Sunday, September 28, 2008


We lived outside most of the year, running around the neighborhood and doing simple things like sandlot baseball, climbing trees, riding bikes, hop-scotch, and jacks. I was never very good at jacks and double dutch totally escaped me. I could turn, so often volunteered to be a permanent turner.

Mostly I remember my late grade school and high school friendships that were away from the immediate neighborhood. But, as I press backward I remember Petey Popel. He was a year younger and my best friend before I was six and maybe just a bit after. His Dad drank beer. He kept it under the sink. It was Pabst Blue Ribbon. Sometimes he shocked me by giving Petey a swig. Once he offered it to me, and laughed at my shocked reaction. Petey had airplanes hanging from fishing line in his bedroom. He had a baby sister, Laura Jane. They moved because their rental house was too small for a 4-person family. We visited them once after.

During the polio epidemic of the early 50s, Marty and Bob Popel had a scary few days when the doctors suspected that Petey had contracted the disease. He was fine. He loved the drama. I prayed for Petey.

Spike and Mike were best friends and mostly had no time for us, but once in awhile deigned to play with the little kids. Daily they would run towards each other's houses yelling, "Ee-ock-ee! "Ee-ock-ee!" I loved it, but they forbid us to use their special language. Spike had an old tool shed in his backyard where one day Petey and I climbed through the window and played a game of "I'll show you mine, if you'll show me yours. We bored very quickly, climbed out the window, and headed home.

After Spike moved, the Nordvall's moved in and we finally had another girl our age in the neighborhood. Doris' brothers were high school-aged and had girlfriends. We were fascinated. One day Doris showed me a lovely gold slim-line compact that one of the guys girlfriends had left at the Nordvall's. I coveted that compact. Stealing is a sin. I sinned. But, what could I do with it and not get caught? I gave it as a gift to Kathy Charvat. Her mother questioned such a nice gift, but I assured her that it was mine to give. Mrs. Nordvall called mom to see what I knew. I knew nothing. I never lied.

No comments: