Christmas at Great Grandmother’s
The small girl sat in the corner of her room on Christmas morning, her knees drawn tightly to her chest, softly weeping. Her opened presents lay scattered beneath the Christmas tree in the living room. Father was in the garage repairing the legs of a chair.
Mother was in the kitchen making cranberry salad and oyster dressing. Aunts and cousins in the surrounding small towns were also busy preparing their parts of the Christmas dinner the extended family would soon share at Great Grandmother’s house.
Father completed the repairs to the chair and made his way to his daughter’s room. He knocked softly and opened her door.
“Why are you crying, honey?”
“I don’t want to go to Great Grandmother’s house. I want to stay home and play with my new lincoln logs.”
“We won’t be there that long. You will have plenty of time to play with your presents when we get home. Besides, you’ll get to see all of your cousins. Don’t you want to play with your cousins?”
“Yes, but I don’t like going to Great Grandmother’s house.”
“Why not, dear?”
“I don’t like uncle Melvin. He rubs his whiskers over my face and rubs my head with his knuckles. It hurts a lot. He’s weird and I don’t like him.
“Just stay away from great uncle Melvin,” Father advised.
“I can’t. He always makes me sit on his lap. Wherever I go he finds me.”
A couple of hours later, the small girl, Father and Mother are at Great Grandmother’s house. Father and Mother are busy in the living room and kitchen catching up on the latest family news. The small girl is playing hide-and-seek with her cousins, most of whom are girls.
The best places to play hide-and-seek are the dining room, Great Grandmother’s bedroom and great uncle Melvin’s bedroom. The dining room has a stack of boxes piled floor-to-ceiling down the long side of the room. Old drapes cover the boxes and an opening in the middle of the long row of boxes. The opening leads to the hall that leads to the bathroom and the two bedrooms.
The narrow space between the row of boxes and the wall is a good place for Great Grandmother to store a few extra chairs. That narrow space is also a good place for the small girl and her cousins to hide.
Uncle Melvin also likes to play hide-and-seek. He seems to have trouble finding the children in the space between the boxes and the wall, but he always does. Then he tells the children that they picked a really good place to hide.
When uncle Melvin finds the small girl and her cousin behind the boxes the game is over and it is time for the small girl to sit on uncle Melvin’s lap on one of the extra chairs behind the boxes. Uncle Melvin tells her cousin she should sit on the chair that faces uncle Melvin and the small girl.
Uncle Melvin whiskers the small girl’s cheek, rubs the top of her head, and bounces her up and down on his lap, holding her bottom under her pretty new Christmas dress. Now it is time for uncle Melvin to see the small girl’s new panties and her cousin’s new panties that she is wearing under her new Christmas dress.
Uncle Melvin loves pretty ruffled panties. He loves to feel how smooth they are. He rubs the smooth new ruffled panties while he bounces the small girl and then her cousin up and down, back and forth on his lap, laughing all the time.
After awhile the bouncing and rubbing game suddenly ends. Uncle Melvin has suddenly lost interest in the two girls and their pretty new panties.
Christmas day at Great Grandmother’s is over. The small girl is home again in the corner of her room, her knees pulled tightly to her chest, softly weeping. As her tears drop onto the polished hardwood floor, she wonders why she had to go to Great Grandmother’s house for Christmas.
Now it is Christmas again. The small girl is older. She is no longer a small girl. Now she is a big girl. She is at Great Grandmother’s house again, sitting on a chair in the hallway outside the bathroom. She needs to use the toilet really bad, but uncle Melvin is in the bathroom. Great Grandmother’s hall clock says 3:25.
Uncle Melvin will not answer when the big girl knocks on the door and says “I really need to use the bathroom.” Uncle Melvin must be sick. He is making strange panting noises. The girl also hears whimpers. Uncle Melvin must be really sick.
Ten minutes later the girl knocks again. Five minutes later Uncle Melvin opens the door. Uncle Melvin and cousin Bobby come out of the bathroom. Why was cousin Bobby in the bathroom with uncle Melvin? Cousin Bobby looks hot. His face is red. Cousin Bobby looks like he is sick. Uncle Melvin whispers to cousin Bobby “Now remember, don’t tell our secret” as he and Bobby pass by the girl. Finally. The girl can use the bathroom.
These days the small girl is an adult. She remembers many things about her childhood. She remembers drinking out of a baby bottle, her first birthday party, potty training and hundreds if not thousands of details from her early childhood. Most people have forgotten those things. Most people would have forgotten the things uncle Melvin did long ago. But she remembers, and now she knows what uncle Melvin was really doing. Her cousins do not know they remember, but yet they remember.
Uncle Melvin, pillar of the church and pillar of the community is now dead. Another man beat him to death. He found uncle Melvin in bed with his girlfriend. Uncle Melvin ran away, but the man found him on the town square in the middle of the day. The town square was full of people, but no one saw what happened. Everyone in town knew what happened, but there were no witnesses. The police decided that uncle Melvin had fallen off the bandstand.
Great Grandmother is also dead. So are Mother, Father and most of the cousins’ mothers and fathers. But the girl and her cousins are still alive.
Cousin Shelly has been married three times. Cousin Bobby is out of jail now. He has a new job that is better than the job he had before he went to jail. He was a teacher, but he can never be a teacher again. The judge told him that a teacher who molests the boys he teaches can never be a teacher again.
Cousin Kim is divorced. Cousin Sue has been depressed for years. However, she is still married. Her husband has a very important job in a religious organization. A divorce might ruin his career. Cousin Shelly, cousin Kim and cousin Sue also spent Christmas at Great Grandmother’s and played hide-and-seek with uncle Melvin.
Before the girl, cousin Shelly, cousin Bobby, cousin Kim and cousin Sue went to Great Grandmother’s for Christmas, their mothers and fathers went when they were children. Uncle Melvin also played hide-and-seek with them.
Mother told the girl, who had become a woman, that uncle Melvin had played hide-and-seek with her and her cousins when they went to Great Grandmother’s for Christmas and for other family gatherings. In the last year of Mother’s life she remembered.
The small girl sits in the corner of her room, her knees drawn tightly to her chest, sobbing, soaking her t-shirt with her tears. She hates Christmas. She hates Great Grandmother’s house. She hates ruffled panties. She hates that little town. There will be no silk peonies for uncle Melvin’s grave.
My name is Tammy. I am that small girl.