The Snake Culprits

Or How We Got Rid of Great Aunt Gertrude

This post came out of a comment on Oscar-Schmoshcar, by Marissa of Tucker the Wunderkind: that readers would love to see a pic of me in white gloves.  Oddly enough the house just happens to be in complete uproar because we’re having work done.  Only an hour ago I found a box of paleolithic photos and thought: Huh. So that’s where I hid them.

I’m a year older in this photo, but it does rather sum it up. This is what my great-aunt Gertrude expected to see when she held court. Little gentlemen and a lady. Oh I’m wearing gloves all right.  That’s why my hands are behind my back.

Okay okay, I found  a photo in which my mother made the gloves show…backstory beneath photo.

Here’s the story: seemed easier to repeat it than link to it and tell you “read #7 if you want to know what the heck we’re talking about”.

When I was three, my older brothers draped their large, sleepy, king snake over my neck and shoulders, and convinced me I needed to go into the house to show Mom my new mink stole.  (Where my great-aunt Gertrude was holding my mother hostage under the auspices of a ‘visit’.) .  I had already been forced out of dungarees and a T-shirt for GAG’s visit, and was subsequently re-wallpapered with crinoline, lace socks, mary janes, and white gloves.

Even at three, I understood how horrified GAG would be, and how happy it would make my mother to get out of yet another lecture on proper house keeping.  I cheerfully skipped into the house: Morton curling his tail under my left arm and wrapping his neck around my right wrist.

“Look at my new mink stole!” I said, waving his head at great-aunt Gertrude.

Morton obliged by waking up and flicking his tongue out at her curiously.  GAG leapt up onto the Davenport in her high  heels, screaming.  I pretended to be confused.  My mother shooed me outside: my brothers greeted me with lifted eyebrows, and I smiled big in answer.   Shortly after, we heard the engine of great-aunt Gertrude’s Pontiac turn over.  My mother scolded me half-heartedly: what was I thinking, bringing Morton into the house?  I could have given aunt Gertrude a heart attack!

To punish us, my mother took us all out for ice cream.

10 thoughts on “The Snake Culprits

  1. You’re so fluffy. . . and lacey. . . and clean. . . and. . . you’re wearing a cute little hat. I must say Jane, it’s just not how I picture you. 🙂 And your brothers look just THRILLED about their suits. Such great photos! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Let me just say, fluffy, lacey, and clean was not my natural state. I’m afraid that is the daughter my mother hoped would stick around if she scrubbed long and hard enough. Poor mom.

      Other girls collected dolls. I collected rocks. And, um, bugs. She wasn’t too thrilled to find my snail collection when vacuuming under the bed one day.

      What? They were in a nice cardboard box with air holes and fresh leaves. The vacuum knocked the box over, unseen by mom, she went on cleaning the rest of the room, turned around and saw a slow snail migration emerging out from under the box spring.

      I always wonder what went through her mind. What do you think when suddenly 50 snails are crawling toward you en mass after you just cleaned under there?

    1. She was very cool. She was afraid of reptiles, bugs, small rodent animals (hampsters, guinea pigs, mice, rats, etc) and she made sure we had them. She didn’t want us to be afraid like she was.

      Little did she know she was creating monsters.

      Horses terrify her.

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