WE PAPER THE LIVING ROOM

By Nettie Hallam Steinbeigle

Herman, his Mom and Nettie
Herman, his mother, Elizabeth, and his wife, Nettie.

Ma says to Pa. “The holidays are coming. I think we should paper the living room. I think it would be nice.”

He agrees. “Come on kids, we are going to paper the ceiling. Ray, fetch two step ladders and a board; we will use that as a scaffold. Donnie, bring the two saw horses and two boards; we will use it to cut the paper and paste it. Grandma, you mix the paste. Iris, fetch the scissors and yard stick. Ma, you hand me paper and brush when grandma gets the paste on.”

Up on the scaffold goes father. I hand him the roll of paper and brush. He sticks one end on the ceiling; starts walking across the scaffold brushing the paper on ahead of him. Meanwhile, the paper comes loose in back of him and is falling as he goes along. We all stand with mouths open, watching, afraid to say anything. He gets to the end; turns around. The paper behind him hits him in the face and the end above him falls on his head. Silence for a minute. Then he lets out a roar and some fancy cuss words, takes the paper back, puts on more paste, says, “Ma you get the broom; Ray, you get the dust mop; Don, you get the floor mop. All of you stand up here behind me and hold the paper up when I paste it to the ceiling.”

Meantime, Iris opens the door for the cat. She sees us all up on this board and thinks we are playin’ a game. She jumps up too. The dog sees the cat; thinks why should she be up there? I belong to this family too – so up he jumps. He is part collie and shepard – weighs 110 lbs. Crack goes the board! Down we all come: broom, mops, paper, kids, dog, cat, Pa and me. Everyone is laughing so hard they can’t get up. The dog heads for the door, the cat hides under the chair, grandma demands to know what in the heck is going on, and Iris runs to the neighbors.

We pull ourselves together. “Donnie, go get another board; grandma, paste another piece of paper. O.K. now let’s try again.” So, we paper the ceiling. Pa in the lead and his three musketeers with broom and mops behind him.
Herman, his Mom and Nettie
Three months later I very casually say, “Pa, let’s paper the walls in the living room.”
He looks at me and says, “You are nuts.” Next day he comes home with paint and roller; says, “Here, enjoy yourself.”