Born in the middle of the bunch, on Halloween, Beverly was cousin number four. Thirteen months later I made number five. Our positions in the family made us the overlooked pair. That was fine in our opinion because invisibility created the atmosphere for some outrageous adventures.
Our homes faced each other across tree-lined Bethel Boulevard. Close by was Grandma’s house, our sanctuary, a casual five-minute walk, unless Sandy Zuckley was outside with her miniature pony and cart, then it could take hours. “Gracious, girls, you had me worried,” Grandma would say, wiping her brow with a well-worn apron.
We learned that making it to Grandma’s house was an easy stepping-stone to going all the way downtown. “Here girls,” Grandma whispered even though no one heard, “get yourselves a little something,” she smiled, handing each a quarter. “Thanks Grandma”, we squealed! Quick hugs for our sweet granny and we were out the door, heading for town.
Spring had arrived! After being cooped up all winter the fresh air and scent of flowers was refreshing. Enjoying the day Bevy and I didn’t hurry, instead we leisurely strolled along, sporting new pedal pushers and kicking cinders. Tomorrow was Easter and we dreamed of the special treats we’d find at Woolworth’s.
“I’m spending my quarter on marshmallow rabbits!” I stated, dreaming of the luscious pleasure. “How about you?”
“No food for me,” Bevy stated ardently. Pausing to think, she then added, “Well, unless I have a little left over.”
“Okay…wait, what do you mean by ‘a little left over?’ What are you planning?” Bev had me going, candy was always her first choice and I’d have bet she’d be buying her usual handful of Mary Jane’s. What could she want more than that?
“I’d like some pink pop beads to wear with my new dress tomorrow,” she proudly stated, “mom wouldn’t buy them, and now I can, and maybe have enough for one Mary Jane.”
My mind raced…I never thought of buying something other than, Necco’s, wax lips or at least Cracker Jacks with a surprise. Jewelry, who wants jewelry?
Entering Woolworth’s we were greeted by the chatter of squeaky floors. Then, in a flash the scent of chocolate eggs, bunnies and chickens overpowered us. “Oh, I’m leaving here with chocolate no matter what Bevy chooses. After all, it’s an Easter tradition!”
Bev was leaning towards the pop beads while I aimed for the candy aisle and neither was winning. “What’s that I see? What are all those people doing in that aisle?” “Hey, Bev, let’s go see what’s going on down there!” I said, ending the debate.
Approaching the group we heard squeals of excitement. Then, right in front of us was the sign that changed our lives…”EASTER CHICKS AND DUCKS FOR SALE.” Poof, dreams of pop beads and chocolate vanished. We only had eyes for tiny yellow puffballs.
Thirty minutes later Bevy left Woolworth’s clutching a pink shoebox with her precious Easter duck inside. Walking beside her, beaming, with box in tow, I was ecstatic at the sounds of muffled peeps.
There was no stop at Grandma’s to show off our purchases, we needed to get our treasures settled in at home and introduce them to our families. “I’m naming mine Quackers” Bevy decided. I wasn’t quick to choose a name but finally replied, “I’ll call mine Fuzzy, because it fits!”
Dropping Bev off at her house and heading home I had a few minutes to make a quick plan. I remembered a big box that was in the garage and thought it would make a nice home. If I tell Mom I have a home for Fuzzy and that I will take care of her…well, she will just have to be okay with this!
Mom surprised me with, “If you PROMISE to keep her in your room I suppose it’s alright.” Reflecting back I think Mom knew the outcome all along.
Fuzzy was a little peeper! That night I didn’t sleep until early morning. Fuzzy peeped, peeped and peeped all night long.
The ringing phone woke me, “Donna…did you sleep at all?” Bevy asked as she yawned. “No.” I replied flatly.
What happened after that I don’t recall, but it happened quickly! Our dad’s, Bev, our peepers and myself were in the car and heading to a nice farm. We cousins slept all the way home, dreaming of pop beads and Easter chocolate.
…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NASB
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