Through Any Given Door ~ Catherine Sevenau

Catherine Sevenau Catherine Sevenau is a writer, humorist, and storyteller living in Sonoma, California. The stories in this series are excerpts from her book, Through Any Given Door, a Family Memoir. The full memoir is available as a web series at A longtime Realtor and Owner/Broker at CENTURY 21 Wine Country, she can be reached at [email protected]


They were no angels in disguise

Posted on May 2, 2022 by Catherine Sevenau

Chapter 32: 1947 • Sonora ~ My siblings were no angels in disguise as they tore through the house like a band of young heathens. The kids not only had the run of the house, they had the run of the town. Most summer days the three older ones were off exploring and swimming, roller skating the cracked sidewalks, and riding their bikes up and down the steep hills. Claudia tried to keep up, but she was too little. 

The rest of the time they spent terrorizing each other. Across the creek, Kelley’s Central Motors sold new and used cars, mostly Chevrolets, and the mechanics working in the back witnessed the kids’ shenanigans. While Mom and Dad were at work, it was free rein for this pack of wild animals that passed themselves off as children. Dad left their guidance to the church; Mom left it to the winds.

Turning 12 and 13, things changed between Carleen and Larry. It became the three girls, Carleen, with Betty (age seven) and Claudia (age five), against Larry. He was now a young boy with too many sisters whose sole purpose in life was to torment him. They were constantly sneaking into his room, so he talked Mom and Dad into letting him put a padlock on his door. However, that didn’t stop Carleen and her little minions. 

The next time Larry was working she pulled a chair into her closet, balanced a stack of books on the seat so she could remove the wallboard between the two bedrooms, hauled herself up, pulled Claudia through first so Betty could help push her, then wormed through the crawlspace. Dropping down into Larry’s adjoining closet, they were now locked in his room. They whiled away the afternoon on his bed, listening to his new radio, reading his diary and comics, rifling through his coin and stamp collections, and stealing his gum.

When they heard his key in the padlock, they realized there wasn’t enough time to climb back through the closet. At first they laughed, but Larry was madder than they’d ever seen him. “Run!” Carleen hollered. She and her two shadows, their four bony legs scrambling after her, escaped as he stood surveying his crumpled gum wrappers, spilled coins, and scattered magazines. 

He hated that he had no control, resented that he had no privacy, and furious that he had no peace. Squealing and howling, the girls raced to the bathroom, the only room in the house with a real lock. Panting behind the bolted door, Betty and Claudia cowered in the corner as Carleen lay in wait.

To be continued…


Catherine Sevenau is a writer, humorist, and storyteller living in Sonoma, California. The stories in this series are excerpts from her book, Through Any Given Door, a Family Memoir, the full memoir is available at Catherine is an author of three books, several volumes of family genealogy, and a longtime Broker/Realtor at CENTURY 21 Epic Wine Country. She can be reached at [email protected]


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