This is Chapter 1 of my grandmas book called My World is a Strawberry and Someone ate Half of It! We posted the forward several weeks ago if you missed it. I forgot that I hadn’t read her book in awhile and well, I had forgotten what all she had to say so I hope nothing in here offends anyone LOL, I promised you a story and your going to get it!
To keep things in order…if you haven’t read the forward yet click HERE to read it first.
Our neighborhood has gone from quiet and peaceful to drug dealers and pimps and toots, commonly known as prostitutes.
One evening my son Leon, age nine, was across the street playing ball, and his ball rolled into the street. I just knew he would be killed running into the street after it, the traffic was bumper to bumper, panting after the toots. I got so mad, I ran into the house and snatched my granddaughters cheerleading megaphone, and stood on the porch yelling at the johns,”I hope you get AIDs in your nose, I got your tag and you on video. I’m going to tell your wife, mother, girlfriend, and if i can find her, your old math teacher!”
I was on a roll, nothing could stop me, except maybe a .38. as that thought sunk in, I raced back into the house and prayed that all the pimps would just think that I was a housewife gone crazy and take pity on me,
The gun battles are getting so bad that they happen almost every other day. I now call 911 and say “shoot out, shoot out” and automatically three or four police cars converge at 9th and Indiana.
When I say “hit the dirt”, the kids know I’m not playing and so does the postman and even any stray dog that happens to be in the neighborhood. I may have to put pig iron on all my windows.
I asked my Aunt Mattie to teach me how to fire a gun, I soon realized that a 410 was quicker than 911. The 410 and I got along quite nicely, but for some reason the sawed off 12 gauge hated my guts, and would have turned around and shot me if it could; instead, it did the next best thing. When I fired it, it bruised my long finger from the middle joint to hand, and cut my little finger, cut my first finger, and thumb!
Mattie said (and she is trained in firearms) “I just don’t know how you managed to do all that with one shot.” The shotgun only smirked, and thought to itself, now if you try and clean my barrel out, I’ll snap shut on your other finger.
The Spanish man who lives next door in a apartment house got hotter than the peppers. He eats and comes into the yard and empties his pistol into the apartment upstairs, and this Spanish lady (loosely said) came running down and said something to him in Spanish where upon she pulled her dress up to her waist and hopped toward him in a very sexy manner, sort of like a rabbit in heat. I thought Oh No! now he’ll kill her for sure. He didn’t. But I sure do wish I could understand Spanish.
The there was the night I discovered a prowler or peeping tom or serial rapist, who knows, looking into my daughter Patsy’s little house behind ours. I knew she was home, I could see her bedroom light on. I woke up my husband, and he took his shotgun with me running right behind him, whispering “don’t kill him, don’t kill him”. We crept around the house and there he was squatted down looking through her window. My husband fired both barrels over his head. As he started to run, we saw that it was a black man. I turned to my husband and said “I’ll bet he’s white before he reaches the street!”. I know my husband had turned white because he had nothing on except his underwear
Getting back to the toots, they are getting so aggressive that they are coming out to the cars and sticking their tongues on the windows. Lately, I have been day dreaming about putting super glue on my sons car window. I wonder what would happen, would he drive off, or try and roll the window down, and could a toot without a tongue still work?
Upon occasion, I have found that a little humor works quite well. Two young women were facing each other, each at opposite ends of the block, with the attitude that today, there would be death, there would be death on 9th street. I was sitting on my porch, watching this and as they drew closer together, this idea began to form in my brain. I raced down to the street and said “hold everything, just long enough for me to go in and pop some corn and get a coke, if you’re going to put on a show, I might as well have some refreshments.” They stared a few seconds then began to grin and one said to the other, “well, I guess we could be friends.”
A group of young men had moved into the house across the street and put their stereo and barbecuer on the porch, the aroma was OK, but the music was deafening. I walked across the street one Saturday and looked them right in the eyes and calmly said “is there any way you can turn it up louder? I can hardly hear it, maybe you could mount your amplifier on a pole at the curb and point it toward my house.” Having his beer halfway to his mouth, he stopped and said “our music is bothering you, isn’t it?” I nodded in time to the drummer and lo and behold he turned it down.
Getting the police to come into our area is a real challenge sometimes. Late one night, I had put up with hearing music so loud from a block away that the whole house had begun to keep time with it, The house was having fun, but I couldn’t fall asleep. I called the police, but with little results. Two hours later, I called again. The dispatcher said “they’re on their way”. I told her “tell them to forget it, I’m going down there and blow their stereo from the living room to the back yard, and then the beat won’t go on”. They were right there. I wonder why?
