In case it wasn’t enough to have to deal very carefully with our mother Mary, we also had to walk on eggshells around our father’s second wife Beatrice. We learned right away that the wrong word could send Beatrice into her bedroom with the door slammed loudly. If things were particularly distressing to Beatrice, twenty seconds after the crash of the door slamming shut, we would hear a soft “click” as she locked up her bedroom door for the evening.
Other times, our dad would suggest an outing to one of our favorite beaches called Lake of the Woods, and we would all be running around trying to get ready. Suddenly, one of us kids would say something like
I want to sit in the front seat of the car.
and Beatrice would blow up.
At home some nights, we would be enjoying ourselves talking and laughing in the living room, and she would yell
I can’t take all this noise!
Then she would disappear, you guessed it, into her bedroom.
On one night, Beatrice had already locked herself in her bedroom for the evening. My sisters and I were having some family time in the living room with our children. Diana (Sissy’s oldest daughter) was playing her little record player and three of the other little girls (Macy, Fiona and Raquel) were dancing. We were all laughing because that is what we do whenever we are all together.
Around 8 p.m. Beatrice suddenly came racing out of her bedroom yelling
Do you hear that loud rap music?
At first we wondered if she had lost her mind, but we quickly realized she was pointing at the building next door. The building next door was an apartment building that had been a point of contention ever since she and Dad moved in. On one occasion, Beatrice had ordered a pair of very expensive shoes, and when they were delivered, she was not at home. The UPS person left the package next door and that was the last Beatrice heard of her shoes. Now Beatrice happened to wear a very large shoe, and thus she was convinced that one of the MEN living next door was wearing her shoes!
Beatrice had exquisite taste in fashion, and I am positive that we would have noticed any male walking around in a pair of her gorgeous, expensive 6″ high heels.
That is but one of Beatrice’s experience with the apartment building next door and its residents. As a result of the shoe fiasco, she put a big note on the front door saying
UPS Never leave any packages next door. Under no circumstances are you to leave any merchandise next door!
Anyway, back to the rap music, none of us could hear it. Of course, the record player and our own very loud conversation could have been the problem, though she kept pointing toward the apartment building next door. Beatrice ordered all of us to be quiet, and we still couldn’t hear it. Next, she ordered Diana to turn off the record player. Then suddenly, with all of us absolutely silent, we could hear a faint sound of music. So low was the sound that we heard that we could not be sure what type of music it was or even which direction it was coming from.
See. That music is much too loud! We’ve got to make it stop.
We stared at her with our usual confusion. What could we do about rap music that could only be heard when we were all still? That was one of the problems with Beatrice’s reasoning—she was often disturbed by things of no consequence. She frequently told my dad to “make the wind stop.” This baffled everyone, including him, because she was not joking. More importantly, why should we stop having fun to enter into the Far From Normal world of Beatrice?