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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: We Always Had Fun at Home
By Sherry A. Jackman
05/30/08


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When the boys were growing up, we played and giggled with them. It seemed they couldn’t go to sleep at night until they had their giggles unlocked. I invented the Giddywump game, a tickle chant that caused hysterical laughter. This is a game where you kneel down on the floor next to a prone child about age 3 to 6 years old, and chant: Wump wump giddy giddy git your giddy git my giddy, wump wump giddy giddy, git your giddy git my giddy and then the chant changes to giddy wump, giddy wump, giddy wump wump wump, giddy giddy giddy giddy giddy giddy. While the chanting is going on, the chanter waves or wags their hands to each side of the child, both hands together for the first rounds of the chant, then one hand on each side as the last of the chant is done. At no time does actual touching take place, but the proximity of the kneeler to the prone lying child always produced a fit of giggles by our twin boys and often their mother, who was the inventor of this silliness.

The Giddywump Game came into our lives when the twins were around 2 or 2 ½. I was far too busy taking care of birth defects, working full time, and playing with boys, to keep a journal back then.

Other fun games were horsey, whereby either Mom or Dad was the horse and one or two boys, depending on size, was the rider, with photos showing them long tee shirt nighties.

Another fun activity was art time at the kitchen table. Family photos show the boys and Mom at the kitchen table, with Rod sitting on the table drawing, while Mom and Rand are sitting on chairs, creating their art. Later photos reveal Mom and the boys up in the tree house in our front yard’s birch tree.

Backyard photos show mom and the boys in the wading pool when they were 3 or 4. The dishes may have piled up in the kitchen sink and the laundry was often in a heap on the basement floor, but we never had diseases caused by actual filth. Our kids never suffered from empatigo (a skin disease common in rural Alaska), head or body lice, and we never had rats or roaches.

Since I spent time playing with our boys rather than obsessing over housework, son Rand told me how much he remembers the fun times we had playing together, that he never worried about the family home not being spotless. He knew his dad had insisted I work full time. For a while we even had paid household help, but still the clutter won, inspiring a poem entitled “Clutter Critters”.

Our house was even set on fire by one of the boys trying out cigarettes, in spite of being taken to Sunday School, Children’s Church, and Christian daycare. The next door neighbor lady took us in during the fire and the fire truck got there before the house was a total loss. It never dawned on me to shut the bathroom door where the fire started. I was so busy getting the boys and me out safely that the Parakeets were totally forgotten. We gutted the interior, repaired the house and moved on. We stayed in an apartment across town while the repairs were done before moving back in.

We resumed our games, planted a vegetable garden in the backyard, which was lovingly tended by Dad who was only working part-time and had assumed the household chores while Mom continued to work. After our precious neighbor, who took us in following the fire, built a garage which blocked out the sun, we didn’t get as big a crop of vegetables as before. Since Mrs. P.’s garden got most of the sun, she gladly shared her bounty with us. She was a good cook and each Christmas sent over a plate of baked goods from her native Czechoslovakia.

We returned to Washington when our boys were 13 and for a while they insisted Mom sit and play Rummy with them and their friends. We also had barbecues, family dinners, and quiet nights in front of the television with a good movie. We taught them to cook and do their own laundry and helped with school work. They even became boomerang kids, moving in and out, but now Dad’s gone and Mom is in a small apartment, so they are on their own.


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This article has been read 341 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mary McLeary06/05/08
You did a good job of relating a busy, but precious time with your family. As a reader, I could feel your love for them.
Yvonne Blake 06/07/08
I like that name "Giddywump". That would make a good title. There's a lot of love in this story, plus a lot of little details that don't seem to fit in.
I suggest picking one or two incidents and focus on them.
Watch your pronouns. You seem to jump from one POV to the other.
These are good memories.
Keep writing.
Patricia Turner06/10/08
I was dizzy with the busyness of this piece but the fun and love were wonderful!