Posted by blk1 on 30th June 2008
I have to confess right up front that I wasn’t going to write a piece for today, but I just clicked on to Kevin’s piece and I’m inspired to remember my neighborhood and share a bit of my childhood on our block and I am not ready to jump into my digital piece due for our Summer Institute kickoff. What a lovely way to procrastinate…
Most of my Catherine Street memories still vivid are about flirting with danger. It was a neighborhood of boys. My two younger brothers: Jeff and Rick, the 3 Karow brothers: Jeffrey, Glen and Ricky, the Haimes brothers, Mark and Howie, the Sinicks: Wayne and Gary and that was just on Catherine. One block over: Steven and Gary.
With boys of course there’s lots of sports: baseball in summer, basketball on the Karow court in the fall and of course winter is all about snow. But summer was special: outdoors, longer days melting into evenings and the coming of summer.
I was in the older group of kids so even though I was a girl before girls were legitimate for serious sports, I was almost equal to the boys on our block and I could hold my own with a bat and glove( I had my own). We played a loose version of the game depending on the numbers playing. And we had empty lots to chose from although as we lost a lot, we gained more kids to play with.
When my dad built our house and the my aunt’s on the lot across from us there were more empty lots than there were houses or kids. We always had the road and our house was at the end of street, a dead end.
So where was the danger you’re wondering?
The group of players was always changing. With Steven from the other block, (my best friend), my brothers, the younger Karows ,and Howie and Mark we were fine. Everyone seemed to be equal but when Wayne showed up the chemistry changed.
Wayne needed to take charge. He needed to subvert the activity, adding his rules to the game. His dad owned a toy store and we were all envious. He always had something new to entice us with, trap us.
One morning he arrived with a cigarette lighter and some rope and suggested we play pirates. I was always afraid of Wayne in general and today very specifically, especially when he thought I would make the best candidate to walk the plank first.
I didn’t want to play but I couldn’t say no. He had me tied and blindfolded and I could hear the lighter sparking and feel the heat of the flame at my ear and I wondered how I could get away. Seemed like a long time before he stopped the clicking and the talking. Suddenly he pulled off the rope and I grabbed the blindfold as Wayne was being dragged away by his father.
The other kids, my friend Steven were all relieved for me and for themselves.
This was not the end of Wayne but we began to join forces and refuse as a group. The humiliation we witnessed, served us well for the future.
Wayne, he’s still a dark figure who appears in my dreams. It’s a shame I can never resurrect the exciting velvet darkness of hide a seek instead.
I think though summer is a great subject to keep mining.
I will return.