I reminded my parents of the following story. A few of the details were not exactly right, but they said it was pretty close to the way it was. Apparently my dad was not quite so brusque with the policeman at the end of the story as I portray him, but my parents liked it well enough the way I put it. My mom reminded me of the incident at my brother’s house in Chicago when they were en route to San Francisco. I added that event here.
Another time when Anna was three, her voice got her into trouble and almost got my father arrested. My parents had offered to take our children for a few weeks before we left our home in Louisville. They thought it might help us to pack up the house if the kids were not there.
Two weeks later we joined everyone in California. We were so excited to be reunited with our kids and to see my parents. But when we deplaned we were met only by my father and Samuel. We hugged and greeted one another and then we asked, “Where’s Mom and Anna?”
“They’re out in the car,” my dad answered.
“Why didn’t they come in with you?”
“Well, you can ask your mom. They needed to stay in the car.”
We grew suspicious but didn’t suspect anything serious was wrong. When we got to the car we found my mom sitting in the back seat next to Anna in her car seat. Anna was wearing pajamas. It was dinner time.
“Why is Anna in pajamas?” I asked, starting to think there was a story we needed to hear.
“Anna has been in pajamas for about two weeks,” my dad answered. “She hasn’t left the house until today.” Anna apparently threw a fit every time my mom tried to change her clothes. She finally gave up trying. My mom explained what had been happening.
“After we left Louisville, we took the children to Chicago to visit your brother and for Michael’s and Nicholas’s birthday. The boys were having a skating party and we were all getting ready to go to the skating rink. I just could not get Anna out of her pajamas and into her clothes, so I finally gave up and told Trish that Dick and Samuel could go on with them to the party, and Anna and I would stay behind at the house. Trish said, ‘That’s nonsense! You can’t let a three-year-old girl tell you what you are going to do.’ I told her that I had tried and tried and it was just better if I stayed behind with her. She said, ‘Well that’s not right. You just have to make her get into her clothes.’ And off Trish went upstairs to get Anna dressed. She came back downstairs about five minutes later and said, ‘Well, I guess Anna isn’t going tonight.’ Then Emily said that she could get her dressed and she went up and sat with Anna for awhile and talked to her. She finally got dressed for Emily. We all ended up having a good time at the party, but boy, it was a real job getting her there.
“And then we had a little bit of an incident at the airport on the way out to California,” my mom said. “When we left from Chicago to visit your brother we flew into San Francisco. When we got here I thought Anna would need to use the bathroom before we got in the car for the ride home. So when we got off of the airplane I took Anna into the bathroom and your dad stayed with Samuel. Well, Anna sat for a long time but never went to the bathroom. We needed to go so I finally took her off the toilet and pulled her pants up. At that point she started screaming and pulling at her pants. She took her pants all the way off and every time I tried to pick her up she started screaming louder.
“Finally, I went to the door and called for your dad to help. I handed her off to him so we could get on out to the car. Anna had no pants on; she is screaming; she is kicking your dad. And he is trying to walk out through the airport.
“A policeman came over and asked your dad if there was a problem, and your dad, at the end of his rope, basically told the policeman it was none of his business. So here is this old man carrying a naked child that obviously does not want to go with him. What is the policeman going to think? And your dad was doing nothing to help things. Finally, I got over and was able to explain everything. The policeman finally let your father go.”
Yes, Anna did bring her share of problems, but she also brought much joy and sweetness to all who knew her.