There's an old saying that in Catholic families you have two kids and then they raise the rest. And there's some truth to this. At a very young age I had quite a bit of responsibility for my younger siblings and at times felt a bit overwhelmed and stifled by that reality. My mother felt some sympathy for me and in small ways tried to be responsive. Aware of my perennial desire to have my own room, which was not possible, my mother got creative and bought me a little cabinet with sliding doors and placed it on the shelf above my bunk. She explained to the other kids that this was my private cabinet and no one else was to open it. She tried to create some personal space for me as I was, apparently, the kid most bothered by our cramped circumstances. I was maybe 8 or 9 years old at the time and I remember a feeling of privilege in having my private little cabinet which I promptly crammed with the junk of a young tomboy. I don't remember there being anything particularly private about the things I chose to put in my cabinet, all I remember is that it was my space that the other four kids were not allowed to enter. It was my box of privacy in a house where there was virtually none.
Now the story I am about to share was not revealed to me until years after it happened and I recently confirmed the details with my sister Juls who is at the center of this little tale. And I think I should preface it with a brief description of my sister Juls. She was a shy, skinny, bookish kid who did what she was told, excelled in school, never talked back...she was my opposite, the good kid, the easy kid.
One day my sister Juls, uncharacteristically, decided to climb up on my bunk to see what was in my private little cabinet. She slid open the door and saw my GI Joe doll reclined on top of some other junk. Juls picked up the doll and for some reason decided to pull off the boot he was wearing. To her horror, she looked down to see the foot of the doll had come off with the boot. Convinced she had just broken him, she panicked and quickly put the GI Joe back in the cabinet along with the boot containing his apparently amputated foot. Juls then spent days quietly fretting and worrying about her crime, her sin, her violation of my private space and mutilation of my GI Joe.
|GI Joe circa 1972.|