Monday, January 29, 2007

Eldredge B.

Heard the name Eldredge last night and it made me laugh. Here's why.

About four or five years ago I was in an antique shop with my mom and found this amazing wooden box that I sort of loved for some reason. It had "Eldredge B" inscribed on the front and I liked to think that personalized it and gave it this air of historical mystery. I was about to buy it but the price was way too much for a box, mystery or not.
So cut to the holiday season of that year. We were in the dining room wrapping gifts and my mom pulls this ridiculously scary porcelain doll out of a bag. I have random fears but clowns and porcelain dolls lead the pack. I hate hate hate porcelain dolls. OK, so that point is made.
Completely freaked out, I asked her why she would ever buy such a scary looking doll. She explained that it was a free gift with a perfume purchase and thought that someone might like it. I begged her to throw it away and she shoved it back into the bag and took it out of the room.
Right, so cut to Christmas. We're all sitting around opening gifts and my mom brings out this large present with excitement.
"This one is a surprise!"
My parents know I really don't get into the whole gift exchange thing and that any "surprise" gift will most likely be given away to whoever is sitting closest to me. So I fought an eye roll and unwrapped it. It was the Eldredge B box, and truly, I was so happy. We had seen it months before and that my mother had remembered how much I liked it meant a lot.
I had my picture taken with it, smiling wide, while Vanessa and Sabrina made fun of me.
-That thing is scary!
-It looks like a baby coffin.
-Stop! No it doesn't!
But after they said it, the thought was planted. It was this horrible small coffin and now I hated it.
Mom: Girls, that is a terrible thing to say.
Ness: And Eldredge B was her name.
Me: Stop!
So they laughed and my mother finally conceded that it might have been a pet coffin.

Everyone moved to the kitchen for food and I stared at this mystery box, which I now wished I had never seen. Running my fingers over the inscription with the hesitant touch used for Ouija boards, I squinted with fear and thought of ways I could throw it away without hurting my mom's feelings.
Finally, I said, this is silly. It's a nice box and a nice gift. Nothing to be afraid of.
Thinking of what I could store in it and wondering how much it would hold, I opened the top, looked inside, and was nearly scared to death. No, seriously. Because waiting for me, inside the box, was the porcelain doll.

People, I have never in all my life screamed as loudly or at such a high pitch as I did at that moment.
Everyone came running back into the living room laughing hysterically.
I sat there shaking.

I can laugh about it now--that my near death by free gift with purchase was funny to them. It's fine.
The Eldredge B box has since that day, been in the back of a closet at my parent's house. That's where it will stay.


juliet said...

growing up one of my mom's friend's significant other was named E.C., he was always around for family functions like graduation dinners and summer bbqs. he died while i was in high school and one day in history class i turn the page only to find a picture of him. turns out it was eldredge cleaver. and he was one of the main leaders of the black panther party. he'd attacked some people and spent time hiding from the law in cuba, paris and algeria. i had no idea about any of that when i knew the guy. all i knew was that when karen met him he was really big into pottery/clay work and at the time was making these planters in the shape of penises.

Jess said...

I have to double check, but that might be the single greatest story I've ever heard.

SKELCHA said...

I went to middle school with a girl named Alica Ditta and rumor had it that she had a Xerox copy machine IN HER HOUSE (which was totally unheard of in middle school days). Ditta made dittos. I just thought of that as I wrote "ditto." Oh wow, the word "ditto" looks absolutely ridiculous to me right now. Is that how you spell it? Ditto. Ditto.
Anyway, I was ditto'ing the Jess comment re: the Juliet comment and I think I just lost a full minute of my life writing this.

Jess said...

hi, my name is Jessica and skelcher cracks me up.

rumor had it?!! is that rumor material? office equipment? really?
i love the brilliant middle schooler mind. one letter off, aw snap, i got something!

you don't want to know the horrible rumors that spread about Alicia Worebag.
ironically, also about Xerox machines. small world.