When my twins were little, I’d tell them a story every night. Sometimes I’d read a book – Rosie Anderson MacDowell gave Alex his favorite book “Goodnight Moon”, and we read it until it literally fell apart. Sebi liked Thomas the Tank Engine stories. We read Curious George and The Runaway Bunny – But both boys loved Uncle Peter Stories. Those stories were their absolute favorites, and they would beg and plead for an Uncle Peter story.
My brother Peter got into more scrapes than any kid I know – and he must have broken both arms, both legs, had over a hundred stitches – and the twins relished each and every accident and mishap. The time when he hoed his toes, the time when he rolled down the hill in the tractor wheel and it was full of glass. The time he played tag with Julie and she shut the glass door just as he ran into it. The motorcycle accidents, the falling off the ladder, the time he ate too many children’s aspirin and had to get his stomach pumped. The boys loved these stories.
And even my husband would sometimes listen in. This was my husband’s favorite Uncle Peter story: One day, Peter was riding his motorcycle when a lady cut in front of him and turned with no blinkers. At the red light, Peter pulled up beside her, reached into her open window, and snapped off her turn signal lever. “I guess you don’t need this,” he said, and drove off.
My husband still tells that to anyone who doesn’t know the story. The twins preferred the stories that started off with blood and gore and ended up with everything all right, and Peter safe and sound. Even though they knew he was OK, they still worried until the story was over. The stories weren’t all about accidents. Peter stories included where we lived, our treehouse, the rope swing, the Tarzan phase (when he decided he didn’t want to wear clothes), his best friends, his love of frisbees and the time he burned the farm truck. It was a nice way to include my brother in my children’s life – they loved his stories, and I’m just glad they all had happy endings.