The Top of the Stairs

1970 – Philadelphia

I have three sisters. Janice who’s eighteen months older than me, was born in 1961. My sister April, was born in 1966, and Gabrielle born in 1970.

Sometimes when we went to bed and my folks had people over, we’d leave our rooms, and lie at the top of the stairs and listen to our parents downstairs. It was probably just out of curiosity. What are the adults doing downstairs? What are they talking about? Different voices and laughter. The sounds of adults having fun grownup time with their friends and neighbors. Kids don’t like to go to bed. They want to be up and a part of everything. But we could only listen from the top of the stairs.

Sometimes, we’d lie at the top of the stairs in our pajamas listening to my parents when there weren’t any guests over. Maybe we were hoping we’d hear some secret info about what Santa might be bring us this year. But sometimes, more often than not, there was no laughter. Their voices sounded angry with each other. What could they be angry about? We didn’t do anything. We were in bed. We would hear them fight and argue downstairs in the kitchen. I don’t remember what they argued about. It wasn’t so much their words, but the sound of their voices.

If I think back to the sound of our parents voices when we were little, the sound was more important than what they were saying. Children respond more to tone than to meaning. A young mind only has so much capacity for complex emotion. If the voice is soft and gentle, it’s usually followed by a smile and praise. But if the tone is loud and sharp, it’s probably followed by admonishment or punishment.

Like dogs, we learn the difference in those tones very quickly.

When you’re a little kid, and it’s time to go outside, what’s do your parents always say? Go put your shoes on. We’re going. Where are your shoes? We have to go. Because when you’re a kid, you like to run around in your stocking feet. Normally the shoes come off when you got home, because your mom doesn’t want you tracking dirt all over the house.

One morning, my father was getting ready for work. He couldn’t find his shoes. He looked all over and it just didn’t make sense. His closet was always neatly arranged full of ironed shirts, ties, and suits for his job at the bank.

He asked my mother if she’d seen them. Having no idea what had happened, she joined in the search. They finally found his shoes, and several other pairs stashed away behind some boxes in a different closet.

They began to ask us kids if we knew anything about it. Gabrielle was just a newborn so it couldn’t have been her, and Janice and I simply shook our heads.

My middle sister April, who was a very little girl at the time, but always outspoken, took responsibility.

“Why did you hide daddy’s shoes, April? You know he needs them for work.”

“I heard you and daddy fighting last night. I heard what he said to you. I thought if I hid his shoes he wouldn’t leave. You can’t go outside without your shoes.”

Such a simple act, but what an elegant plan for a four-year-old child to conceive in an attempt to keep her family together, and her daddy from leaving.

I’ll never forget that.

 

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The COVID Quarantine Is Scarily Similar to the First 30 Years of My Life

Here is a piece written by a friend of mine. It’s incredibly revealing, and I never knew this about her. I can understand why. She’s shown incredible courage and patience growing up in that situation. I think we all take for granted how ‘normal’ most of our childhoods were. I’m happy she’s in my life, and honored I had the opportunity to work with her. This is one case where the cypress not only grew in the shadow of the oak, but actually flourished.

https://medium.com/@jackierupp215/the-covid-quarantine-is-scarily-similar-to-the-first-30-years-of-my-life-ca2da29d9906

 

View at Medium.com

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

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View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

7 Clear Signs It’s the Right Time to Meet the Parents

Look at those cute kids!

Whether you’re meeting your partner’s parents or your partner meeting yours, timing is of the essence! These signs will tell you if you’re ready.

Do not introduce your girlfriend or boyfriend to your parents just for the sake of doing so. Do it when you are both ready. Figuring out when the right time is will, of course, have a lot to do with how strict or relaxed your parents are. If they are laid back then go right ahead and plan something casual. Just remember to be sure that your partner is comfortable with it as well.

It may not be a big deal on your part, but it will be a big deal to your partner as meeting the folks is a surefire way to validate the seriousness of your relationship.

If your parents are more formal in the sense that a suit and tie at dinner is called for, then perhaps you should take more time to prep your partner beforehand so he or she knows what to expect. Either way, all parties have to be ready for the meeting if you want it to be a success.

