We lived in our nice big house with the big backyard for several years. Anna and I played with a few children from the neighborhood and were constantly in and out of each others homes. There wasn’t much traffic in the area just the occasional car and that belonging to someone who lived close by, so our parents were not worried about us running back and forth across the street.
One day Anna and I were playing with our friends across the street, and Anna said she was hot and thirsty. We were in Anna’s best friend Grace’s house when she spotted a glass of water sitting on a counter in the kitchen. Being really thirsty, she grabbed it and gulped it down. All of a sudden she started screaming and waving her arms around! Grace’s Mother ran into the kitchen and knew immediately what was wrong. Anna had taken the glass of bleach that she had left on the counter. She was going to put it into the washer with the laundry but was waiting for the right cycle. Anna kept screaming and no one seemed to know what to do!
I ran home to get my Mother who usually knew what to do in an emergency. Mother came running back with myself right behind her. Grace’s Mom and Mother went right to work, one calling the doctor and the other giving Anna a milky substance to drink. Anna stopped screaming but the tears were streaming down her face as the mothers hovered around her. The doctor got there soon thereafter, and said that they had done the right thing. He said to continue having her drink the milk and prescribed something else for her to take. He also assured Mother that Anna had done no permanent damage as she had only taken a few sips before realizing it was not water. After thanking the doctor, Mother took Anna and I and headed home, to where Joan was sleeping peacefully in her crib. Mother sank into the couch and sighed wishing she could just go to bed and pull the covers over her head. But there was dinner to prepare and three children to look after.
Things seemed to calm down after that and they settled nicely into their new home and except for some tension between Mother and Father about him and his friends doing the Charleston on the dining room table at the Christening, things were back to normal. Paddy was working on a regular basis, the children were doing well and as for Mother, well, she had her hands full.
They enjoyed the peace and quiet right up until it wasn’t there anymore! Paddy came home one day and said there was talk of layoffs at work. He was afraid he would be one of the first to go since he really had no seniority, meaning tenure. Also, he told Mother that he was expected by the powers that be, to vote Republican in the coming election. And being that he was a staunch Democrat, he had told them where to go! So he thought his chances of being among those laid off to be pretty good.
To be continued.