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Rowdy and Ruckus 1968

With the dust roiling up in the air, my sister and I shoveled our piles of junk into the middle of the floor. It wasn’t long before we needed to throw open the windows and doors so we could breathe. We were hanging around the house at Ft. Niagara Beach, by ourselves,  under strict instructions to get that room cleaned up once and for all, or else! Or else, what? Probably nothing, really. But we knew we needed to get the job done. It would have been a drudge, had anyone stayed home with us to look over our shoulder, but thankfully, we had been deserted by the rest of the family.     

WKBW, our favorite radio station blared on full volume. We had to shout over it to hear one another.  As Aretha Franklin belted out,  R- E- S- P- E- C- T!  FIND OUT WHAT IT MEANS TO ME!“, we accompanied her at the top of our lungs.  There was something a little evil in our glee, knowing we must be bugging the heck out of our neighbors, especially Mrs. Steffan. We knew she was reporting my every movement to my ex-in-laws, and took special delight in giving her ammunition. They all seemed to think it would go in their favor for removing my kids from me. 

Once the radio began replaying the re-plays of the re-plays as they did on Saturdays, we turned it off and kept on singing as we picked up the clothes off the bedroom floor and separated the dirty ones from the clean. Then we carefully refolded the one’s Mom had just piled on our beds a few days before. Funny how everything had landed on the floor, with everything else. Well, we couldn’t help it. We were teenage girls. Or, rather, my sister was the teenage girl. I was the newly divorced mother of two, who wished she were a teenager again. Being with my sister automatically made me recapture being a teenager. She was full of energy and enthusiasm that I had thought deserted me, until I was around her.

We got a good rendition of “Amen” going traipsing around the house, clapping our hands, and swinging our bodies as though we were in a hot revival meeting. (I had never been to one before, but now, I know that is how we were acting).

Sorting out all the papers and trash was the easiest part. Anything that looked like schoolwork got trashed by wadding it up and giving a quick overhand heave-ho into the wastebasket. It didn’t take long to have it overflowing. Using the same method for sorting the dirty clothes we giggled and laughed maniacally. We both would have been great on a girl’s basketball team!

In the midst of our enthusiasm, we got carried away by the Four Tops, as we hauled the dirty clothes into the laundry room to wash. Energized, and no longer isolated to our room,  we decided to surprise Mom and clean up the whole house. So, we began cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. Then, singing louder over the vacuum with Diana Ross and the Supremes, we cleaned and straightened up the living room. Our voices getting hoarse, we changed to the Polish station that Mom’s friend, always Annie listened to. The rollicking polka music of the OOM-PAH-PAHed  as we grabbed each other and polkaed around the house until we grew dizzy, and tripped over furniture. We landed on the floor, laughing gleefully aware of how rowdy we were being and how it must be really annoying the hell out of old Mrs. Steffan next door.

What would she put into her spy report this week?


Note: The first picture is of my sister. The second one is of me.


  1. Elizabeth, I love the pic of you. There is such depth in your eyes and you look so very beautiful.



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