Marianne was twelve and her brother, Manfred, was four growing up in 1947 Germany. Getting all dressed up for a nice dinner in a restaurant with friends, Manfred looked cute in his tan and white vertically striped short sleeved shirt and matching short pants. A Bavarian feathered hat sat jauntily on his head. Needing a few more minutes to get ready, his mother sent him to wait outside on the step for a few minutes. Manfred happily hopped outside in the sun and they closed the door. One minute later, Manfred knocked to get in. He stood there dripping from head to toe in black, gooey mud! It seems there were these two boards covering a large mud puddle just waiting for someone to jump as high as they could and come down on the pivot, creating enough muddy water to keep ten pigs happy.
A call for Manfred to dinner usually got answered from a height. He loved to climb trees, shredding his cotton shorts to resemble a beribboned skirt. The standard question, “Did you wash your hands?” prompted Manfred to approach the dribble of water with two extended fingers, dabbing daintily at his cheeks, all the while grumbling to himself that whoever invented washing should be punished. At the dinner table, Manfred`s sudden jerks and wiggles alerted his mother to the fact that Manfred liked to collect small animals. A demand for him to empty his pockets revealed nails, stones, bits of paper, crickets, and even a salamander. It was this pet of the lizard kingdom that caused the tickles and squirming at the table. Wringing every bit of use out of the salamander, Manfred gleefully poked it in his sister`s face making unlikely lizard noises. This demonstration was met with satisfying screams and overturned chairs.
On another occasion, Marianne was ordered to take Manfred with her to the movies. A previous experience caused her to make sure he didn`t have to go to the bathroom before they left. Manfred insisted that he was fine and didn`t have to go. Halfway through the movie, `Gaslight`, at the scariest part, Manfred whispered that he had to go. The rest rooms were located far at the other end of the building so Marianne ordered him to hold it until the end of the movie. This was not to be when suddenly Manfred shuddered in a high voice and warbled for everyone to hear, “Now it`s in my pants!” It was many years until Marianne finally saw the end of `Gaslight`.
Retired portrait photographer. Comments wanted.