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When I was a little girl, I was a World Champion Giggler.
I could giggle with the best of them. I could out-giggle the rest of them. My siblings, who ranged from five to eight years older than me, would start tickling me, until they got me to Def-Con 3 which would usually elicit my Ultimate Giggle. I’d be giggling along merrily, a bubbly, delightful, childish giggle, and then I’d make this sound.
How to describe it?
It started like a “k” sound, or like I was saying the word “key”, unvoiced, but with a sharp expulsion of air. (Try it, now. Hardly anyone will stare at you.) And then I would proceed to make a noise like a car that wouldn’t start, air rushing between my tongue and the roof of my mouth. With a soupçon of a guttural Yiddish-y/lateral lispy wetness to it. And some wheezing. Kind of like this, (only with lots of squirming and rolling on the floor):
“Kee – hee – hee – hee – hee – hee – hee…..”
Come to think of it, I think there was a cartoon character named Precious Pup who used to make a similar sound.
And then my torturer/ticklers would begin laughing. Which got me MORE tickled. And we’d laugh until I couldn’t BREATHE.
I have wonderful memories of this. Honest! It wasn’t child abuse! Just me getting really, really silly, and then my siblings getting silly, and then all of us, helpless to quit laughing because our insane laughter was just egging each other on.
Until the day we went to ….that wedding.
I am not going to name any of the parties involved, because they really do exist, and I would feel AWFUL if I hurt someone’s feelings. Of course, I haven’t seen any of these people in about thirty years, most of them, but I have one friend from childhood who MAY remember this wedding. (I know both my sisters will. This is one of those family stories that occasionally pops up again through the years.) So Bev, Lynn and Debbie, y’all keep your traps shut, and remember: this story is more about my inappropriate behavior than anyone else’s.
My Dad was an educator, but on weekends, he used to preach at a teeny tiny church in the country. We loved that church. We loved the families at that church. They were awfully good to us. One of the best friendships of my childhood was birthed in that church, my friendship with Bev.
So, Dad must have been officiating at this wedding, because somehow or other, I ended up being allowed to sit away from Mom, with Bev. And near my sisters, who, ostensibly, were supposed to keep an eye on me. I think I was about eight years old when this story took place, which would have made my sisters around 13 and 14. Big mistake to let me sit away from my Mom that day, in retrospect. I was probably a bit giddy with that much freedom.
There was this teenage girl from that church who had been asked to be a bridesmaid. As I recall, she may have had a crush on my older brother. As I recall, she may have had a crush on many elder brothers, (if you know what I mean). Bless her heart, she really, really liked guys. But, she didn’t have a boyfriend, to my recollection. And she WANTED a boyfriend. She wanted a boy friend in the worst way. She might not even have been picky in regard to WHO might be her boyfriend. If you’re familiar with the play “Oklahoma”, think Ado Annie: I’m Just A Girl Who Cain’t Say No. In fact, for the purposes of this story, let’s call her Ado Annie.
So, anyway, the wedding singers were singing the processional, and the wedding party started coming down the aisle. And the groomsmen were walking down the aisle with the bridesmaids. And I turned to see who was coming down the aisle, and there was Ado Annie, DRAPED on top of the groomsman she was clutching for dear life, like a drowning woman clinging to a life raft, with her bouquet of flowers smashed up under her chin.
I didn’t know anyone could look that much like an octopus while still walking, and to this day, I’m not sure how the poor guy made it up the aisle. I could almost swear she was going to drag him down and pull him under.
I got tickled.
We were sitting on these old wooden pews that creaked and groaned as people shifted on them, and I started shaking with laughter. Hard. And then the pew started rhythmically grunting and squeaking. And my sisters had gotten tickled at the sight of the bridesmaid, and they’d caught sight of me, too, losing it, and could feel the vibrating of the pew underneath us. And then they were dissolving before my eyes in silent convulsions, tears pouring from their eyes. And then, a gentle “kee – hee- hee – hee” began to escape, unbidden, from my lips.
Honestly, I don’t know how long it took us to get settled down. Because you KNOW, when you’re not SUPPOSED to laugh, that’s when it’s the funniest of all. Weddings and funerals were my undoing as a Child Champion Giggler.
Oh, my gosh, my Mom would have snapped me up and marched me out of there, if she just could have gotten to me.
But she couldn’t. 😀
I don’t think she let me sit without her again till I was 13.
She was smart that way.
Where were you when you got in trouble for inappropriate giggling?