Tuesday, January 4, 2011

For My Daughter, Lisa (06/25/1996)

The Story of Pie

Lisa Danielle Coyle. Youngest of four.

At first she was Dani. From the time she was born till she started school. Because Jerry and I thought Dani was a cute nickname for Danielle. We liked the idea of having a little girl who was kind of a tomboy so that was another reason we liked the nickname. And she was. Independent too. Jerry called her his little terror and said she bossed him and everyone else around.

She became Lisa when she started school because the teachers called her by her first name and we gradually got into the habit also.

Being the youngest, she always wanted to do whatever the older ones were doing. Often, too often as far as Caryn was concerned, I made her take Lisa along when she played with her neighbor friend, Mary Ann McGowan. They got even, of course, by teasing her and putting her up to stunts (like the Bea Olmstead affair recounted below). And they made up their own nickname -- Lisa-Piece-A-Possum-Pooh. Except when they said it around the family, they changed it to Lisa Pizza Pie. Then the boys picked up on that and for a variation called her Izza Pizza Pie. When she was little, this made her mad and she would cry from their teasing.

Eventually, her brothers and sister outgrew their need to tease her this way and she became Pie, The Pie, and most lately, Her Pieness. It had, finally, become our affectionate nickname for her and eventually she understood and accepted it that way too.
But before that she was . . .
The Delinquent of Huntington Woods

Too frequently, I suppose, it fell upon Caryn to watch and/or play with her little sister. Much to her chagrin. But she and Mary Ann devised ways of getting even. As previously referenced in the Lisa-Piece-A-Possum Pooh story.

This is a story about the time they got her to go over to Bea Olmstead’s house, knock on the door, and say, "I Hate You."

Bea Olmstead lived directly across the street from us. She was a retired school administrator. She and her husband had been teachers early in their careers. Mr. Olmstead had been dead for years. Bea still perceived herself to be an important part of her community. She had teas and entertained often. Always had Open House at Christmas and other holidays.

One Sunday afternoon when she was having company, she came over and asked the kids to move their toys out of our front yard and lawn because she thought it looked unsightly for her company. (!) (?) When the kids told their dad, he promptly had them drag every toy they owned (as well as those from the neighbors) out to the front yard, of course!

This particular incident occurred when Caryn and Mary Ann told Lisa, who was just past two, to go over to Mrs. Olmstead, who was working in her yard, and say, "I Hate You."

Naturally Lisa did it. Twice! Because the first time, Mrs. Olmstead ignored her. So they sent her back. The second time Bea grabbed her up, shook her, and yelled at her.

Mickey McGowan, Mary Ann’s father, just happened to be outside in his yard and saw the incident. He lived two houses down from Bea. Although he surely couldn’t have heard what Bea said to Lisa, he saw Bea grab her and shake her and yell something. He was probably amazed that an adult would take offense at something a baby would say. He called or came over and told Bea to stop. They exchanged some heated words. Later Mickey came over and told Jerry what had happened.

Jerry waited until he saw Bea leave her house. I believe he confronted her in the middle of the street! He grabbed her arm and said, "Don’t ever lay a hand on one of my children again!" She threatened to beat him up. And he threatened to call the police.

Bea didn’t speak to us for over a year. Then one day she came over shortly after Jerry got home from work. He went to the door. She had a box of candy in her hands and said, "I’m sorry. Let’s be friends again." Jerry said, "No thanks. I prefer things just the way they are," and abruptly closed the door in her face!

---Excerpt from Tales From the Woods

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