With two half-brothers, eight and 10 years my senior, I suffered my share of tortuous early experiences. My bike was stolen and ridden to within an inch of its life. I was tripped in every doorway. I was taken on covert missions, and bribed and blackmailed into secrecy. I was taught to throw hira-shuriken and engineer sunken forts.
When the teenage F was expatriated from his basement, direct-entry bedroom for sneaking out and skateboarding on a broken leg, it was eight-year old Marnie who traded in a second-story bedroom. He tried to frighten me into refusing my cool new digs, trapping a giant spider in anticipation of my visit. He underestimated my critter-craziness . . . though I can't remember my exact response now, I'm sure it was something closer to, "ooh, neat!" than, "eeeek, Moooommmm!" I ended up living in that bedroom for years, sharing it with Emil the parakeet, Echo the Dutch rabbit, and fewer insects and arachnids than F would have had me expect.
. . . to be continued . . .