“Oh no. That won’t be necessary.”
“We can manage. The girls are old enough to help now, and Rosie is in school half-days. This isn’t really necessary.”
Daddy sat down in a dining chair. I heard him sigh before he asked, “When do you plan to arrive?”
“Oh no! That’s too far for you to drive alone!”
“I don’t like this. It’s too far! If you feel you must come, fly.”
“Well okay then. I’ll worry constantly for the four days you’re on the road.” Daddy hung up, went into the living room and sat down beside Mom who was reading a book. I followed and slipped under the piano to see what Mom would say.
When Daddy told Mom Aunt Charlotte was coming to help her, Mom burst into tears and ran upstairs. Daddy shuffled off toward the TV room, which would soon be Aunt Charlotte’s bedroom. Again he made his announcement.
Devon jumped to his feet. His face and ears turned beet red and he screamed. “No! I hate her. She’s nosey and bossy.” He shoved me out of his way as he ran from the room and up the stairs.
Marissa snickered, “He’s afraid she’ll scare off his new girlfriend.”
Carolyn snickered and rolled her eyes and both of my sisters burst into giggles.
I tucked this new piece of information about a real, live girlfriend away for use at school. I could casually roll my eyes and say my brother has a girlfriend. That’s better news than Sheila’s dad’s new car.
School was tough because my best friend Ann Stanaway could read. I pretended to know how to read, too. As I thought about impressing the other girls at school with my brother’s girlfriend, I remembered Glenda saying her Aunt Bea was staying to help because her mother was going to have a baby.
The next day at school, I cornered Glenda. “How is your mother?”
“The doctor says she must to put her feet up and can’t pick up anything more than ten pounds, so she can’t lift Jason.”
I considered these comments. “My Aunt Charlotte is coming to help my mom.”
“Is she going to have a baby?”
Despite the fact that we had our heads together whispering, the word “baby” attracted a crowd of other girls including Ann Stanaway. I tried for discretion. “I’m not supposed to talk about that.”
The other girls nodded sagely, then Patty, who was a little slow asked, “How did your mother get a baby?”
“I could hear the room behind us grow silent.”
Again I fell back on the laws of propriety, “I’m not supposed to talk about that.”
Glenda who had more information answered, “The father puts the baby in the mother.”
Patty who had no concept that we don’t talk about some things persisted, “How does the father put the baby in the mother?”
I could tell that Glenda had reached the limit of her knowledge when she fell back on propriety, “Well, we aren’t supposed to talk about that!”
“French kissing, where the father sticks his tongue in the mothers mouth.” Tommy announced in firm tones of complete confidence.
I turned to see that the boys had snuck up behind us. Esau, elaborated, “Or sometimes it happens if the father just spits in the mothers mouth, or they drink out of the same cup.”
I remembered Mom tasting Daddy’s coffee and felt my eyes grow rounder.
At this moment, Mrs. White, our teacher came into the room, “What are you children doing?”
“Rosemary’s Aunt is coming to visit.” Glenda explained. Ten other heads nodded.
Lamely, I added, “She’s driving up one-oh-one from San Francisco. It’s a long way.”
Mrs. White’s eyes narrowed as she gave us The Look that said she didn’t believe us so we slunk to our seats silently in awe of Tommy and Esau’s vast knowledge.