My mother is in her eighties, and is still capable of great mischief.
Every Summer, up to a couple of years ago my Mom and her best friend Mary, kept foreign language students for a month in their homes. They usually kept two female students each, who ranged in age from 14 to 16 years old. A leader was appointed by the college to supervise their care, accommodation and to deal with any problems.
One particular year my Moms friend got two lovely Italian girls aged fifteen. They were best friends and Mary was mad about them. However the leader that year was very strict and Mary was a bit intimidated by her. This leader put rules in place for everything and constantly checked they were adhering to them. One of these rules was that the girls were not allowed out after 9.30pm.
Now my Mom and her friend are neighbours. Where we live there is a large green across the road from our house, with tennis courts and a playground. It is a mecca for teenagers at night in the Summer and it would not be unusual to see very young children playing there at 9.30pm. My Moms friend thought it most unfair to keep the girls in, so as it was safe, and she could actually see them, she regularly let them out until 10.30 pm.
One night, after 10pm, my Mom was going into the sitting room to watch the television when she caught sight of Mary’s two students, in the furthest most corner of the green. Without a thought she picked up the phone and rang her friend.
‘Ello, ello, my Mom began in a fake foreign accent of no particular country, ees Sophie ome? I speak with her, thank you’.
There was a silence on the other end. Then ‘Oh no, I’m sorry Sophie is having a shower, she’s just gone up this minute’.
‘Shower? Shower? Ees very late for shower’.
‘Yes it is late, oh my goodness yes it is very late. The water was not hot earlier, so she is only gone for a shower now. Just this minute actually. I don’t know how long she will be’.
‘Okay, okay, zat is okay. I speak with Anna now, thank you’.
‘Anna. You want to speak with Anna?’…. ‘Okay, no problem, can you wait a minute and I’ll get her for you?’.
Then there was silence. My Mom told us she was beside herself laughing at this stage. Looking out the window she could see the long gangly figure that is Mary’s husband racing across the green, arms waving as he shouted for Anna and Sophie.
Meanwhile Moms friend came back on the phone. ‘Hello?’.
‘Yes yes ello, where is Sophie? Ees she ome? Tell truth please’.
‘Oh yes, yes, she is of course home, but she is speaking with her mother on the telephone and she is just saying goodbye now’.
Silence. My Mom didn’t say a word as she did her best not to laugh. Eventually she saw the two girls go in the gate to their house, and through the phone she could hear whispers.
‘Ello, ello, ello’, she began to roar. Then she heard my friend say ‘Oh here is Anna now’.
As she did so my Mom burst out laughing. After a moment she heard her friend shout her name in disgust, and she knew the penny had dropped.
Telling us what she had done amused my Mom almost as much as the joke she had played, and I must say we all laughed alongside her, as I marvelled at how much she enjoyed a good laugh.
Yes she may be in her eighties, but she certainly has remained young at heart.