Sunday, 28 July 2013

A girl named Stinks


I recently went looking for pictures of me as a kid and I found only a few of them.
That's because my wartime Dad died when I was eight months old and a) my mother had no one to whom she could send pictures b) she probably couldn't afford the film and c) she sucked as a photographer. Why did everyone back then take "point and shoot" literally?
I mean, couldn't she have just come up a little closer?
I suppose she was artfully looking for a nice wide shot that showed the bleakness of the tapestry that was our lives. Or she wanted to get the house in the picture.
There were great pictures of my bros, cute ones, and tons of pictures of my mom and relatives.
Not me.
I was sort of like the little girl with no face.
This picture is of me and my neighbor Ron Houtby, or Renald the Pig as he was monikered.
The Houtby boys all had nicknames like that, except for Ron's older brother Tom who was a bad dude. He would have leveled a can of whoopass on the neighborhood kids if they had even tried to give him a nickname.
The other Houtbys, in order of prominence, were: Dave (Egghead), Ralph (Pussy) and Mark (Squeaky). My brothers were Bob (Scab) and Gary (Gert or Gertrude).
Egghead was named for the shape of his dome, obviously. Ralph got Pussy because he let his cat have kittens in his clothes drawer. Squeaky, I suppose was named for the unique timbre of his voice.
Me, they called me Stinks.
I was mortified and cried whenever they called me that in public.
That fucking name followed me all through school.
When my Uncle Ivan died five years ago, my cousin Roy (Skip) came up to me in front of my brand new husband and said: "How ya doin', Stinks".
I could have brained him.


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