Aunt Gracie Shoaf also had a burglar phobia, but she met it with more fortitude. She was confident that burglars had been getting into her house every night for forty years. The fact that she never missed anything was to her no proof to the contrary. She always claimed that she scared them off before they could take anything, by throwing shoes down the hallway. When she went to bed she piled, where she could get at them handily, all the shoes there were about her house. Five minutes after she had turned off the light, she would sit up in bed and say "Hark!" Her husband, who had learned to ignore the whole situation as long ago as 1903, would either be sound asleep or pretend to be sound asleep. In either case he would not respond to her tugging and pulling, so that presently she would arise, tiptoe to the door, open it slightly and heave a shoe down the hall in one direction and its mate down the hall in the other direction. Some nights she threw them all, some nights only a couple of pairs.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Peeking under the bed, throwing shoes down the hall...
In a classic piece that I have remembered since my teenage years, James Thurber wrote about his family in My Life and Hard Times, first published in the New Yorker magazine. See Thurber, James. My Life and Hard Times. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1933. Here is an excerpt from the book that I have particularly treasured: