Shook Us All Night Long

This month’s 12 Ancestors in 12 Months writing challenge, “Social,” proved to be more difficult for me than one would anticipate. Seriously, how hard can “social” be? Everyone socializes at least once in their lifetime, right!? However, with our ancestors, I know more about their lives on paper than about them as people. After several days of wracking my brain and pounding my head, I realized that I was overthinking the May writing prompt.

Once I paused and took a breath, instead of looking to the distant past for inspiration, I began to reflect on my own social events; times when my family and I gathered from near and far to celebrate milestones and each other. Here is one of the more memorable “social” occasions of my life…


It was the first week of June of my senior year of high school. I was standing at the end of one life path, ready to step onto the next. Graduation was only a few days away, and I was both excited and apprehensive about the next leg of my life’s journey. Although I was thrilled to leave childhood behind and walk toward adulthood, deep down, I was afraid. What if I am no good at adulting? Why can’t I stay a child a little longer?

As I stood in the airport, contemplating my uncertain future, the puddle-jumper carrying my grandmother and great-grandmother touched down on the tarmac. The plane slowly taxied to the gate where we stood. As soon as the plane came to a standstill, my mother gave the go-ahead, and, like hyperactive puppies, my sisters and I gamboled out the door, bouncing excitedly at the base of the airstair, waiting for the grams to descend.

The first one down the stairs and into our arms was my mother’s mother, our beloved Grandma. “My little angels!” she gushed, gathering us all into her arms. I could have stayed like that forever, but we still had another gram to greet. Great-Grandma stood at the top of the stairs, her hand lightly placed on the rail as if waiting to make her entrance. She descended, slowly and gracefully, like an aging actress accustomed to attention. When she got to the bottom, we gathered her tiny body close, as she whispered sweet words in our ears. I was surprised as to how small she seemed, but then I realized that she was no smaller than she had been, I was just much bigger. Again, I was reminded of how things were changing, whether I wanted them to or not.

The grams’ luggage, oversized and overstuffed, was placed in the back of the station wagon, wedged between the tailgate and my two middle sisters, who occupied the space between. The rest of us piled into the front and back seats, squishing together like sardines with my littlest sister perched on my great-grandma’s lap. A cacophony of conversation soon commenced. Although typically I abhor chatter, I was comforted by those overlapping conversations.

Once we arrived home, Grandma and Great-Grandma took up residence in the bedroom shared by my one sister and me. (Sis and I would be camping out in the living room that week.) Great-Grandma asked my sister about the handsome men hanging on her walls. Sis proudly proceeded to expound on the many merits of Duran Duran. Great-Grandma listened serenely, bless her little heart. Meanwhile, Grandma, who was always a bit irreverent and who reveled in asking slightly embarrassing questions, was making me giggle and squirm simultaneously.

Over the next two days, we shopped for the “perfect” dress to wear under my graduation gown and went to the photo studio to get a portrait of the four generations of females in my matrilineal line. When we weren’t running hither and yon (the grams sure did like to shop), we were sitting around the dining room table, talking. It was during one of these gab sessions/laugh-ins that an especially memorable incident occurred.

It was the night before graduation and all through the house, the family was telling funny tales while the grams got soused.  (Okay, okay, facts checkers here. It looks like I might have taken a little, I mean a lot, of poetic license with the drunkenness “claim”, but, hey, it rhymes so well!  My apologies to my Grandma and Great-Grandma, God rest their souls…)

Anyhow, the ruckus was a bit rowdier that evening, thanks, in part, to the sea breezes and sole gin fizzes being sampled by the ladies. (My sisters and I were naturally exuberant.)

At some point, my two youngest sisters left the room. A few minutes later the elder of the two reappeared, standing in the archway between the dining room and the hallway. “Everyone, I have an announcement to make,” she stated. The rest of us quieted and gave our attention to my sister. “And now, for your entertainment, [the littlest sister] will sing and dance for you.”

The youngest, age three, stepped out, still clad in her pull-up and nothing else.  Meanwhile, the other sister had ducked back down the hall. A few seconds later, a familiar guitar riff reverberated down the hallway. The youngest air-played along before breaking into the lyrics:

“She was a fast machine. She kept her motor clean. She was the best darn woman that I ever seen…”

The ladies’ reactions differed greatly. Grandma was not impressed, turning to my mother and saying, “Do you see what she is doing?”, whereas Great-Grandma was as pleased as punch, saying, “Oh, would you look at her? Isn’t that dear?” My mother, in the meantime, was doing her best to hide under the table. Second Sis shook with laughter while I just sat, facepalmed. Meanwhile, Third Sis was laughing uproariously in the background. Mom was NOT amused.

By the time the youngest had finished the first stanza and was starting in on the chorus, my mom had had enough. She rose from the table and passed her hard-rocking toddler to her mischief-maker in the wings. A few seconds later, the music was killed. Thankfully, Sis was not.

The youngest, realizing that her performance was cut short, exclaimed: “But I was just getting to the good part!” Even Mom could not keep a straight face after that, and we all shook with laughter all night long!

Categories: This Is My Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Shook Us All Night Long

  1. Pingback: *Press This* Shook Us All Night Long #234 | Its good to be crazy Sometimes

  2. Pingback: New Year, New Challenge | Princes, Paupers, Pilgrims & Pioneers

  3. This is so priceless! Made me laugh, too. Thanks for the link to the earlier post about your life story. Quite a journey you’ve had. Sounds like you are on top of the world now.

    Liked by 1 person

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