Denise McDonald Dorman

Long Untold Secrets in a Midwestern Bouvier Household

In Entertainment, Uncategorized, WriteBrain Media on April 26, 2009 at 6:47 pm

My best friend Christina Bouvier grew up in a household that outside observers would characterize as Punk’d-meets-Family Circus. The last kid in my quiet household, I was drawn to their chaos like sex abuse victims to pole dancing. One afternoon, as Christina and I ate our lunch, their chihuahua Squidee came racing past us with goggles made of tinfoil and a cape fashioned from a kitchen towel. Chasing behind him were Squidee’s costume designers, Christina’s brothers Petrov and Johan. It was a typical afternoon at their house. Christina was non-plussed, but I found their world nonpareil – a lively, magical place.

I fondly recall my every encounter with the Midwestern Bouviers, even when I was often the victim of Christina’s three younger brothers’ pranks. I learned early on that…
(a) the boys could pick the lock to any bathroom door
(b) I could never assume my towel and clothing would be awaiting me as I got out of the shower
(c) the blow dryer was probably filled with baby powder
(d) I should always double-check beneath my father’s Chevy pickup for three boys hidden, poised to grab my ankles, especially if it was after dark.

I was forever on the defensive against those three rapscallions – folding my clothes, pre-shower, inside a giant Ziploc and hiding them in the toilet tank. I carried a flashlight in my purse to inspect under my vehicle. Soon I added back bumper inspections to my routine, after the boys decorated it with tin cans on fishing line and a “Just Married” sign.

Try as they might, the Bouviers couldn’t hide their inability to be normal. There was the Sunday they invited the new pastor and his wife to their home. Christina’s brother Petrov, 8, determined that the fully exposed asshole of their German short-haired pointer Marcie was wildly indecent before a man of the cloth. He found masking tape and arranged it in a giant “X,” painstakingly concealing Marcie’s exit wound. As Marcie ran through the front parlor past their hallowed guests, Christina’s parents visibly deflated. They would quietly resign yet another house of God.

Christina’s mom Nan, forever overwhelmed with being an executive’s wife with four kids and a huge home, often asked Christina to help with parenting duties. On one occasion, Petrov refused to get out of the bath after several threats on his young life. Exasperated, Christina trotted out “Your balls are going to turn blue if you don’t get out right now!” She went downstairs to find her mother on her hands and knees, scrubbing the pantry floor. Minutes later, Petrov joined them, clad in just a towel, standing crotch-to-eyeball level before their mother. He pulled back the towel, revealing his family jewels, now coated in Nan’s robin’s egg blue eye shadow. Unaffected, Nan returned to her floor scrubbing and Christina quietly vowed revenge.

And so it went with the Midwestern Bouvier family, a home filled with non-stop shenanigans and hijinks until that fateful day Christina’s father left her mother, directing his time and substantial monies toward a newer, younger version of Nan. And it was through that prism that Christina, her daughter and I watched the HBO film Grey Gardens last weekend, understanding the why and the how of Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier.

  1. Denise, I should have known better that to read any of your comedy while eating. I have pork fried rice on my computer screen. Once again your originality shines through!

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