How to Embarrass Your Parents
I guess we have all been guilty of it one time or another. Causing your parents to curl up with embarrassment and want to disown you as their child. "Out of the mouth of babes", is a comment made frequently for embarrassing things children say, but there are also the things that they do!
These are some of the stories I either know about, or was guilty of, and that either way caused great embarrassment to the parent or parents involved.
I really hope people will read this and add their own stories to the comments, as it should be great fun and a real eye opener.
The Little Chapel where I Pee'd
The Little Chapel
Here in the Channel Island of Guernsey we have a popular tourist attraction called "The Little Chapel". This consists of a tiny Chapel, covered in broken china inside and out, and built by a French Monk prior to the Second World War. It is considered to be one of the tiniest chapels in the world, holding a congregation of three. During the Summer months this Chapel usually has a large group of tourists constantly around it. Locals too frequently visit this place to enjoy the peace and tranquility it offers, or to show visiting relatives around it.
One year when I was around three years old my Mother took my sister Hayley and I to see "The Little Chapel". It was a gorgeous sunny day, and Mum was standing outside with our Uncle whilst Hayley and I were dodging tourists exploring the inside of the building. Hayley was five years older than me, and at that age where she loved to tell tales, especially on her little Sister.
At the time I was "caught short", and desperately needing a pee I took the unconventional decision to simply squat down on the interior chapel steps, pull my underwear down and urinate. Hayley was horrified, and ran outside to where our Mother and Uncle were chatting in front of numerous tourists and shouted out at the top of her voice, "Mummy, Mummy, Cindy has wee wee'd in The Little Chapel". She couldn't understand why Mum clipped her around the ear when she had done the right thing by telling Mum the sin I had committed.
Needless to say Mum was dying of embarrassment and we quickly left, leaving the majority of the tourists in fits of laughter.
The Infant School Essay
As a very young child I went to a convent infant school here in Guernsey. It was a great school and the Nuns were all lovely and I still have fond memories of it to this day.
One of the tasks they used to set us on a daily basis was to write a short essay. On this particular occasion they asked the class to write about their family life.
A couple of days later my Mother was called into the school to read my essay. Apparently what I had written was words to the effect of, "My Daddy is a very sick man. This means he is very bad tempered and I don't like him very much, all he ever does is argue and shout".
The Nuns had apparrently found this story so funny they had passed it around the entire convent, and the Reverend Mother asked Mum not to tell me off as I had obviously been very honest, which was a trait they encouraged.
I think Mum would have cheerfully put me up for adoption at this point, but following their wishes she never berated me for my candour.
The Free Brochures
During my Childhood my Mother (Mary Marshall), had always been a professional singer, even having cut records with "Columbia". My Father was an Impresario, and would put on high quality cabaret shows throughout the Channel Islands, often bringing over acts that are household names today such as "The Rolling Stones", "Paul Daniels", "Freddie and the Dreamers", "Shirley Bassey" etc.
Once Mum married Dad and moved over to Guernsey to be with him she pretty much gave up her career to settle down and have a family. Occasionally she would still appear for a season in one of Dad's shows, but these are times I only vaguely remember as I was very young at the time.
Most of Dad's shows were held in very nice hotels on the island and were highly attended by locals and tourists alike. Within these hotels they would always have a rack of "free" brochures advertising local tourist attractions that the visitors could help themselves to.
By now our Dad was a pretty ill man who due to this had become quite tight with his money and forgetful due to a clot on the brain, as well as suffering from a heart condition etc.
One evening when I had been allowed to attend the current show, I decided to grab a handful of these free brochures and sell them to the guests. I promptly went from table to table telling people, "Daddy is rich and Mummy is poor, so would you please buy a brochure so I can give the money to my Mummy?".
The results were brilliant, and I proudly handed Mum over about £2.50 at the end of the evening. Someone then tipped her off as to what my sales pitch had been, and Mum had to immediately go around all the tables apologising to everyone and offering them their money back. Few people would accept the money as they thought it was pretty cute as well as funny, but Mum was not impressed at all.
When I was only about seven years old we went on holiday to North Wales, (Llangollen). It was whilst on of our trips out to a local castle I discovered many different colourful Peacock feathers laying around the extensive grounds.
That evening whilst my Mum and Hayley were in the bedroom upstairs, I sat in the hotel reception area and labelled all of the feathers with prices. Soon I had sold out, and when Mum discovered my antics she yet again had to go around all the guests offering to give them their money back, and yet again most refused to accept it.
I suspect I was already an entrepreneur in the making!
My Teenage Antics
Many years later I was about seventeen when my Mum and Sister went away on holiday together. I had chosen to instead go on a horse riding holiday in Canterbury, so the deal was that I would then stay home when they were away.
At the time we had my elderly Grandmother living with us, and as she was quite frail, my Mum arranged for the Mother of my Sister's friend to stay in our house to look after her whilst they were away. This lady was very very religious, and a devout Church goer, so I was sworn to be on my best behaviour.
In those days we all lived in a large old farmhouse in Guernsey, and I was at an age where I was first discovering boys and relationships. One of these "crushes", was on a slightly older lad than me who I had become pretty obsessed with.
As soon as my Mum and Sister had got on the plane to go to the mainland I arranged to meet up with this lad "Martin" for the evening. Having spent a great night out on the town I brought him back to the house to stay in my bedroom for the night. Unfortunately our "activities", resulted in more noise than I had anticipated, and the next morning the lady looking after my Grandmother was furious with me as she had heard every sound.
