Chrissie’s Parent’s Bed by Elizabeth Glass
Chrissie and Annie’s favorite thing was to put on their dad’s 8-track tapes of Elvis or Johnny Cash and jump on their parents’ bed. The bed had a thick red velvet bedspread and a fancy golden wrought iron headboard.
Their dad also read to them in the bed, told them stories, and the whole family piled in there to watch shows on the small black-and-white TV at night. The TV downstairs that had a console with record and 8-track players in it was bigger, but family time upstairs was best.
One night Chrissie and Annie’s mom and dad asked them to come into the bedroom to tell them something. They piled onto the plush bedspread. Chrissie got up and pushed in a Waylon and Willie tape. Her dad laughed a little, but her mom told her to turn it off. The girls were carefully told that their grandfather had died. Both girls cried. Then Chrissie asked if that meant that Johnny Weissmuller would be coming to the funeral since he was their grandfather’s second cousin. Her dad thought that was so funny, the tears cleared from his eyes, he put the tape back on and let the girls jump on the bed while he held their hands. For a while their mom protested, but eventually came over and held their hands, too.
It was the same bed where they were told their mom was pregnant with their little sister, Marianne.
After Marianne was brought home, Chrissie, who was seven, thought that Marianne should be shown how to jump on the bed. She and Annie got Marianne out of her bassinette and put her on their parents’ bed. At first they just sat on the bed where they had put Marianne in the middle, but when “Ring of Fire” came on, Chrissie pulled Annie up on the bed and they began jumping hard and high. They were inducting Marianne into their sisterhood, and she bounced along with them.
When their mother saw them, she screamed. She yelled for them to go to their bedroom, and she scooped Marianne into her arms.
Chrissie didn’t hear anything for a long time. She and Annie had hidden in their closet for hours. Chrissie read to Annie until Annie convinced her to go look for their mom.
As Chrissie snuck downstairs, she still couldn’t hear anything. She looked throughout the house and didn’t find their mom. She looked outside and the car was gone. She got two boxes of cereal and took them upstairs. Annie complained of no milk, but Chrissie told her that’s what their mother told her to take, not saying they were home alone.
They were asleep in Chrissie’s bed when their parents woke them, their mom crying, and told them to come with them. Chrissie didn’t want to go, but their dad carried her. He opened his mouth to speak, and even as the good news of Marianne came out, Chrissie’s childhood slowly flowed away.