Thirty-five years ago this week, a six-year-old Christine O’Donnell, high on Twinkies and Pop Rocks, showed up at the kickball game of a classmate and ended up spending the afternoon in his rumpus room. Here’s the story of his escapade with the would-be Delaware senator.
I barely knew Christine when she turned up at my kickball game during recess. It was Halloween, 1975. We’d met for the first time only three months earlier when she sashayed into Mrs. Monroe’s elementary school class. Every boy in the class turned to stare, but not me. No, I was immune to her charms. In fact, I hadn’t thought of her since, not once, despite the fact that she sat in front of me and taunted me with her mesmerizing ponytail.
Yet here she was watching my kickball game, standing there with a friend. And both of them were on a sugar rush, flying high on Twinkies and Pop Rocks — a deadly combination.
She asked if she and her friend could join our kickball game. Jimmy yelled, “No gurls allowed!” Undaunted, Christine suggested that she and I meet again after school and retire to my downstairs rumpus room, where I could help her change into a Halloween costume for the after-school playground parade. How could I say no?
But when she showed up that afternoon, she was already dressed in her ladybug costume. I was wearing my brother’s Cub Scout uniform. There was an awkward silence. I looked her up and down. She couldn’t be more than five-and-a-half, I surmised — five-and-three-quarters at most. When I later found out that she was already six, and that I had spent the afternoon with an older girl, I just couldn’t cope with it. I thought to myself, “One day this girl is going to use her youthful looks for political gain.”
Then she got this sly twinkle in her eye and said, “Wanna play patty-cake? In the rumpus room?”
What choice did I have?
We went downstairs and closed the door so my Mom couldn’t hear.
Things got physical pretty fast.
She started warming up by clapping her hands together and rehearsing her lines: “Patty-cake patty-cake, baker’s man…”. Yet even before she got to practicing the “Bake me a cake as fast as you can” part, I got a gander at her fingernails. I immediately noticed that the trimming trend had completely passed her by. Gross!
Then she stopped and said, “You know — I’ve never done this before.”
I could hardly believe that was true. How could a good-to-go girl like Christine have never played patty-cake before? She must have had dozens of invitations. She then confessed that, well, back in nursery school she had played patty-cake a few times, but that she was a new girl now, “born again” as she called it. This was the first time since she had sworn off her patty-cakin’ ways.
But those untrimmed fingernails were just too much for me to handle. The thought of clapping our hands together made me physically nauseous. So I used her “never done this kind of thing before” line as an excuse to stop the game before it started: “How about we just watch Banana Splits reruns instead?”
“Good idea,” she said. “I didn’t really want to play patty-cake anyway. I was just testing myself.”
So we went upstairs and watched The Banana Splits, while my mom gave us oatmeal cookies and milk. Then we went to the parade — where she hooked up with Jimmy! (Later, he told me that she never once played patty-cake with him either.)
Oh, did I say that I actually had played patty-cake with Christine O’Donnell? Sorry about that. Didn’t mean to lure you in with a deceptive headline or anything like that. It’s just that Stalker.com pays a pretty penny for this kind of story, so I thought I’d better cash in now while the cashing was good.