My oldest sister Lily was a Chief Girl Scout. She wore a navy uniform with all these patches my mother had sewn on it with a big brown belt that had a whistle dangling from it. Her hat, she said, was called a beret. It was a French word. My sister liked fancy things. Sounded like a frog’s burp to me.
Every Saturday morning Sonia and I would get dressed in our Girl Guide outfits. We were called Brownies because our uniforms were brown. I called Sonia Fudgee-o which of course made her boiling mad. She boiled faster than water, eggs and milk.
« Hey Fudgee-o! Ready to go? » I’d scream from her porch looking in the window to see if she was ready.
« You little popsicle stick. Stop calling me that OR ELSE… » she’d answer all the while looking for her hat and waving that big fist in my direction.
« OR ELSE what? You’re going to rearrange my face are you? »
« You just wait and see…I’ll get you. »
OR ELSE in Sonia’s book meant that sometime during that day she’d sit on me, winding me good. If things went as planned, I would also have to promise never ever to call her names, EVER again. Of course she and I both knew I was lying but that didn’t bother her. Usually, she’d make me promise this when we were in the presence of another certified Brownie. She thought that the added humiliation would somehow enforce her demand but it never did.
One Saturday morning during a Girl Guides activity Sonia announced that she was having all her teeth pulled out the week just before Lent. That way, she said, she would never have to suffer the pain of going to the dentist’s to get her cavities filled. Sonia had invented preventive dentistry. Maybe I could have my heart pulled out. A chest cavity filled with lead would never cry.