There were other punishment systems for housework infractions. Weekly family councils occurred for a while. Everyone could air his grievances about everyone else and the aggrieved decided on punishment for the perps. There was solitary confinement; during an incarceration, you were confined to your room and one of the other kids had to do your chores. There were beatings, of course, and groundings for messy bedrooms. Unfortunately, none of it ever worked to Gen and Doug's satisfaction. We kids remained unruly wreckers of an orderly house.

In addition to organizing the workforce, Gen and Doug refurbished an intercom system that Doug had installed in the house some years be, but which was defunct. Something that looked like a WWII-era field phone hung in each bedroom, with a signal button mounted on the wall and a buzzer mounted on the ceiling. A handset and a group of master buttons located by the basement steps, just outside the kitchen, permitted voice communication and relayed a unique buzz to every bedroom. There was one in the back yard, too. Because each bedroom (except for Bill's) was occupied by more than one kid, Doug and Gen developed a buzzer code for each kid in the room, something like this: One buzz summoned Larkann. Two buzzes summoned me. Three buzzes meant COME AND GET IT!

With this system, Gen intended to reduce the amount of shouting that had to go on in the house, but the buzzers actually increased the noise. They were horrible to hear. The one in Sue's and Margaret's room buzzed like a claxton alarm in a firehouse. Larkann's and mine was a clanging telephone bell. Bill's bonger out in the garage sounded like a lumberyard telephone ringer. Becky's sounded like an alarm clock bell. They were all LOUD.

The intercom phones worked for a while, but eventually they all broke down and remained in the same defunct condition in which Gen found them in the first place. They hung on our bedroom walls for years, ignored and forelorn, and with their brown Bakelite housings drying out and cracking. The buzzers worked just fine and remained a part of the racket for the rest of our time in Ogden, even when the house's kid population was down to just Becky and me.

We all got along pretty well for the first year or so. The Kershaws were tolerant and kind siblings, playmates, and friends. Doug and Gen got along well, too, but that didn't last. One of them started up with a "My-kids-your-kids" power struggle that lasted until there were none of "your kids" left in the house. The struggle not only generated unpleasantness between our parental role models, but eventually pitted us kids against one another as well.