Sunday, January 17, 2010




1 : the law in force in the part of England held by the Danes before the Norman Conquest
2 : the part of England under the Danelaw

when i was around the ages of fourteen and fifteen, i did a lot of baby-sitting. i was officially too young to get a real job and officially too old to not have any money. i worked for at least four different families during this period, the most memorable being The Danes.

The Danes were cousins of a close friend, and they desperately needed someone to watch their three and six year old daughters. there were five children in total: one son whose name and age i don't remember, but he was old enough to not be living at home, so i only met him once; then there was laura (sixteen), adam (thirteen), amanda (six), and megan (four). the father was absent and the mother, toni, was an alcoholic that would leave me with her youngest children every friday and saturday night. she would stumble in the door between two and three in the morning, offer me a drunken ride home (which i took because it was way too far to walk), and pay me $20 for 7-8 hours of work.

it was at The Dane's house that i first saw Clerks. laura dane came home drunk with her friends one night (this often happened around 11pm) and brought a copy of the movie on vhs. they started watching it, but got bored within minutes and left the second they got a phone call about another party. i finished the movie by myself.

their house was also the first place i heard Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety. sometimes, after putting the children to sleep, i would retire to the dining room (where they mysteriously kept their stereo) and listen to albums in the dark until i heard toni fumbling with the lock.

the eldest daughter, sara, had died in a house fire two years prior to my baby-sitting stint. they built their new house on the same foundation. there was a portrait of sara on the living room wall, and i always felt like she was watching me.

i baby-sat for The Danes until i was old enough to get a real job cleaning wedding dresses at a laundromat for $5 an hour. toni would randomly call me sometimes, sounding desperate for help, but i couldn't do it.

this has nothing really to do with DANELAW, but i mean, does mirriam-webster really think i have anything to do with norman conquest? they're lucky i was able to find this picture.

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