At the moment I'm sitting here with wires trailing from my pockets, down my legs before they curl back up and disappear into my back. They're attached to pads stuck to my skin, sending little shocks of electricity into my body. Stupidly I've managed to overstretch the muscles in one of my hips again so I'm hooked up to my TENS machine and toddling about as best I can.
When I was a missionary kid, there was one summer which sticks out in my mind. It was the summer where I seemed to spend one day a week of the long holidays in hospital. Somehow, I'd gained a "thing" for breaking my fingers. By the end of the summer, I was an expert in tearing surgical with one hand. I still have kinks in the ends of a couple of my fingers, possibly as a result of that summer.
How do you control your kids when you live in a massive building and you live in a time before mobile phones? The answer - you try. And try my parents did. At first, my Dad utilised a whistle. We still have it and it's still used. It's the same brand which are used by football referees (That's the soccer for my American readers. Hi guys!). It's loud and, over wide open spaces, you can hear it for miles.
Except that we didn't. We were kids. We had lots of wide open spaces to ignore. The last thing you're going to listen to is your Dad leaning out of a window and blowing a whistle. During our second, and longest stay, at the Lodge my parents invested in a pager (we still have that as well somewhere!). It was nicknamed The Frog due to it being green and a pain in the ass to carry. Problems? It wasn't always guaranteed to be on the person you were calling and it was stupidly expensive to call and leave a message.
Eventually my parents all but gave up. My Dad is the king of lingering threats and you didn't mess with him. If he told you to be back by 9pm, dammit, you were back by 9pm! He has "A Look" which still puts the fear of God in us, although these days it's more likely to make us laugh.
As a kid with this huge place to explore, you didn't want to sleep. There were too many interesting stories to hear, to many awesome pictures to see and, in most cases, too much incredible food to eat. It's a good job we had all of that wide open space to run around in because, damn, we met some awesome cooks! One of my favourite foods was cooked by a lady who now lives in South Africa. She cooked this incredible peanut sauce. Horrifically fattening but it didn't matter. It was a little slice of heaven.
I've just asked my Dad "How did you keep tabs on us while we were at the Lodge?".
He thought about it for a moment before replying, "We didn't."
You can read the first part of this series at Indian Timing. At some point, I'll go in to the attic, find all the photos, and scan them in for you. Thank you so much for reading!