I'm republishing this oldie but goodie. Forever friends like Angie, Clare, Tracey and Amy come into your life and they stay in your heart forever.
I feel that this story deserves a little introduction mainly because my Mom is going to read it. Rest assured while this is the truth, we never did anything really bad. It was normal childhood mischief and we never hurt anyone or caused a huge problem. Honest. That being said, I'm too old to be grounded now anyway.
When I was a little girl, about 11 or 12 my friends and I were always getting into trouble. For example, Clare and Maxine, would jump off of Maxine's roof, into the garden of a neighbor. They would pick carrots and eat them and put the tops back in the ground. Not a terrible thing to do but certainly, not saintly either.
One summer day we were looking for something to do and we started talking about the old school on Third St. and 9th Ave. The school was abandoned long before we were even born. It was a big sandstone building and I heard it was a boys school. It was closed down many years before.
It made us wonder what exactly was inside that empty building? We weren’t clever enough to wait until dark, so we gathered up some tools we hoped no one would miss and we all peddled down to the building and parked our bikes on the alley side of the old school. There were windows to the basement rooms on that side. All we had to do was pry off the boards that were over the windows and we could lower ourselves into the building. Who knew what kind of treasures we would find? It was so exciting.
Now at this point, being 11 years old, we should have had a better plan. One or two of us should have been working on the window and the rest should have been watching for cops, interested parents or nosy neighbors. After all, I read a lot of Nancy Drew books and she always did things in the dark and when no one was around to watch. But no, we were so anxious to have an adventure, no one was watching and it was broad daylight.
Just as we pried the first board from the window and got our first glimpse inside the old building we heard “hey what are you kids doing?”. This was not good.
I tripped and fell on the wrench I had in my hand, I grabbed it and jumped on my bike and peddled like there was no tomorrow. As was our routine, we peddled in the opposite direction of our houses. If you are in trouble, it isn’t smart to lead adults right to your house. Besides, this guy didn’t look familiar so hopefully he didn’t recognize any of us.
As we peddled around several blocks furiously making our way back to our homes I felt something wet on my right knee. I looked down and almost fell off my bike.
My pants were ripped and so was my knee. I could see my kneecap through the hole in my pants. This wasn’t good. Little bumps and bruises are easy to explain. But this almost looked like a doctor’s visit kind of thing and those are a little harder. After all, I couldn’t just tell the truth.
My mind was racing as fast as my legs, I had to think of something believable and quick. I needed someone to look at my knee. I rode my bike straight into the backyard and laid it down behind the lilac bushes so it couldn’t be seen from the road. That was on purpose too. We were pretty sneaky sometimes.
Then I ran inside and up to my room.
My Mom and my sister Mary were upstairs talking and didn’t really notice that I was upstairs. I went into the bathroom and got a washcloth, soaked it in cold water and put it on my knee. I sat down on the end of my bed, still trying to think of a good story. I had to explain the wrench in my room, the tear in my pants and why my knee cap was showing. I was starting to sweat, I thought I was too young to sweat.
My Mom came in my room and asked me what happened as she
looked at my knee. I just said I fell down on a rock. that sounded good, it would explain the bruising and the ripped pants,. It worked, whew, ok now I can start with the boring details.
“Jody and I were riding our bikes and we put them down, and I tripped and I fell on a rock down by the lake on those railroad tracks. There were a lot of rocks by good old Lake Superior. Never mind that I was no where near the lake that day, they didn’t know that.
Soon after that they tore down the old school and whatever was in it was carted away by dump trucks. We went over the empty lot carefully looking for something that was missed. I kept hoping we would find an old book or diary of some kind. We didn’t find anything but some bricks.
And I bet you thought Timmy Fleck was the only one in Ashland who did that sort of thing didn’t you?
Never underestimate a goody-two-shoes. You would be surprised at some of the things I did. Some I will admit, some I won’t, but I can truthfully say, I never skipped school, I was never tardy and I never handed in an assignment late and I never had a detention. Basically I was very well behaved
And I never gave the police my real name........
Like the time we were playing the beer can trick on 3rd street. You put an empty six-pack of beer in the middle of the street and tie fishing line to it and then hide in the bushes.
When someone stops their car, you pull the six pack away. It was very funny to an 11 year old. But what was really funny was the night a car stopped, a car with policemen in it. We all scattered, like usual to our hiding spots up the block and away from our houses, except for Angie.
She got tangled up in the fishing line!
When the policeman, tugged on the line and followed it into the bushes, he came upon Angie and asked her what she was doing. She told him with a completely straight face, “I was sleeping”
The cop asked her who her friends were and like a true blue friend she said “I don’t have any friends”. We were all so loyal back then. So she did the only thing she could do. She let him cut the fishing line so she could get untangled, then she gave the cops a fake name, address and phone number. He said he would call her parents and she looked sad until he drove away.
After they were out of sight, we almost fell out of the bushes across the street, we were laughing so hard. “I was sleeping? Are you kidding? “ That was so funny. It still is. I can’t believe she told him she didn’t have any friends. And with a straight face no less. God we were good back then.
Since I love my nephews who are still young and impressionable, I don’t think I will tell them this story until they grow up. Especially because their mother was in the bushes with us.
I wish I hadn’t given my doctor my real name. Wouldn’t it be great if you could cure AA by simply changing your name so the disease couldn’t find you?
It’s nice to remember back when I could pedal a bike that fast and hide out from adults who may or may not have caught us doing something we shouldn’t have.
And it’s nice to know that it wasn’t just Timmy Fleck having all of the adventures when we were young. We girls had our heroes too, like Angie who told that cop she was sleeping and never gave up her friends.
Thanks Angie, wherever you are. I still consider you to be one of my closest friends. AA can’t take that away from me and I bet if you were here right now, you would be thinking of a way to get me out of this mess I’m in.
Like your tangled fishing line, I could sure use your help to get out of this. I want to be free again, like I was then. Free to hide in the bushes when I feel like it. That’s what I want, to be free from AA which has tangled up my life long enough.