Thursday, October 29, 2009

Talk Thursday: Semi-True Stories

When I was a kid the Cascades song, Rhythm of the Rain would run through my head endlessly. Which isn’t bad if you’re not trying to go to sleep. But usually I was, tossing and turning, thumping my pillow, and listening to the darn song in my head – verse after verse, chorus after chorus, over and over again. Wide awake.

A bit later on in life I learned to alter my breathing to fall asleep. And a few years after that when we moved to Oregon I would lay in bed at night and wander the streets of my old neighborhood mentally naming each kid, in each house – in order. Then I would name their dogs, their cats, parents, sixty houses, I got pretty good at it. Needless to say, forty years later I can still do it, except it doesn’t put me to sleep anymore. Now I just take pills and say my prayers.

What I did get from the whole exercise (which expanded into blocks away from my neighborhood) was a good memory, or at least the realization that I have a fairly good memory. Apparently better than most, I thought everyone had this good of a memory – people like my friend Pam make me see otherwise.

The one thing I can’t remember is the first grade. I remember kindergarten, crap I remember the first day of kindergarten (but it cost me a nickel if I said crap.) I have a cute little picture of me from that year. I remember my teacher. I remember being bummed at the end of the year because it was summer of all darn things and there was no school (we didn’t get bummed, that actually came several years later.)

My first grade – almost a complete blank. I know my teacher was Miss Saurdeaux (in my head it is Miss Sourdough) she was young and blonde. Tada that is it! I have no school picture from that year and I’m fairly damn certain that is the reason it is a large blank in my memory.

Except one day – the day they took the school pictures. Yep, I remember that very day, because I was home sick with the mumps. It was a sunny November day, I was wearing my Halloween costume (really Girl Scout’s Honor – well except I’d not been a Girl Scout yet, or even a Brownie) mom had gotten me an angel costume that year… remember when you could get flannel Halloween costumes that miraculously became jammies? Been there.

Anyway, it was late morning when my mother became panicked because Butch was missing. I don’t mean he was suppose to be in the front yard missing, I mean he wasn’t to be found anywhere in the neighborhood (which was the afore mentioned three block cul-de-sac of sixty homes) and his trike was missing. Yes, trike he was four years old. Come to think of it Mrs. Taylor couldn’t find Donny, and Mrs. Winters was missing a Lance (it was a blessing really). The three had suddenly disappeared – Butch, the eldest by a year or so was the ringleader – the neighbors were sure.

My mother called the police; her panic increased she was stuck between staying with her sick child and combing the streets looking for her missing child. The cops on the other hand were scouring everywhere within a six block radius for the missing miscreants. I was languishing of the mumps in my Halloween Angel jammies, watching Sheriff John (it was lunch time.)

Mr. Taylor (they lived two houses down) came home and was just about to join the search when a black and white pulled in front of our house with Lance and Donny in the back seat, trikes jutting from the trunk. Yes my brother was safe, but they needed help.

A few days before a little boy a few blocks away had gotten lost in the storm system for a day and a half. In La Mirada the storm culvers are massive concrete structures that run for miles under the streets. It had been feared that the three had some how found their way into the storm system and were lost. A smart officer had decided that was a bit too evolve for three toddlers and checked the local grocery stores. Nope, no trikes and kids at Safeway (which would have been the much preferred location, no big streets to cross.) None, at the liquor store (personally I loved the candy counter at the liquor store.) Across the street at Boys Market (clearly the name should have been a hint) the officer found three trikes jammed in the phone booths outside the store. Why inside the phone booths? They didn’t want their trikes discovered (there’s a hot market out there for bashed and battered trikes) and stolen. Or maybe they didn’t want to be found by the cops.

What was definitely known was that Butch was in big trouble. Not only had he crossed La Mirada Boulevard with his rag tag team of lost boys, but he was refusing to get into the car with a stranger. In fact he wouldn’t even talk to the stranger (except to say he’s not allowed to talk to strangers) and yes, to him that meant the cop was a stranger – no talk.

I don’t remember what happened when Mr. Taylor brought him home, because I was sick and still had the mumps. Hey, I was only six, give me a break. It was while I was in the first grade and Crap! I can’t even remember that year.



JulieAnn said...

Is this really semi-true?!

Cele said...

Well, hmmmm. The Halloween Angel Jammies could have been from the Halloween before, so maybe it wasn't November. Hmmm.

Psamanthe said...

I have heard this story several times before. Never in so much detail, and never the very end, which is fabulous... I hope it's a true part.

That sounds like something Burp would do....