The Portugal Years: Year Four – Oops!


Bethy on the veranda with her baby doll.
Bethy on the veranda with her baby doll.

Toddlers! They are endearing, aggravating, interesting and busy small people. It is so important to say what you mean and mean what you say to them; they tend to be pretty literal creatures. One day I was walking down the hallway and she held out her doll for me to hug. I mentioned to her that her doll looked like she needed a bath.  I went on my way to put clothes away. On the return trip down the hall, I heard water running in the bathtub. Bethy was leaning over the edge of the tub preparing to give her doll (a soft stuffed one) a bath. In fact, she had several dolls in there waiting for a baths. When I asked her what she was doing, she said, “You told me the baby needed a bath.” Oops!

Bethy loved to play “Catching Bethy” with her daddy. Harry always sat next to the door to catch her when she ran by.  He usually caught her, but a couple of times she overshot her mark and landed on her face. Oops! [See photo above.] It never slowed her down, though.

The door on our flat locked automatically when it closed. It was a great safety feature, but woe to you if you got locked out. One morning around the time I had become visibly pregnant for the second time around, Bethy and I went to the grocery store. She still needed some help climbing the stairway to our home, so left my groceries at the bottom of the stairwell and shepherded Bethy up and into the house. I put her little bag on the counter, and set the keys by it. I told Bethy I would be right back and headed down the steps.

As I climbed up the second time, I heard the door slam shut and Bethy giggling. After I gave her instructions, I confirmed that she was too short to pull the latch. When she realized that I could not get in and she could not get out, she started to cry. Oops!

Fortunately, I had left the shuttered windows off the veranda just slightly open. Unfortunately, there was no way for me to climb up there. Just then, the landlady’s maid came downstairs. She took in the situation and went and borrowed a ladder, climbed up and over the railing, and opened the door for me.

21 thoughts on “The Portugal Years: Year Four – Oops!

  1. I was a latchkey kid. I would come home and take care of myself until Mom and Dad got home. One afternoon, home from school, I stood at the back door, and thrust my hand into an empty pocket. I had lost my key. Afraid of the repercussions if I revealed this loss, I found another way in. It involved squeezing through a garage window, clambering down a series of shelves that were under the window, going through the garage door to the basement, and up the basement steps to the house. Occasionally the slide bolt would be closed on the door between the garage and the basement, but in desperation one afternoon, I discovered a scavenged large magnet was powerful enough to slide the bolt back, and open the door. Thus was my entrance into the house for nearly a year. Right up until the day I squeezed through the window, climbed down the shelves, and turned to run right into my Dad. Unfortunately he wasn’t nearly impressed enough with my youthful ingenuity to overcome his anger at the lost key, as my buttocks eventually bore witness.

    Excellent installment Susan!!!!


    1. Oh dear, Kevin. Would you have any idea of how you lost it? Bethy did not get a spanking on that one. She was already scared half to death. Thank you…I’m glad you enjoyed it!


  2. Thank GOD for ladders and landladies. You think that just “happened’ with that landlady! No way! That was God coming to YOUR rescue. What a tender beautifully written story, Susan. Your stories bring normal into my life and oh, this is good! Love, Amy


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