Wednesday, April 13, 2005

BUSHES! (Or, In Honor of My Mother Part I)

When I was little my mother came up with a family code word. That word was "Bushes." It referred to the family who lived across the street from us. My mother's reason for inventing this code word was to help me screen potential picker-uppers to be sure they were safe. Like, say some one I've never seen before comes to pick me up from dance class. "What's the code word?" I ask. If they say "Bushes," I get in the car with them. If they say "Tippy-toe, tippy-toe," I run away screaming. Like I said, this was the REAL reason for my mother's decision to have a family code word.

Now, in MY childish imagination, our code word existed for one very important, and very specific reason only: it existed in case my mom ever got her head stuck in our dishwasher. It really must be said that our dishwasher was a hazard. If fully loaded, with both trays fully extended, it would usually fall away from the wall and land on the dish doer's foot. So, naturally, I assumed that the dishwasher would be the source of a family crisis in which the special code word would be used. Just imagine: the dishwasher is starting to fall, and my mother, playing the naive hero, sticks her head in it to see what the matter is. Disaster strikes! She can't get her head out, and in a desperate voice calls out "BUSHES!" Seeing only her backside, I realize what has happened, run across the street to get Mrs. Bush, and she returns to help my mother. Seemed totally plausible to me, especially when comparing it to a stranger trying to pick me up from dance class. Who would do that?


  1. itl at picturing GA's backside hanging out of the dishwasher.

    We had a codeword in our family also. It was ruby slippers.

    And I think we both know from firsthand experience that tippy toe tippy toe is too long to be used as a code word, espec. over IM.

  2. Also, WATS, because our code word was constructed mainly at the thought of someone else also picking us (my sister and me) up from Dance class.

  3. WHAT ARE YOU DOING! Now we have to change the code word. It was also our code word because it was our meeting place should disaster ever strike. You have just put our entire family in danger by divulging the code word.
    (So now if someone says "Bushes" to you Carly it is NOT safe to get in their car.)

  4. Um, the code word changed ten years ago, Kacy. I guess we forgot to tell you. Oops....

  5. LOL - Great blog, lots of laughs!

    Our family code word was "April" (our dog's name). So if someone was going to pick us up, they would say, "April said it was okay for you to come with me." We did have to use it once. Then of course, the code word "Shadow" (the cat).

  6. I love that your mom picked "Bushes" because of THE Bushes across the street. But really, it works on so many levels. I love it.

    You know, we didn't have a code word. Sometimes I felt jealous of my friends (you) who had one. Maybe my parents knew that Jana and I were so uptight that no amount of correct code words would have persuaded us to get in the car with someone we didn't know very well. Ah the curse of a high-strung child.

  7. Ours was "Hjalmar" (pronounced "yalmahr") as in

    Knock knock

    "who is it"

    "Uncle Hjalmar"

    It is safe to open the door

    This code word was necessary because in the 70's it was safe for an 8 year old to babysit a 6 year old and a 4 year old and perhaps a 2 year old and in extreme cases an infant as well...Oh, how I miss the 70's. Everything was less complicated.

  8. I didn't know the family code word was Hjalmar until I was, like, a junior in high school (did I just type "like"??). Thanks for filling me in, fam.