Sunday, November 13, 2016

1969 - Before Men Walked on the Moon

My youngest son had started school and I had just remarried my first husband. We had found a modest little frame rental house on a dirt street and moved in the week before. As we turned into our driveway Greg (my youngest boy) spotted an old maroon Chevrolet next door and exclaimed with joy "That's George's car." "No," I reminded him, George moved to Maryland so it can't be. "...and there's George!" he declared. I looked in disbelief at the huge form that was George. Sure enough, we were living next door to a man I had dated (even discussed marriage with) while I was divorced.

The three boys were close in age and played ferocious boy games, running with whoops though sandspur patches and down the dirt road in front of the house. More than once George's step-son Timmy was prey for my gang of two. I had a hard time convincing them that was unfair.

They were always into mischief. One day Greg hacked down a plant in the back yard. When I asked him why he said, "It doesn't grow food or flowers or anything. What good is it?" Another day, I found Tom covered in green oil-based house paint. Furious, I grabbed him by the arm to usher him in for a good cleaning, yelling all the way. He just laughed and said "wait until you see my brother!" Greg also set fire to the vacant field next to our house on at least one occasion. I was never sure which of the three boys hatched the idea though.

It took a while, but George, his new wife and step-son, and later his baby boy, became our friends. It was a bit unsettling at times. One day as I stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes,  I yelled for my husband, "Honey?" and George answered (thinking his wife was calling him). The window over the sink faced theirs and was only a few feet away. Within a year, each family moved out and went separate directions. But, his wife and I kept in touch for years.

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