Terrified of her telling my Mother herself, I made a point of being the first one to get to my Mum upon her arrival back in Guernsey. I had been going to tell her myself, but my Sister, (who I had tipped off as to what had happened whilst Mum was collecting the luggage), immediately told Mum the course of events as soon as she returned to the car, (so much for sibling loyalty).
Mum was furious with me, and had to go and apologise profusely to the lady in question on my behalf. It was particularly bad because this women was virtually a Nun in terms of her beliefs, so my behaviour at bringing home a boyfriend and having noisy "relations" in the next room must have horrified her. This had been made somewhat worse by the fact another night whilst Mum had been away I had brought back a genuine male friend, who I had allowed to sleep in my room, whilst I slept in my Sisters. I am guessing she thought I was a right floozy and that I was involved with both of them.
As a child we had a nickname for needing to go to the toilet to pass a "number 2", or "have a dump" for want of a nicer expression. We used to call it "wanting to bobo", which much later on caused a very awkward situation to arise.
In preparation for one of my Father's Cabaret Shows, all of the artistes were in rehearsals at the hotel venue where the show was to be appearing during the coming summer season. This hotel was very near to one of Guernsey's more lovely beaches called "Grande Rocques".
Dad had a lady Irish Agent he used to seek out appropriate acts that he could consider for each season's show. Quite often this lady "Joan", would come over for part of the season to watch the show in progress and see how the acts performed and assist in the day to day administration and running of the cabaret.
I used to love Joan, and was therefore delighted to find that on one sunny afternoon she was going to take me over to the nearby beach for a few hours. At first I was having a great time whilst Joan happily read her book, but then I realised I needed to have a "bobo". I started asking Auntie Joan if I could, "have a bobo", the problem being that the part of Ireland where she came from the term "bobo", means a short sleep. She kept saying to me, "go and have a bobo then", and bemused I kept saying, "but I want a BOBO". She replied, "I know, go and have a bobo in the sand dunes".
By now I thought she was giving me permission to go to the toilet in public, so I waddled off to the nearest sand dune and squatted down. Poor Joan, the next thing she heard was me going "uggggghhhhh" repeatedly as I strained to pass my motion. Horrified she came running over to the sand dune and realised her terrible mistake. What was worse, the only possible toilet paper she could use was the very expensive, handwritten sheets of music she had with her for Dad's show.
Having cleaned me up as best she could using the valuable manuscripts, Joan then had to tuck me under her arm with my bum in the air, and run back up the road to the hotel so she could take me into the ladies toilets and clean me up properly. Mum was partly amused and part embarrassed I suspect.
Strangely enough I don't remember Joan ever offering to take me to the beach again!
The Balloon that Wasn't!
When my Mother was a young child she used to love exploring through her parents drawers when they were not around. Now bearing in mind this was back in the 1930s things were a little more "basic" then.
On one occasion whilst her parents were hosting a small dinner party downstairs, my Mum decided to have an explore through the drawers in her parents bedroom. Mum thought she had found an unused balloon hidden in the one drawer, but try as she might she could not get it to blow up. Frustrated she took the "balloon" down to where all the guests were gathered, and at the top of her voice asked, "can anyone help me blow up this balloon please, it won't work". Deathly silence followed, and then her Mother quietly said, "Have you been going through our drawers Mary?"
It came to light that what my Mum had thought was a balloon, was actually one of the very old fashioned reusable condoms made of thick rubber. Her parents (my Grandparents), must have have been mortified, as in thosedays anything that happened in the bedroom was pretty much unmentionable, and I doubt any of the guests knew quite what to say confronted with a young child trying to blow a condom up like a balloon.
Hayley and the Shoe Laces
My Sister Hayley went to the same convent infant school as I did, only five years earlier.
During Hayley's time at the school they used to have a game that involved a lot of shoe laces. Hayley had already got herself a reputation for being excellent at tieing knots, and so it was no surprise that she was nominated to take charge in a playground game that involved tieing up another female pupil using these laces. Hayley did a fantastic job of this, and lost all track of time due to being so involved in what she was doing. Suddenly the bell rang for the end of lunch and all the children began heading back to the school building.
Hayley suddenly realised there was no way she could possibly release this girl in time to get back to class, so the solution she came up with was to simply leave her tied up in the playground and hope no-one noticed she was missing.
It was nearly the end of school for the day and Hayley was beginning to think she may just have got away with her crime. The bell went for the end of school, and as everyone was packing up their belongings and leaving, Hayley frantically tried to sneak out the door. Suddenly she heard this little girl crying her eyes out to one of the Nuns, and pointing at Hayley saying, "Hayley tied me up and left me outside". The poor child had waddled all the way to the classroom whilst still tied up, and had only just made it before the end of school. Hayley still attempted to sneak out the door, but a large hand descended onto her shoulder and pulled her back. Reverend Mother had caught her, and poor Mum was called into the school to be told what a terrible thing Hayley had done.
I guess I personally have always had a knack for being able to embarrass my Mum especially. This is probably because she is simply sooooo easy to shock and such a ladylike person. Of course to some degree it is quite funny to wind her up and embarrass her even now, and my latest escapade was to tell her all about my donating my former vibrator to the charity shop, and how on a 'certain hub', this subject had been gone into in some detail much to the amusement of all. I even quoted to her many of the comments that had been exchanged, and I could see she was starting to panic that someone who knows me in Guernsey, and knows I am her daughter, will inadvertently find this article on the Internet and it will embarrass her totally. I keep reassuring her that this is very unlikely, but that even if they did most people would find it funny. I am not sure she is too convinced!