The Topics of Our Childhood

I’ve decided to start writing a book. The entire contents of this book will be stories about me and my family growing up. Most notably, my (only) brother, who has Down Syndrome and Autism, and who has inherited my father’s destructive sense of humor. And I find myself at a difficult point, where instead of trying to think of funny stories, I’m thinking of whole genres of funny stories.

In most families, there are certain “coming of age” stories that are commonly told. Nearly every family has a broken window story, sleepwalking story, a house-flooding story. But in my case, I’m sitting here thinking, “I could tell about a broken window…” and then I try to decide which broken window. Do I tell about all of them? Because there are over 13 stories here. Do I just tell four or five of the most amusing? Or do I just have a whole chapter devoted to window replacement?

And if I devote the whole chapter to window replacement, do I have to do the same thing for toilet replacement? Or poo stories? Or disappearing pants? Will I ever be able to tell just one story?

If you ask for really warm, fuzzy, sappy, positive growing-up stories, you’ve probably come to the wrong place. It’s not like my childhood wasn’t warm, fuzzy, and positive – it’s just that it was a lot less fuzzy than hilarious, and a little less sappy than creatively destructive. I know at least 50 ways to clog a toilet.

Here are a few of the topics I’ve found that – I’m starting to realize – probably aren’t whole “topics” in other households:

  1. Clogging the toilet with household objects
  2. Clogging the heat vents with household objects
  3. Clogging the garbage disposal with household objects
  4. Clogging the vent exhaust of the dryer with household objects
  5. Household objects, and their effect on the inside of a dryer
  6. Household objects, flung through windows
  7. Clothing items hidden in unusual places
  8. Clothing items that should probably be worn in public
  9. Clothing items thrown from the backseat window of moving vehicles
  10. Clothing items instantly ruined by ripping out tags
  11. Poo, and its many creative uses
  12. Things found stuck to the ceiling
  13. Things not to do to the dog

That’s all I’ve got for now. This alone could get me about 15 chapters+, if I choose to use all the stories that come to mind. I’m sure our family must have some stories about all of us behaving like proper, civilized people – but then, those stories have probably been lost to the ages. Alas. We shall be remembered as a generation of destructive genius. ♦



4 thoughts on “The Topics of Our Childhood

  1. Yes, I want to write the same book, and I have the same problem. WHICH stories to tell, which to skip, should it be funny or inspirational – hard to do both, and when to write said book because I am too busy cleaning applesauce and egg off the walls! Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t clean the walls. I’m just busy trying to think of ways to avoid cleaning applesauce and egg off the walls.

  2. Rachel, instead of writing a book, you could make it a series….so many great stories. Seriously, you SHOULD write a book-it would be a best seller-you are such a good writer and Andrew is a fabulous source of material.

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