Monday, September 13, 2010

The Story: My 12th Birthday

Would you look at that picture!  Oh, my!  My father has not changed a bit.  Thank God, I have! 

Before reading this post, you need to know several things:
  1. My father was an assistant pastor at a large church in Staten Island, New York. 
  2. While he was employed at this church, we lived on the second floor of a two-family church parsonage (a home owned by the church where it's staff is able to live at little to no cost). 
  3. This home had a huge basement and our side had a little room that Faye and I turned into our "clubhouse". 
  4. I loved playing the piano and practiced all the time (haven't played in so long...). 
  5. As a child I was afraid of the dark (yes, I am willing to publicly admit that).
Occasionally, if all of my schoolwork was done, my father would let me go to work/church with him.  I loved helping him at church.  In fact, my dad called our family his ministry team since we would do things to help him.  On different days you could find me making photo copies, folding church bulletins (there was a cool machine we ran the paper through), helping the church librarian file books, rubber stamping the back of the tracts that would come in, and helping stock shelves in the church bookstore.  I was always excited when my parents said I could go to work with Dad. 

My parents used this little thrill of mine to their advantage.  On my twelfth birthday, my Dad asked Mom (in front of me) if I could go to work with him.  She thought about it, said yes, and we were off.  When we came home that afternoon, Faye said that she wanted to play in the basement.  Usually, we always went to play together, but since I had not been home all day, I really wanted to play the piano.  When Faye asked me if I wanted to go down to the basement, I just said no thanks and continued practicing.  It didn't phase me that Faye, who didn't like going to the basement alone, went anyway (I was so gullible then). 

My mom told me that since I had been at work with Dad all day, I really should go down and play.  I told her that I would rather practice and not play (I was grown up now...woohoo we are old at 12!).  Mom then asked me to go to the basement and get Faye because she was needed upstairs. 

I went down to the basement door, but when I opened it, the lights were not on.  There was no way I was going down there with the light out!  And why would Faye stay in the basement, with the lights out! This didn't make any sense.  I called down to Faye to come upstairs, but no one answered.  I went back up the stairs and told Mom that Faye must not be in the basement because the lights were not on and she wasn't answering me. 

"Oh, I think she is in the clubhouse."  Mom said. 

Now I knew that could not be possible.  We were both afraid of the basement, and neither of us would go into the clubhouse without the other (basements make strange noises when your sister or parents aren't around).  But since Mom said that was where she was, I went down into the dreaded, dark basement.  I think I quoted verses the whole way into the clubhouse. 

When I opened the door, the light turned on on its own, and there was a loud, "Surprise!" from all of my Sunday school girl friends who were hiding in the clubhouse with Faye! 

After my loud scream, slamming the clubhouse door, and bursting into tears from sheer fright, my parents called us up the stairs for my birthday party.  I don't remember what we ate, what kind of cake I had (the picture only shows the outside but not the flavor), or the names of everyone in the pictures, but I do remember how happy my parents looked seeing me enjoy my party with my friends and how happy I was that my parents had taken the time to plan such a great memory for me. 

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