the German explanation

from the 1960s, when I would have been reading it
from the 1960s, when I would have been reading it

When I was a little kid in Austin, my parents were friends with another couple named Ronnie and Doodie. (I have no idea what Doodie’s real name was, it’s all anyone called her.) They lived on Shoal Creek Boulevard, a lovely winding street that backed up against the creek itself. I used to think Shoal Creek Blvd was the longest street in the whole world. I loved going to their house because on the screened-in porch in the back was a giant cabinet filled with Highlights magazine, what seemed like an endless supply. OH how I loved Goofus and Gallant, and finding what was wrong in the picture, and reading the articles. When we’d go to their house I’d run straight to the porch and I never had any idea what the rest of the people were doing.

Ronnie and Doodie’s house was super, super, super neat. Like laboratory neat. I remember walking to the bathroom once and seeing their bedroom — the bed was made so tight you could probably bounce a quarter off it. Somehow I learned that they slept with their heads at the foot of the bed (even though it was made up correctly). When I asked why they did that, this was the explanation:

“Because they are German.”

beer PLUS head at the foot of the bed, I guess
beer PLUS head at the foot of the bed, I guess

WHAT??? Seriously? But it gave me the idea that if German, then head at the foot of the bed. When I met other Germans much later in my life I think I just assumed that they must sleep that way. And my dad’s paternal line came to the US from Germany, from the Bavarian region, so I don’t know if he just went along with my mother’s explanation because it was easy, or what. Who comes up with an explanation like that!

I can’t remember if they had any daughters, but they did have a son named Barnes who was the same age as my little brother, Sam. One summer afternoon we were there and I was on the porch reading Highlights and Doodie and Mother started looking for the little boys, who must have been about 4. Eventually they found them down in the creek with their shorts and underwear off, sitting in the water so the little fish could nibble at their little boy bits.  And boy did they get in trouble. Which I observed from the porch, with an orange-covered issue of Highlights in my hand. I decided the boys were Goofuses, and I, a noble Gallant.

If you know the sleeping habits of a German or two, I’d sure like to hear the truth on this subject.

It’s fly day for me, off to New York! Ciao, you bellas you. xo