“Mary Beth has a boyfriend now and can’t babysit tonight,” Momma said. “Her sister is coming instead.”
I stared in shock. For two years, Mary Beth was our exclusive babysitter. How could she not come?
The sister seemed friendly enough, but something was different. The bond wasn’t there. Perhaps it’s because she didn’t want to play with me. She stayed on the phone and watched television. I was hurt and mad.
It happened again on a Saturday afternoon; Mary Beth couldn’t come but sent one of her friends. I wanted Mary Beth.
The friend arrived and Momma left. I explained to whatever-her-name-was, that I was going to my friend’s house, a block over. She told me, “No.” I made up my mind that she was mean, and I didn’t like her. I gave her a dirty look as I jumped on my bicycle and sped away. When I came home, the mean babysitter was gone. But Momma didn’t look happy. She was on the telephone with someone.
She handed me the phone. “Mary Beth wants to talk to you.”
“She wants to talk to me?” I was excited.
“I’m very upset with you.” Her voice was stern. “My best friend only agreed to babysit because I told her how sweet you are. But she called me crying and said she would never babysit for me again. I’m disappointed in you.”
My chest felt crushed and tears wet my cheeks. “I’m sorry.”
Her words devastated me far more than any spanking would have. Sadly, I don’t remember seeing her again before we moved away from Phoenix in 1971.
*I wish I knew her last name. My mother doesn’t remember. I want to look her up on Facebook and make her my friend. I want her to know that little Phyllis Earwood turned out all right. I want her to know that she was the best babysitter, EVER!