“They did it again!” I shriek. Anything in flight fascinates my three-year old twin brothers, especially our family’s personal possessions flying out windows. Lying in the grass nine floors down is my fairy-godmother costume skirt.
I sprint out of the apartment and jab the elevator button, hoping no one will take my skirt before I get to it. A dash out the lobby doors, across the grass, the skirt is now safely in my hands.
Back upstairs, I see that my father has corralled my brothers and given them “a good talking to.” They sit on the couch, side by side, with their heads down.
“Flying,” they say as I angrily shake my skirt at them.
“No more flying,” I shout. “Not my clothes. Not my shoes. Not my books. Not Ma’s sweaters. Not Dad’s ties. Got it?”
Two heads sadly bob up and down.
I storm to my room, fold the skirt and hide it in the back of a dresser drawer.
After lunch that Sunday, we walk through the streets of our Bronx neighborhood, my father pushing my brothers’ double stroller, my mother waving to neighbors. We wind around the buildings of our housing development and enter a small park.
Passing a group of jump-roping girls, we notice that they are not using a regular rope, but an electrical power cord. In one turner’s hand is the pronged plug; the other girl holds the end that inserts into the back of a television chassis. The thwack of the wire on concrete stops my father.
“Look,” he says, gesturing at the jumpers. “Wait ‘til some poor schnook finds out his cord is gone. No T.V. for him tonight.” We chuckle at the thought, turn the corner for home.
Dinner, then my brothers tucked in bed, The Ed Sullivan show tops off the night.
My father glances at his watch.
“Ed’s got Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence singing tonight,” he calls out to my mother.
“Turn on the T.V,” she says, settling onto the couch.
I sit in my favorite spot on the floor, stretch out my legs and lean back on my hands.
My father rises and turns the start knob on the console. The screen remains dark.
“I hope a tube didn’t burn out,” says my mother.
“It’s almost time,” I announce, bouncing my legs in front of me.
“Maybe the cord fell out,” my father says. “I’ll check.” He disappears behind the television.
“Well?” asks my mother.
His head pops out from behind the set. “The cord’s gone.”
“Gone?” says my mother. “Can’t be. The twins watched cartoons this morning.”
“It’s not here now.” He looks over at me. “Have you seen the power cord?”
I shake my head.
“Where…?” He scans the living room; his eyes suddenly light up when he spies the open window.
“Those girls…” He flies out of our apartment, the door slamming behind him.
Long after Ed Sullivan’s show has ended, my father returns home.
Holding out his empty hands, he says, “I’m the poor schnook.”
Hannah Garson taught special needs children in New York City for 35 years. She is the coordinator of a writers’ group in Queens, New York. Her puzzles, short stories, essays and articles have appeared in Highlights for Children, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Art Times and local newspapers.