Saturday, February 19, 2011

Boys Break Things

There is a simple truth in a girl’s life that we all have had to accept occasionally throughout the female life:  Boys break things.
I learned this repeatedly throughout my growing up years, since I had three brothers.  The first time was a minor breakage, but the breaking of my things grew in magnitude as my brothers grew.  I remember Christmas 1959—it was a wonderful Christmas, for Santa had gotten some extra money from the sale of hogs.  Pork prices must have been up for that time period.  When I opened my presents, I had received a bride doll.  She had luxurious black wavy hair like Elizabeth Taylor.  And I was given a two-piece set of pink metal refrigerator and range; the doors opened and closed; and, there were miniature boxes of cake mix, cans of peas, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.  It was amazing.  My oldest brother Don gave me a brush, comb, mirror, and talcum powder dresser set; I felt so grown up.  My older brother Robert gave me a make-up set for girls about my age (8).  Bill was four years old, and Mary was only 2, so I don’t remember what they gave.

I went back to school after break was over, taking my new doll.  I came home excited, for I was going to play with my new toys.  As I climbed the stairs to my room, I became apprehensive; there were white talc footprints heading down the stairs.  I ran to my room, and beheld the carnage. 

Everything was covered in talc powder.  My comb was broken, the mirror was cracked.  There was lipstick all over the face of my old doll.  The toy food boxes had been smashed, and there was a dent in the sides of the refrigerator and stove.  All my precious new toys had suffered a great assault. 

I ran down the stairs, “Mmmmooooommmmm!” all the way.  She was peeling potatoes for dinner, and didn’t even turn around.  “What’s the matter?” I poured out my heart, with all the frustration and pain an eight-year old girl can feel.  It was Bill mainly, but Mary did the lipstick, I knew this.  Bill broke my gifts.  “Well, go clean it up.”  She continued peeling.  I glanced into the living room, where the two miscreants sat innocently watching cartoons.  I wanted beatings, I wanted revenge, I wanted…something.

I went upstairs and cleaned up the mess, trying to clean off the lipstick, reshape the little cornflake box.  I never forgot:  Boys break things.

Recently, when I was visiting my daughter Erin, she asked the girls what they know about boys.  Without even looking up from their playing, they said in unison: “Boys break things.”  Another generation learns the hard truth.


  1. It is interesting to see a little girl and little boy of the same age play with the same thing. The girl usually plays with it as was intended by the manufacturer. The boy sees how quickly he can destroy it. It's always been difficult for me to let our friend's sons play in my daughter's room without cringing.

  2. One time a friend of Bobby's came over to "play" and he engineered a great new plan....His plan entailed dumping every single toy from the two dozen carefully sorted toy bins into a big pile in the middle of the floor! Needless to say, this kid was never welcome to play unsupervised with Bobby again.


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