This post is dedicated to my sisters Becky and Ally.
Screaming and yelling could be heard coming from the girl’s bedroom. While this was not unusual (this is often how they communicated), they seemed a little more excited than usual. I walked into the room and discovered that they were having one of their ‘staple’ fights. The bunk beds. Though Alison was younger than Becky, she was the alpha girl, the king of the hill, or the keeper of the top bunk.
Bunk beds are in themselves a very clever invention. Instead of having the kids take up valuable space in the bedroom you could simply stack them up at the side! Like thousands of other North American kids, Becky and Alison went to war over who slept on the top and who slept on the bottom. Ally claimed the top early on and enjoyed the feeling of looking down upon her older sister.
Becky wanted her turn on the top bunk, but she lacked the necessary ferocity to ‘debunk’ Ally. Whenever Becky would make her claim to the top, Ally would attack with devastating rejoinders such as “Fine. I won’t be your friend.” or “Fine. I won’t play with you.” or in very serious situations, “Fine. You’re a p**p head.” Becky would be sent reeling with these zingers and would retreat to the bottom bunk like a wounded animal. Ally would lay back on her top bunk and sleep blissfully.
Back to the beginning though. As I walked in the bedroom, I noticed that Becky was not going to give in. Becky yelled at Ally to give up the top bunk. Ally began quoting Churchill – “We will never surrender. We will fight on the duvet, we will fight on the pillows, we will fight on the ladder. We will never surrender!” “GET DOWN” Becky replied. Ally leaned over the edge and said “Fine. I won’t be your friend.” This barb bounced off Becky like a Lilliputian cannon ball. “I said – get down!” I reflected that Becky needed some clever rejoinders of her own. There was an edge to Becky’s voice that I hadn’t heard in a while. Alison sensed this too, and realized that her other threats would be useless. Becky’s eyes were blazing like Gandalf the Grey. She reached up and grabbed the top bar. She pulled herself up and was now at eye level with Ally. “Get down!” snarled Becky. Ally was like an alley cat (get it?) backed into a corner. She was desperate with nowhere to go. Her eyes began rolling around wildly. In desperation she sunk her nails into Becky’s hands which were gripping the top rail. Becky let out a crazed scream as Ally’s claws sunk deeper into Becky’s paws. It was like watching a scene from the Lion King where Mufasa and Scar are fighting. Just as Scar sinks his claws into the paws of Mufasa and hurls him into the wildebeest stampede below, so to did Ally scratch Becky’s hands and throw her off the bunk bed. I ran to the bed in slow motion (for effect) and yelled nooooo! (also in slow motion). Becky plummeted to the floor. The fall was at least one foot. Instead of a swirling stamped of wildebeests, Becky landed on a pile of Barbies. Heads and accessories went everywhere.
Alison remained at the top.
The girl’s room was quite different than me and my brother Scott’s room. We had two beds and that was it (I may have had a few books as well). The girls’ room was jammed from top to bottom with barbies, dolls, clothes, lipsmackers, and hair accessories. They had power bars upon power bars filled with every sort of curling iron ever created. When the girls were doing their hair in the morning, a strange ‘cha-ching!’ sound could be heard from the whirling hydro metre. The floor was booby-trapped with ‘polly pocket’ figurines to ward off any unwanted intruders. The ceiling was filled with glow in the dark stars. Not only did they have the Big Dipper on the ceiling, but they also had constellations that spelled their names. I still catch myself looking for those in the night sky.
Dad was never impressed with all the clutter in their room, but then one day, Dad discovered the TV show “Clean Sweep”. It changed his life. “Clean Sweep” was a show about people who had way too much stuff. The hosts of the show would come into a house and drag all of the stuff out into the front yard into a giant pile. The homeowners would then have to sort out what they were going to keep and what they were going to toss. Dad loved the concept, but made his own version. When cleaning the basement, he would drag everything out into the backyard, make a gigantic pile and then instead of sorting through it, he would light it on fire. This was quicker and there was less drama.
On one of his days off, Dad was watching Clean Sweep. After the show was over, he walked by the girl’s room and saw a challenge. In no time at all, a huge pile developed in the back yard. Dad lit the pile on fire and gave a contented sigh. Life was good. When the girls came home from school that day, Dad was excitedly waiting for them by the door. “There’s a surprise for you in your bedroom!” he said proudly. The girls dropped their backpacks and ran down the hall. Dad rubbed his hands together gleefully. Dad and I heard the bedroom door open, and then two screams (which sounded like they came from Mordor) pierced the air. Dad’s confident grin weakened as I looked around for invading orcs.
“My diffuser is gone! What happened to my straightner! My hair amplifier is missing! What did you do with my follicle fertilizer!” Becky and Ally had dark looks on their faces as they stormed into the living room. “Surprise!” said Dad with little conviction. “I clean sweeped your room!” The girls looked out to the backyard to see a smouldering pile. The smell of melting plastic only confirmed what they were thinking.
It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without sisters. The house would have been much quieter, and we probably could have gone on exotic vacations with the money we would of have saved from the hydro bills. Life would have been very dull without Becky and Ally and all of the drama and excitement that accompanied them. I think growing up with my sisters has helped me deal with the drama and excitement that happens in the classroom on a daily basis.