a story that I’d made up entirely on the spot, something about a missing girl who had lived in the house before we did. She was never found, but there was talk that she’d been buried somewhere on the property. Maybe she was under the porch, down in the dirt with the spiders, just waiting for other girls here own age to move into the house. Thin and hungry, with huge eyes from being in the dark and long, sharp, filthy nails.
I don’t remember all the details, but it was a pretty good story. Andrea got more and more upset, and there were the inevitable sniffles as as it all went wrong (as it always did).
“Mom.” Quietly. “Mom! Moooommmmm!” Her cries got louder as I tried to shush her, but the damage had been done. I always, always went too far. The door to our room flew open with a bang and our Dad blocked the light from the hall in an angry silhouette. We were banned from watching Dark Shadows for several weeks.
The famous yellow snow incident was much more successful, in part because I don’t think Andrea ever told anyone (not that I blame her). I forget the story that I concocted to explain why there was lemon snow, delicious and cold, right behind our house. I also don’t know why my sister (who was admittedly very young at the time) didn’t question why I didn’t dig into the lemony treat before she did. Personally, I would have questioned an unexpected act of generosity and selflessness on the behalf of my evil older sister, but I suppose I’m just a suspicious type. But she didn’t.
I’ll never forget the feeling of 1) astonishment that it had actually worked, and 2) my feeling of utter, shining triumph that I had actually gotten her to eat it. I was the Queen of all bad kids and evil sisters. Although I would live in obscurity I would forever know that I had done this thing.
It’s all been downhill from there, really…