Sunday, March 31, 2013

Homeless and Heartless?

So my grandchildren go to school and tell their friends two details about their family’s current circumstances:

They are going to be homeless.

Their younger sister broke her leg, cannot walk and has a cast.

Rumors began spreading like wildfire.

What happened to that kid? How could it have happened? Can the family not pay their mortgage? Are they in financial straits? What is going on?…

I suspect most of the rumors can be traced to something quite innocently expressed by the five-year-old kindergartener. She has an uncanny, inexhaustible ability to talk…and talk…and talk, a continuous fountain of babbling chatter. Adults who love her dearly learn to nod their head and occasionally say things like, yes and OK, but have long before nodded off.

It reminds me of the look Archie got on his face when listening to Edith on that iconic 1970s TV show All in the Family.

I had trouble downloading the video but follow the link and enjoy the two minute clip.

At the tender age of five the art of watching what one says and thinking before speaking is not yet refined. Many people never acquire the skill. 

Mom and Dad were away for a few days checking out their new house and neighborhood in a far-off state while Grandma and Grandpa babysat the two older kids. The second set of grandparents took charge of the youngest child. Two against two is fair; two grandparents managing three youngsters might result in chaos, confusion and the early demise of the elders.

Parents re-enter the picture and normal life resumes once more. Mom drives the two older kids to school. Grandma, still around (but on the way to the airport), remains in the car with the Baby with the Broken Leg.

Mom walks the two kids onto school grounds, greeting mom and dad acquaintances along the way. A few minutes later she returns to the car and declares,

“Everyone wants to see the Baby with the Broken Leg and her cast. And they want to know why we are going to be homeless.”

Leave it to kids and the gossip mill to stir things up.

Here are the facts, not nearly as exciting or intriguing as the gossip:

The family is moving out of town. Their house was sold and the new occupants plan to move in by early May. Mom and Dad want the kids to finish the school year in their current location. The new home, under construction, will not be ready for occupancy until July.

Therefore the family, technically speaking, will be homeless from May until July.

But not really.

They rented a furnished apartment for the one month remaining in the school term.

Most of the family will then fly east and stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s house until their new home is ready.

Meanwhile Grandma and Grandpa fly west. They will drive the family’s minivan, the dog (a golden retriever named Charlie), and their eight-year-old grandson on a cross-country adventure back East.

As for the Baby with the Broken Leg, she is doing fine. FYI -The accident occurred when the child was in the custody of the other grandparents. The leg is improving; 2½ year olds heal very quickly.

And that is the true, straightforward, unmodified story. Until the kids speak once more and rumors fly.


  1. The truth is hardly ever as colorful as a rumor. Or as funny. Your post gave me a big grin to start my morning.

  2. At first I thought this was going to be an April Fools joke. The reality is even MORE fun! :-)

  3. Funny how words take different meanings. Fun post with a great ending.
    A friend of mind became the subject of Child Protective Services when her youngest told a friend that his dad was going to "wear his brother out" when he found out the brother broke a window. "Wear his brother out" meant a long lecture. Rumors fly.
    Guess it is good that others pay attention just in case.

  4. I sometimes am afflicted with the five year olds need to share. Such a funny story though.

  5. My five year old granddaughter NEVER stops talking...and she sometimes doesn't get the story right either. Funny story.