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Old Ladies, Cops, and Clay Hands

Updated on July 14, 2011

Before I start another hub about my exploits as a young child, I just want all of you to know that I was not a juvenile delinquent or an escapee from the juvenile detention center. Actually, I was a pretty good kid, rarely got in trouble in school, and really not that much out of school. It just seems that the funniest memories I have of my youth are when I ended up in trouble of some sorts. The police in two townships did know me some, but not my address by memory and they didn't call us by name when we saw them around the neighborhood. Maybe getting in trouble a few more times, would have had us on a first name basis!!! :) None of us turned into career criminals, turkey thieves, apple stealers or anything like that. We all grew up and life went on. I just wanted to clear that up! So, without further delay, here are two more childhood adventures I had and guess what?....ONE of them didn't involve calling the entire police force to come straighten some mess out!!!

House similar to the snitch's!  Old ladies...sheesh!
House similar to the snitch's! Old ladies...sheesh!
Oak acorn -Our prime missile weapon!
Oak acorn -Our prime missile weapon!
Sweet gum ball - Looks pretty good for ammunition, but they weren't.
Sweet gum ball - Looks pretty good for ammunition, but they weren't.
Sycamore tree ball - heavy, solid, long-range missile.
Sycamore tree ball - heavy, solid, long-range missile.
Oh no, not this guy again!  This is really getting old!!
Oh no, not this guy again! This is really getting old!!
Our big targets were usually this!
Our big targets were usually this!
That old lady lied to the police saying we were crawling across the street playing chicken with the traffic!  I think she has some screws loose!
That old lady lied to the police saying we were crawling across the street playing chicken with the traffic! I think she has some screws loose!
A sight I knew pretty well growing up.  It seems this police department had me more than the Hanley Hills police department where I lived!
A sight I knew pretty well growing up. It seems this police department had me more than the Hanley Hills police department where I lived!
The 'infamous' paddle from on top the fridge.  My rear end and it sure met many times!
The 'infamous' paddle from on top the fridge. My rear end and it sure met many times!

Playing Tag with Moving Cars - Not a Chance!

Guess I may as well begin with the one that involved once again, the Vinita Park police. I should have learned my lesson with the turkeys, but apparantely I didn't. This time, though, as with the apples incident with Mr. Heinz, the hermit, we really didn't do anything wrong or hurt anyone. What is it with old people harassing young kids? It seems no matter what I did, some old man in underwear or an old lady carrying an armory full of weaponry on her person, were always spoiling my fun and my butt cheeks were getting tired of the abuse. These people need to get a life!

I will admit that the turkey thing was a bit on the extreme side and suppose we deserved to have our hides tanned and a humliating ride home in the police car, but the other times we did not deserve to be embarassed in front of our neighbors and friends.

Back in my childhood days, we didn't have video games, Wii, Ninetendo and that, we actually played outside almost all the time, running all over creation and enjoying the outdoors. Boredom was very rare since a bunch of 8 to 10 boys could always find something fun to do. But this time, only 1 boy, named Bill and I were kind of bored. As you know from my other hubs, we loved to throw rocks, mud clods, bricks, tree branches, bottles, water balloons, and anything else we could lift and throw even if it took more than one person. Acorns, gum balls, sycamore tree balls were also suitable missiles to launch at each other or unsuspecting victims. especially if you put gum balls in water and let them freeze...nasty!

We lived near a fairly busy road named North and did run North and South too. There were sidewalks on both sides of that street and it was a short walk from our play area on the 'hill' and the 'tracks'. These sidewalks were elevated, about roof level on a car, not at street level because a lot of kids walked to school on this street and the community insisted on safer walkways. I don't recall who thought of doing this latest criminal escapade, but we collected an ample supply of acorns, sycamore tree balls, and gum balls. We carted them off to make good use of them. The acorns were the preferred choice for throwing, since they were small, pretty solid and you could carry a ton of them at one time in your pockets. The gum balls were larger, but they were lightweight and carrying those things in your pockets was a painful experience! Those spike things really could make a mess of your upper leg. Sycamore balls were hard to come by, but we would find a few occasionally.

