Our house is well-equipped in the closet department. There is a place for everything, but everything is not in its place. In theory, our basement should be empty — in theory. Despite all this storage area, we still have an “everything closet” filled with linens, photos, computer parts, Christmas wrap, games,  and stuff we don’t know what to do with — you get the picture.

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About once every five years, Glenn and I pull all the stuff out of the “everything closet,” throw half of it in the trash and reorganize what’s left. I firmly believe domestic goddess, Martha Stewart, would proclaim proudly, “And that’s a good thing.”

This closet cleaning story took place a few years ago, when we owned and lived at Monk Funeral Home in Bobcaygeon. Glenn and I were emptying the “everything closet” when everything screeched to a halt. My eye spied something I had forgotten I had. Could it be true? Was it really what I thought it was? There was only one way to find out. I grabbed it. My eyes welled with tears and a giant lump filled my throat.

And what was it? A cracker box. Huh? What’s so special about a cracker box? In this case, everything. What was inside the cracker box? An old set of dominoes. Who cries about dominoes? The dominoes had belonged to my Great-aunt Adena (Gagie). So many memories tumblied out of that humble cracker box.

Come with me to the late sixties. Beginning in 1965, I slept at Gagie’s house because she did not like to stay alone at night. After supper, I ran the path to her house and we played school until it was time for me to go to bed. She tucked me in and told me an original, spellbinding, bedtime story.

Later in the evening, Mom hurried across the same path. The two women spilled all their gossip and then brought out the cracker box of dominoes. The set of dominoes went up to double six. Mom and Gagie had their own rules:

Nosy me, I tried to stay awake to listen to the chatter and to hear things that were news to me. I could not believe the juicy stories. Everything was going fine until one night I fell asleep in the middle of the story. I missed the ending which created a BIG problem. This is what I heard:

Mom: You’ll never guess who’s going to have a baby?
Gagie: (NOT REAL NAMES) Hazel? Viola? Myrtle? Hilda?
Mom: No, not any of them.
Gagie:   Ella?
Mom: Yep.

Ella was going to have a baby? Wow! I couldn’t wait to tell all my friends at school the next day. And at that point I drifted off to dreamland.

Later that evening, Mom must have told Gagie, that she was only joking. Ella was NOT expecting a baby, but by that time I was fast asleep. It was too late.

The next day at school I told EVERYBODY, including one of Ella’s children who was surprised to learn her mother was going to have a baby.

A few days later, Mom received a phone call from Ella? She wanted to know if Mom had heard any rumours about her. Mom had no idea what Ella was talking about. Eventually, Ella revealed that I had told her daughter that she was pregnant. Mom denied all of this and had no idea where I got my information. She apologized, everything was patched up and the whole episode was forgotten by everyone except me. I knew what I had heard.

It took years for me to piece together what MAY have happened that night. This is my theory:


I fell asleep after Mom said yep. They continued talking and later in the evening Mom told Gagie that she was only joking. Ella was NOT expecting a baby. Unfortunately, I was asleep and did not hear that part.

Can you believe that whole story jumped out of a dilapidated cracker box containing an old set of dominoes? I shudder to think of what would have taken place if I had opened  MONOPOLY,  PARCHEESI, or CLUE?
Don’t mention CLUE!   I was accused of cheating by my husband, son and daughter and they have never let me forget it.  As a brilliant detective, I have gathered enough evidence to build a case for strategy and not cheating, but who would believe me?

Once a cheater, always a cheater. Cheaters never prosper. The damage had been done. My reputation has been forever muddied.

Perhaps I should braid my hair, tattoo freckles on my face, change my name to Pippi Longstocking and sail away to a remote island halfway around the world where NOBODY knows about my past!