The beer joint on the corner put an amplifier outside their place, and blared live country and western music all over a four block radius. I called the police and was told there was no noise law. I could file a disturbing the peace complaint, but that would have been dangerous letting them know it was I who complained. so instead, I just called them and told them if they didn’t pipe it down, they were going to come to work the next day and find a pile of ashes instead of a building, I was just released from a nut house and need my rest. The music stopped, I don’t know if they got scared or the band went deaf.
The police did come out one time though, a neighbors dog across the street had bitten his third victim (all children) within two weeks, and we all just knew the dog had signed his own death warrant. But in listening to the police talking to its owner, we soon realized he was going to beat the rap. Having a big mouth and knowing how to use it, I stepped up and said “if you don’t take this dog and kill it, I will!” The policeman in his most intimidation manner said to me “if you hurt this dog you will be arrested!” I looked around at all the people and said “did any of you see that truck that ran over that dog?”, and they all shouted YES,YES! need I say more? The dog had to bite the dust. You’ve heard the song “I fought the law, and the law won”. well, I fought the law, and I won.
A few days, later my son and I were walking the neighborhood passing out tracts from my church when I came upon the father of the child that was bitten, sitting drunk on the hood of a car with four or five of his old drunken cronies standing around. I told him “you owe me, so see to it that your friends read this.” I don’t know if he did or not, but he won his bet, he had bet them as I was walking up that he knew me and they had bet him he didn’t.
We have such fearless young men in our neighborhood. While driving with my daughter Pam ,two of them just walked out in front of my car with no thought of the car being bigger and stronger than them. One even had the gall to strike the hood with his palm. I immediately stopped the car and grabbed a pencil and paper out of the glove box and said” can I have your autograph? I thought there was only one bionic man, but now I know there are three.”
Speaking of my car, when I bought it,it was white; now due to the neighborhood gangs, it is sort of white, gold and blue. I had put a stuffed doll of Yosemite Sam (he is that little red headed rascal in Bugs Bunny cartoons that wants to fight all the time) in my car and told the kids he would protect it. Well, one morning, I had to grab him by his red mustache and tell him he had let me down. He had protected himself, but as my friend Lou said, not my car. The door was blue and the hood gold.
Things sometimes may appear to be what they are not, take for example the time my son Kenny, age seven, thought that a bat was a bird. I was peeling potatoes for supper when he came running in to inform me that a bird flew down to him and let him pet it. Now you and I both know that no bird in his right mind would fly down to a seven year old boy! So I go out to investigate only to find a dying bat laying in the yard, notice I said dying, not dead. Now I don’t mind stepping on a cockroach or a spider but when it comes to squashing the blood and guts out of something as big as a bat, I draw the line. While I try to decide what to do, I hear this horrible screaming coming from the street in front of my house. I frantically run around the house only to see a toddler ready to step off the curb into evening traffic and his mother at least a block away screaming. My only thought was to reach the child before he was hit by a car. I start running toward him hair flying, barefooted (because that,s how I go around the house) when all of a sudden, this man grabs me while another gets the child. He says “drop the knife”. I had forgot that I had the knife in my hand that I had been using to peel the potatoes with. Thank goodness the mother came up and explained that I was only trying to save her child, not murder him. The man was very apologetic and asked me if there was anything he could do to make it up to me. I said, “yes, kill that bat in my backyard”.
We were standing in line at the Dairy Queen behind a young girl about sixteen with shorts on so short that part of her hiney was hanging out. I tapped her on the shoulder and said “honey, I’m so glad you weren’t hurt in that explosion!” She said “what explosion?” I said, “why, the one that blew your clothes off!”. If I’m not mistaken, I saw that hiney quiver trying to get further up into those shorts. My daughter-in-law,s mother Anne, has a good explanation for why they wear clothes so short, she said ” they want everyone to see clear to the Virgin Islands.”
