Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The People on Your Street

We moved to our olive-colored house during my last month of first grade and we didn't move from there until the year before I graduated college. Some of the neighbors were there before we came and may be there still. We invented fanciful names for all of them and sometimes exaggerated stories. You have already heard of Paty, who lived right next door on the corner. We were the second house on the right, with a big pine tree in the front yard. Third house, on our other side, was a family of four, and the dad drove a Mercedes, which was a big deal on our street. We called them (secretly), the dad: MercED, the mom, MerceLINDA, the elder son, MercErry, and the baby, MercASON. The dog was MercIGGSY. You may have realized by now, we made up our own fun, a lot.

The other side of the street on the corner were two brothers who always wore diapers with cowboy boots (when they were toddlers!!). Straight across was a newspaper editor and his wife, he would come home and have a beer and pretzels and share with us, the pretzels, I mean, not the beer.

Next to the newspaper man, a sea captain and his wife moved in and put in a pool (also a big deal on the street). We tried to make friends so we would get invited to swim, but somehow, she never wanted two pestery little girls in her backyard, so we called her Mary and did endless imitations of her squatting to water the lawn (why they put in a pool and not sprinklers, I don't know)...the funny part was imitating the cigarette she was always holding (no smokers in our family, it was taboo and therefore instantly funny) and her gravelly voice when she would yell at her dog, Skipper, when he would try to run out of the yard, "Skaaaaypaaaah!"

Next to her was Uncle Sam, who was nice and always brought us fresh plums from his tree in season. Just like we would share our bountiful harvest of oranges every year from the tree in the backyard. Uncle Sam had several high school age children, one son, Chris, who I thought was my true love and caused much embarrassment for me on several occasions.

Further down the street, it gets a little murky, because we weren't allowed to play out of Gigi's eyesight or range of her voice. There were a few other people, Merona and her sister on our side, four houses from the other end, and Karen across from them, who went to school with Paty.

We also had a lady mailcarrier for awhile, which was foreign to us, all our childhood books clearly showed that was a man's job(!) So, we were convinced she was an infiltrator, especially when she parked her mail jeep in front of Paty's house and she got out and sat in Paty's yard with a brown paper bag and cracked something on a tree trunk in code (later inspection after she left showed it was just hard-boiled eggs for lunch).

Such was our childhood cast of characters.

Then, Busy Body reminded me that:
I forgot Jimmy the milkman, Richard who stepped on my kite (the one I got as a reward for reading at school, blue, with a green gingham tail), in the houses behind ours: Brian R. and Becky M. (who was Mormon and couldn't have caffeine), Terry who ate dog food on a dare, Kelly G. who was wild and nasty (according to Paty) and therefore forbidden as a friend, the perfect Cathy O. (seriously, she always looked like a barbie or a mouseketeer), and of course, Jo and Danny--the developmentally-challenged girl and the bully whose dad was meaner than a junkyard dog...OK, maybe not, we never really met him, but his front yard looked like a junkyard. There was also that little kid who lived at the end of our street (between Paty's and Trevor's) whose grandpa (the neighborhood molestor) sat in his pickup truck all day long. And that little boy, Mony, who moved in next door to Jo and Danny--which I bet gave them the shock of their lives!
Remember Mary and her daughter Sandy were going to take Jo in and "fix" her and then Danny threw his skateboard at Sandy's car and there was almost a riot on the street because the Junkyard Dog-dad had to come over to talk to Mary about it? Also, don't forget when two sets of step-brothers and sisters moved in next door, peeping tom-ed into busy-body's window every night while blaring music to profess the eldest brother's love for her, and then the eldest sister stole half of our lemonade stand money when she just sat in the lemonade stand all day and contributed nothing.

Did anyone else grow up in such a colorful neighborhood? Or did we just have overactive imaginations?

Posted by The Editor.

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