It was July tenth somewhere near nineteen hundred and fifty six (give or take a year). My brother and I lived on the corner where Wight Street ended at Congress Street. Charlene, who was four days older than me, lived on the other corner. It was her eighth birthday (give or take a year) and her mother decided she should have a girls only birthday party. Francis, Charlene’s mother, didn’t like to think of her only daughter as the Tom Boy that she really was.
My aunt Eunice, who lived just across Congress Street from our house was taking care of my cousin, Larry. It was the first and last summer for that arrangement (for some unknown reason). Anyway, Larry, my brother Mike, and I were not invited to the “girlie party”. Needless to say, this did not bode well with the three of us.
So, being the victims that we were, we decided to stand out on Congress Street, in front of Charlene’s house, and taut the little brats. Then we began tossing a few rocks onto the patio umbrella. Nothing serious, mind you, just enough annoyance to let them know that we weren’t happy about the non invitation.
Francis came out and “yelled” at us a couple of times telling us to go find something better to do. Something better? You gotta be kidding? This was the most funnest thing that we’d thought of all day long. We weren’t about to give it up anytime soon. Well, about her third trip out to scold us, Francis came “flying” around the corner of the house wielding a yard stick. “Feet, do your thing!”
That summer my dad had agreed to display some fishing boats in the field next to the corner of Congress and Wight Streets, so Mike and I made tracks toward the boats and crawled up under one that was sitting upside down on some saw horses. Larry, however, chose the high road. He ran down the street with Francis on his heels just missing his little butt with that yard stick.
Mike and I rolled with laughter under the safety of that boat while Larry was making tracks down Congress Street with his whole life flashing before him. He managed to out run Francis; she gave up chase and reassumed her position as the birthday party guard dawg in case of another assault from us neighborhood hoodlums.
Now, that’s not all of the story. My mom and aunt Eunice had watched “the chase” scene from the safety of Eunice’s dining room while sipping iced tea. They had decided to “lay low” until Francis retreated; they didn’t really need or want “a piece of her mind” that afternoon.
Larry, Mike and I regrouped behind our bunk house (dad had built us a bunk house out behind the garage where Mike and I slept during the summer months). That’s where my mom found us formulating our next assault strategy - let the inquisition began.
We told her the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; that is, that it was all Francis’ and Charlene’s fault for having a party without inviting the poor neighborhood urchins – that be us. Somehow we escaped being punished for that incident; I think mom was more amused than mad (her inability to keep from chuckling gave her away).
Anyhow, she told us that we needed to “find something better to do!” Really? What could possibly be better than what we’d just pulled off? But we were more or less forced to set aside our strategic planning session and do the “cars and trucks” thing for the rest of the afternoon.
That’s pretty much how the summer went; one neighborhood incident after another. We still don’t understand, to this very day, why Aunt Eunice decided not to take care of Larry the following summer. I can tell you that we didn’t always get away without punishment and that was back when parents weren’t afraid to, as dad would put it, “Battle Your Ass”.
Take Care Until Next Time - - - - - -