You have heard it said ” travel is very educating.” Well living in our neighborhood is very educating., We are exposed to all kinds of people and races and situations. The kids learned a variety of ways to handle different problems. Take for example, how to deal with crazy people. Mrs. Taylor lived in the alley behind our house, and would lay in bed and spit tobacco juice on the walls. Every time she caught me outside, she would yell Heathen , Heathen! She had police raid my son Robert, and his friend Bobby’s tree house, claiming they were spying on her trying to catch her having sex. One day she went to far. I heard my daughter Pamela, crying and saw Mrs. Taylor holding Pam’s cat. I said ” give her cat to her” and all she would do is squeeze it tighter and make it cry. We were at a standoff. I asked Pam, “how do you fight fire?” and answered “with fire”. I put this crazy look in my eyes and went for her. She dropped the cat, ran into her house, and locked all the doors and windows. I ran around and around her house, kicking doors and pounding on the windows yelling “come on out, all I want to do is play”. Mrs Taylor never bothered us again.
My daughter Pamela, learned how to get out of embarrassing situations. One day at the high school, a boy ran his hand up her dress. Before he knew it, he was in the hospital. You could say his private parts were all out of sorts.
My son Robert, and his friend Bobby, learned how to eat pioneer style when they were about 10 years old. They shot and killed a squirrel with their Red Ryder, so I made them skin it, clean it and eat it.
They also learned about the birds and the bees from a lady named Margaret. They had learned far to much by the time I got wind of it. I tried to have her arrested, but all I accomplished was to have the whole Police Department talking about that 14 year old boy who lived on 9th street, seducing married women. I think a few even wanted to get some pointers from him.
My son Kenny’s friend James Tubbs, learned how to go into dangerous places and come out without a scratch. My son Kenny’s coat had been stolen way across town, but turned up on a Saturday night on the back of a teenage black boy in a black game room two blocks from our home (that coat knew where it lived). James, being black himself, was in the game room and spotted it. He knew it was Kenny’s, because Kenny had designed a picture on the back of it. James came and told me. I decided to go and get it. Boy, did James get upset, he said ” don’t go in there, I had to crawl out of there last Saturday because they were firing guns.” I left James babysitting with Leon, and walked down there. I must have looked like a marshmallow in a coal bin. Through much negotiating, he finally agreed to give me the coat, but I couldn’t take it because it was very cold and he didn’t have another. I told him to keep it overnight and give me his address and I would bring him another coat the next day and trade. He lived three houses down from me on the same block! Upon returning home, I found James, almost hysterical, standing in the middle of the kitchen floor with Kenny, my son. Kenny’s car was still running outside with the door standing wide open. James had called him at work and told him I was probably dead. When Kenny got here, he found James trying to find my older son and my husband. James wanted to know how I had managed to talk him out of that coat and get out of there alive. I said by reasoning with him. I told him the Bible says you reap what you sow; if you keep that coat, you’re going to walk out of here and someone is going to tear all your clothes off and leave you freezing in your underwear. James said ” with patting yourself on the back, he thought some tough was with you waiting outside because no white woman in her right mind would have come in there alone.”
But the king of aggravation was an elderly man who lived next door. After his wife died, his main goal in life was to drive me crazy. He started out by telling the neighbors that I was aggravating him! One summer evening, he walked to the property line, knelt down upon his knees and raised his hands high and began to pray loudly “Lord, please save me from this woman” I was sitting on the porch at the time and several neighbors came outside to see what was happening. All I could do was make a hasty retreat into the house. After that, he really got serious about it. Sneaking up on me with a laughing box, turning his lawn mower on in the night and parking it under my bedroom window, going outside in the middle of the night beating his metal lawn chair with a lead pipe. He even called the Health Department and told them that I was running a Whiskey still and the fumes were killing him. When they came out to investigate I told them the only dangerous thing I had was under my bed. He asked what and I said “dust bunnies, you get under there and they will smother you to death.” They finally took him off to the booby hatch one day, much to my relief.
There is one thing I simply will never be able to understand. Neighborhood dogs and cats roam at will, going anywhere and everywhere eating rotting food out of garbage cans. They never seem to get sick. But you take my dog, he never gets out of the fenced yard, had all of his shots and is well loved and fed good, but is eat up with fungus. It’s the same with the neighborhood kids. About 26 minutes after 12 a.m., I hear a knock at my door. I ask “who’s there?” A little voice says “boo boo.” I said ” boo boo who?” as I’m looking out my peephole. there stand a little boy about 5 years old. I open the door and he says ” can your kid come out and play?” I said ” get off my porch, and get your body back in your house before some pervert gets you.” Some pervert would have already had mine.
My daughter Gina, would have found any pervert in the area. She like to play Nancy Drew, and snoop into everyone’s garbage cans, looking for clues to horrible crimes. I’m just glad she never found a body.
I hope to have Chapter 2 done soon!