We walked about a block, lugging our ammunition in our pockets, shirts, ball caps. I must say, we were well armed. Bill and I got down to our staging area and emptied it all on the ground and did a little recon mission. It looked like a good spot, so we began. We only attacked the big prey first...buses, big trucks, the garbage truck, etc. Throwing rocks, etc. at other objects was a popular past-time, but this was much better. These were moving targets...much more challenging! We began by launching acorns at them as the drove by... bouncing harmlessly off the huge beasts. We then tried gum balls and they did alright at close range, but when we tried to hurl them any good distance, the didn't do anything. The sycamore balls did well, but there weren't many of those so we saved those for the really monster vehicles. Every hit made a pretty loud clang, so we kept score for every hit to see who was the better marksman.

Well we spent a good amount of time throwing mostly acorns at the buses, and then started on the harder! Now these were much more difficult to nail with an acorn since they were much smaller and faster than our bigger targets. But with our great throwing arms and years of army training in artillery bombardment, we did well in a very short time. The only bad part was when the acorns hit, the drivers would get mad sometimes and yell at us or stop. They never did anything since we knew if they got out of their car, by the time they got up to our spot, we would be long gone. Cutting through yards, jumping fences was easy for us, but not some office dude with a suit and tie on.

We continued for awhile and of course, we picked the wrong place todo this. We were right next to a house that had another cop calling old lady living there. My luck sure stinks! She came out, at least she was unarmed, and started in on us with a good tongue lashing. She herded Bill and I onto her front porch and told us to stay put, then went inside. We could see her inside and saw her calling the police. Like complete fools, we just stood there. I have no clue as to why Bill and I just didn't take off and run! She didn't know us and would never catch us, but we stayed put.

The Vinita Park police came...not again, and the lady told the police officer that both of us were crawling on our hands and knees across the busy street! I couldn't believe my ears! What a bunch of bull! She said we were playing chicken with the traffic! Is she nuts? Here this old witch just told the biggest lie and naturally the policeman believed her. I started a major protest...I was really mad for her telling such a big fib. I knew I was going to getting reacquainted with my mom and dad's paddle when I got home, but at least I would get my cheeks whacked based on the truth, not some dumb story this lady made up. Well, we went home, Bill first, since he lived closer and then me. Bet the neighbors kept wondering why the Vinita Park police kept driving through Hanley Hills.

Sure enough, my butt got pounded by this wooden paddle and that ended the incident. I was so mad that the police believed the lie this woman told. Getting a tanned hide was bad enough, but getting a traffic lesson lecture by the police for something we didn't even do was just too much! From now on, throwing stuff at objects will be done away from moving cars, old ladies, and nutjobs.

I am totally confused!  What is wrong with my friends?  Why aren't they running away with me to save their hand????
I am totally confused! What is wrong with my friends? Why aren't they running away with me to save their hand????
Preparing the clay to receive hand print
Preparing the clay to receive hand print
Child painting her hand.
Child painting her hand.
The final product...a 'baked' hand.   Mine was green and yellow.
The final product...a 'baked' hand. Mine was green and yellow.

How to Bake a Hand in Kindergarten

Finally, we get to an incident where no law enforcement personnel were involved! About time, huh? This incident takes place when I was in Kindergarten. I attended Washington Elementary School and my teacher was Mrs. Creel. I don't remember a whole lot about that first school experience, just bits and pieces like learning how to tie a shoe, mastering cutting with scissors, making messes with paint, taking a little nap on these mats on the floor and being fascinated with the teacher's piano! Now that was cool! Mrs. Creel was a good teacher...never got in any real trouble and had a bunch of friends. This is where I met my best friend Dave who in several years would teach me the sport of turkey chasing and other interesting things, like pool hopping, newspaper bombs, and girls!!!! That was the best!!! Oh boy, more hub topics! :)