I have a friend who has very traditional and conservative parents. They have made it very clear that they are only interested in meeting their kids’ partners only once they have decided that they want to marry them. Some parents are just that way and you cannot fault them for being so set in their traditional ways. If you have parents like these, then just play ball with them and only introduce your partner to them when things are very serious.

7 signs it’s time to meet the parents

In my case, I met my fiancé’s parents at his brother’s birthday party. As wonderful as the meeting was, it was probably not the best idea for us to meet at such a huge and lively event. We were not able to talk very much as there were too many relatives and friends stopping by to say hello.

My advice is to plan something more intimate so that everyone has the chance to properly get to know one another, but of course, that is your prerogative. In any case, here are 7 signs that it is probably time to meet the folks.

#1 You are mutually exclusive. You will know that it’s the right time to meet the parents once you are mutually exclusive. There is no point in putting everyone through the paces of getting to know one another if your relationship is not going to last. Once you have decided that you are going to be saddled with your partner indefinitely, it is probably the right moment to make the introduction to your parents. [Read: 16 signs you’re not ready to be exclusive]

#2 Your partner has met your friends. If your partner has hung out with your friends on more than one occasion, then it is safe to say that he or she may be ready to meet the folks. There is less pressure when it comes to meeting a group of friends and if you partner passes with flying colors, then think about amping it up a notch and introducing him or her to your parents.

#3 Your partner has met your other family members. Whether your partner has met other family members by pure chance or intentionally, once he or she has met an extended family member, it is probably time to meet the parents.

For example, you and your boyfriend may have run into your aunt at the supermarket and you introduced them so as not to be rude. Remember that people talk. And if your family is anything at all like mine, they will talk a lot. News will spread like wildfire that your aunt met your boyfriend before your parents did.

Even chance encounters such as these can lead to massive family drama, so take the bull by the horns and set up a lunch date with your parents sooner rather than later. The same can be said if you introduce your girlfriend to your sister over cocktails and tapas. What makes you think your sister is not going to report everything to your mum? Expectations will be set, pre-judgments will be made and before you know it, your parents will be harping on you to introduce them to your special someone.

#4 You talk about the future. Once you start thinking in terms of “us” instead of “me” then you know that the timing is right. If you see yourself being with your partner for a long time, then the next course of action is to make him or her a part of your life. That means meeting the people who created you. This step will certainly make your partner happy as it serves as validation that you are taking things to the next level.

[Read: 9 foolproof signs to know if she’s a keeper]

[Read: 11 sure signs he’s a keeper]

#5 The idea isn’t intimidating to you. If the idea of your partner meeting your folks does not scare the bejeezus out of you, then what are you waiting for? This is a good sign as it indicates that you are comfortable with the two worlds colliding. Ensure that your partner feels the same way and not to push him or her if they are not ready.

#6 You are proud of your partner. It is undoubtedly harder to introduce your parents to your slacker boyfriend than it is to introduce them to someone who has his shit together. If you are proud of who you are with, it is inevitable that you would want everyone to know about his or her accomplishments. You want the people you care about to see just why you are so in love with this person.

#7 Everyone is ready. I suppose if you cannot figure out when the “right time” is, then just take it easy and only set up a meeting once everyone is mentally ready. Speak to your parents about this special someone and gauge their reaction when you suggest a meeting. Do the same with your partner. Once you think that everyone is comfortable enough to take the next step, then you will know that it is the perfect time.

Meeting the parents for the first time is a huge step whether you think so or not. You will be surprised at how many relationships go awry just because the initial meeting with immediate family members did not go as planned.

As much as you love your partner, what your family thinks also carries weight, especially if you are close to them. Never underestimate a parent’s intuition when determining if their child is with the right person. Parents have a bizarre sixth sense when it comes to stuff like that, so take you time and do not rush it. You will know when the time is right.

[Read: 8 important things to remember when meeting the parents]

With these clear signs for checking if you’re ready to introduce each other to your respective families, you can find the right time to make the proper introductions. Now all you need to worry about is making a great first impression on them!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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