I received a very specific request that does not revolve around making a suit out of my skin and I'm going to honor it. Seriously, I’m open to requests, but stop creeping me out!
While I have divulged some nicknames I have had here, I rarely tell anyone about this one. Mainly because only one person calls me it, and while I’ve actually grown to enjoy it, it has a negative connotation.
I’m about to break my silence on the subject publicly, so gather round the proverbial campfire Frazzled Friends, this tale takes us back 36 years…
When I was 5, my Frazzled brothers (aka The Twins) were 3, one Frazzled sister was 9, and the other Frazzled sister was 12. The nickname “Queenie” was given to me by my 9 year old sister on a family car ride and it has ridden shotgun with me ever since.
Usually, when we went out as a family we would go in my mother’s station wagon (a disgusting puke-green, turd-shaped monstrosity, later dubbed, very fittingly, Jabba The Hut) We girls fit comfortably in the back seat and my brothers either sat on sisters laps, or as they got older, rolled around in the rear cargo hold.
My father owned a swank Cadillac. It was white with a tan (I think) leather (or maybe it was velour?) interior. It had electric windows and fold-down arm rests in both the front and back seats, but only sat 5 comfortably. On this particular day, we were going in “Daddy’s Caddy” (curse you pimps for giving that term a different meaning!) and it was a treat!
When taking the Cadillac, my sisters sat in the back seat with my brothers on their laps and I think prior to this day I would squish between them all. However, this time my dad told me to climb up front. I sat between my parents and my head was strategically aligned with my fathers elbow…not too comfortable, but I was happy to be in the most prestigious non-steerage seat in the car. My father suggested we fold down the armrest and I sit on top of it. Fantastic! I then had the best view in the whole vehicle! My mother voiced concerns about me “flying right out the windshield” but eventually aquiessed and we went merrily on our way.
I know Frazzledsister9 was not happy with the seating arrangement. I can’t remember her actual complaints, but she was not shy in voicing them. I felt bad for her, because in voicing them she got negative parental feedback about being quiet and not stirring the pot or “feeling gypped”. I knew any expression of the tenuous glee I was experiencing could cause one of the other backseat riders to pipe in. This was dangerous ground. If the protests grew too annoying, either parent could decide the complaints from the “peanut gallery” were just too much to listen to, that could result in the decision to relegate me to the back seat, so I kept my mouth shut.
But I smiled. A lot. I was thrilled to be perched upon what would later be dubbed “Queenie’s throne”. At one point Sister9 said I was rubbing it in by smiling. I felt bad, because I was not the kind of kid who took pleasure in others slights, and I certainly wasnt ready to give up my newfound awesome seat. So I tried to stop. My dad squeezed my sneaker (awesome half red, half green jobbies with stop signs on the toe) and when I looked at him he winked. He gave a quick, tiny smile, readjusted his posture and quickly put on a serious, concentrating-on-the-road, face. For me, that smile said I was being honorable and respectful and that I was a decent human for being considerate. But who knows? Maybe my dad was saying something else. Or nothing at all. Maybe he thought those sneakers were just as awesome as I did. Regardless, it was right around that point Sister9 crowned me “Queenie”.
While my sister called me many other names throughout my life, Queenie was the go-to if I seemed to be getting special treatment. If we were getting in that car it was “Queenie gets the throne!” And if we were going in my mother’s car, which was the norm, it was “Queenie has to sit back here with the rest of us!” When my father bought me my first baseball mitt and taught me how to catch and throw, it was “Daddy is playing with Queenie!” On my birthday, it was “Happy birthday, Queenie!” and so on. On my wedding day 26 years later, Sister9 even brought along a sceptre and a satin pillow to place it upon and surprised me and the entire room with the announcement that “This is Queenie’s day!”
Being the middle child of five Frazzled kids naturally comes with its own set of issues, situations where I was given preferential treatment, even if only perceived by others, were very few and far between. I hated being called “Queenie”, I loved the circumstances in which it was used, they were times I was happiest, but I didn’t like feeling my happiness came at the expense of others. However, these days, when Frazzledsister9 calls me “Queenie”, we both laugh, it reminds us of good times and being young, when life seemed so difficult and an argument could spring from any interaction, but was really wonderful and simple. We had a pretty sweet life back then and fortunately we find humor in stories from our youth (even if the event left permanent scars…my bad FrazzledTwins…) and enjoy sharing them with each other and our own children.
Ahh, memory lane. Bittersweet? Possible prelude to handling the backlash my awesomeness would inevitably bring?
I think we know the answer 😉