Our house had an unusual feature--a doorbell in the dining room. The room had originally been a screened back porch, but the previous owners had enclosed it and added windows to create a one-room addition. The doorbell at the back door was now in the house--painted over, so my mom had never noticed it.
Our family dog, Prince, was trained to fetch my mom any time someone came to the front door and knocked or rang the doorbell. To the wild entertainment of my brothers and me, we discovered that if we rang the doorbell in the dining room, Prince would start barking furiously and tug my mom by her sleeve to the front door.
Even my dad got in on the action. We'd watch with barely suppressed glee as my mom opened the door and peeked outside, only to be greeted by an empty front porch. "But there's nobody here," she'd say to Prince, with a confused twinge in her voice. Most nights she thought the house was under siege by ghosts. She'd sometimes stand there a full minute, staring into the misty dark.
One day in sixth grade, I got into major trouble at school. The music teacher, Mrs. Machida, kept getting upset at me for horsing around with my friends during class. Finally, she ordered me to report to the principal's office. I said, "OK, fine--you fuckin' BITCH!"