NaNoWriMo is hard, but fun! To write 50 000 words in one month is to write an average of 1666 words per day. So far my “book” is a rambling of stories. Here’s what I wrote yesterday…
Some of my friends have told me that I should turn my blog into a book. My friend Amy thinks that I should write a memoir. My mom thinks that I should write about her, and my dad thinks that if I continue to write about myself or my family on my blog then the FBI will come after us.
I’m going to take Amy’s advice and write a memoir. I figured that I would start simple: to write what I know. And I know about myself. I know about my life, because I’ve lived my life.
So since I have Amy to thank for this idea I think my first story will involve her. We met when we were three years old, grew up together on the same street, and have remained tight throughout various milestones
If there’s one word my parents would use to describe me as a child, it would be “mischievous.” Yes, Natalie the mischievous. She’s always up to something! Amy contributed to a lot of the mischief in my life (ha!) but the story that I’m about to tell is one in which she is a recipient of the mischief.
When I was a kid I loved to make prank phone calls. I was the prank call queen. (Ok – question: what’s the difference between a “prank” call and a “crank” call? Because when I was little I used to call it a “crank” call, but when I got older I resolved that “prank” made more sense. Also, I thought that “crank” was a slang word for drugs).
I had my own phone, probably since the time I was 7 (Yikes! Recipe for disaster!) It was a blue phone and the key pad was glow-in-the-dark when the receiver was off the hook. My friend Teresa and I would hide out in my room, push my bed over a couple of feet to block the door, and start calling the neighbourhood! Sometimes we would turn the radio up loud and pretend we were having a party while trying to shout our pizza order through the phone. The poor, confused soul on the other end would reply, “This isn’t a pizza joint!” while we would respond, “No! Not pepperoni! Bacon!”
I remember one time when I was making a prank phone call I made the mistake of dialing ‘0’ for the operator. She took my actions quite seriously and asked me sharply, “Are you playing with the phone?!” I was so flustered that I responded yes, hung up, and promptly unplugged my phone and put it in the closet where I promised myself that I wouldn’t use it again for a week.
That kind of guilt wears off pretty quickly when you’re a kid. Before long the thrill of the call draws you back. One day Teresa and I were hanging out in my room when we decided to unleash our greatest plan yet. Instead of pretending to order pizza, let’s really order pizza – and get it delivered to someone on our street – like my friend Amy’s house! Yes! This is ingenious! So I sat on my bed and fed information to Teresa, such as address and phone number, and she conducted the phone call with the good people at Pizza Hut who were unable to distinguish that the squeaky voice on the other end of the line belonged to a child under 10 years old.
We knew perfectly well what we were doing, and we felt very proud of ourselves when we ordered a large pizza with mish-mash of toppings and said we wanted to pay cash. That was the clincher. Teresa and I exchanged a mischievous look while I giggled and she maintained composure. The deed was done. Now we wait.
During those days all the kids on our street used to congregate at someone’s house after dinner. That night it was our house, and when Kurt, Amy’s older brother, walked up our driveway I just had to know what he had for dinner! And so I asked, in a not-so-discreet manner and with a huge smile on my face: “What did you have for dinner Kurt?”
“It’s the strangest thing! We had pizza! Someone ordered it for us.”
“Nooooooo way! I bet I know who did it!”
My brother’s listening to this conversation and by now has picked up on my mischief. “You idiot,” he said, “You did it! I’m telling mom and dad.”
I scramble to the front door and try to convince my brother not to tell, but by now all the kids at our house know I’m an evil brat who goes around ordering pizza. Teresa is sent home and regales the events to her parents, purposely leaving out the part where she was involved. It was years later when they actually learned that she was the one who made the phone call.
Needless to say, my parents aren’t very happy with me. They make me apologize to Amy’s parents, Jim and Pam, and pay for the pizza with my own money. But by now I’m sobbing, I’m so embarrassed, and I don’t want to walk up to their house and apologize!
So my dad tells me a story to try to convince me to do the right thing. He tells me about when he was a little boy and he was playing baseball with some friends. Somehow he managed to break his neighbour’s window with the ball, and when he went to apologize the man was so pleased with his honesty that he gave my dad a bag of candy.
Naturally the way my young mind understands this story is that “sorry” equals candy, so I straighten my shoulders and with new resolve walk up the road to Amy’s house, now knowing that there will be a reward for my actions. Candy.
There was no candy. And by the time the screen door opens and Amy’s parents walk onto the porch my mom and dad are standing on either side of me holding me up as I try to apologize through wailing and thrashing. I think they were entertained.
Not only that, they were extremely gracious. I don’t even think they accepted my money. And I remember them saying something to the effect of, “Pizza was such a nice surprise!”
That’s just the kind of people they are. And continue to be. A wonderful family. We lived for 23 years on the same street and I would without a doubt consider them my second family. I’m glad that the pizza incident (or the various bits of mischief that followed!) didn’t change our friendship.
So there is an excerpt from my mischievous childhood days. MUCH more to come!