One day, all of us little kids were in the classroom and our teacher started to tell us about an art project we were going to do. I was a good listener, well, most of the time, but this time my brain was focused on something else...who knows what. I missed a lot of what she said, but did hear the last words she said as clear as day. Fifty or so years later I still remember these words. "Then, we are going to take our hands and put them in the oven!" Say what? Now she had my COMPLETE attention. My teacher was going to stick MY hand in some oven...NO WAY, JOSE!! I thought she must have lost her marbles! There was no way she was going to get hold of my hand and cook it up like some pie! I was fond of my hand and wasn't going to let anyone ruin our relationship!

Well, the rest of that day sucked. All I could think of was my poor hand being cooked and ending up black, shrunken and useless! Why on earth was Mrs. Creel going to do this? I thought she liked me! Needless to say, I was scared to death. That night my parents took us someplace and I was trying to think of some way to ditch school. I wasn't going to go near Mrs. Creel and her blasted oven! I mentioned this to mom and dad and they didn't really react or say anything. What was going on here? Their little boy was going to be cooked up like Hansel and Gretel and nobody was going to help??? Man, now this really was starting to stink!

The next day was doomsday. I was up almost the whole night shivering with fright with the thought of my hand getting burned to a crisp. I thought of everything I could to get out of going to school, but nothing worked...I was really screwed this time. Mom took us to school, didn't let us walk like normal, so had no way to just 'get lost' on the way that morning. Mom even walked me to class for some reason. What the heck was going on? Was mom in on this brutal treatment of her oldest son? I know she got mad at me and used the 'enforcer' paddle when she had to, but this? Was she going to stand there and help Mrs. Creel fry my hand in that oven? I went inside, reluctantly and saw all the other kids. The suckers had no clue what was coming. Maybe if we all made a run for it, some of us could escape!! Prison break...kindergarten style. While this last ray of hope started to grow into a possible plan, mom was talking to my teacher. Traitor! Luckily this room was big and had 2 doorways. We could fake a rush to the one door, while most of us ran out the other. In the confusion, we could all get away and the decoys could escape as the adults tried to head off the main stampeding herd of kids that went out the first door! Wow, this might work!

Before I could get my brilliant plan going and saving my classmates, our teacher and my mom wheeled this huge cart with a big box on top, What the heck is this? Is that the oven or some rope to tie us up so we couldn't run? I inched away thinking I might be the sole survivor of this mess. I kept my eyes glued on my mom, teacher and the other victims crowding around the table. Now was my chance. Out of the box came this big bag of brown stuff. What was it? Curiosity glued my feet to the floor! I didn't like the color so it had to be something bad, but there was something familiar about it. My mind went back and the door, then back to this interesting pile of something. The door was clear and now was my chance. I could just sneak out and nobody would know. But my feet wouldn't go...the traitors too!. Before I could do a thing, the wrapper was taken off and there stood a huge pile of mud! Mud?? Now I was hooked. The other kids were really interested and most were smiling. Before I realized it, I was with the group checking out this new toy. Mrs. Creel called it firing clay, whatever that was. It just looked like premium grade mud to me! She began cutting it with some kind of wire, and my mom was giving each child a piece of clay. They took it, and some wax paper that had been cut back in big squares to their table. As I watched, they started to play with it, shaping it and having a ball. It looked like mud, one of my favorite substances, so wasn't going to be left out of this. I got in line and got my hunk of clay. Forget bolting...I was getting to play in mud in school!!!!

As we were exploring the wonderful world of clay, our teacher was preparing to show us what we were going to do with it. I was happy with it just as it was. This was great fun! As Mrs. Creel talked, she worked the clay into a circular shape, like a pancake.! It looked like a Frizbee...wonder if it will fly. She told us to do the same with our clay, so we started flattening our pieces out and smoothing them. Mom and Mrs. Creel helped some of us to get it the right shape and thickness which was nice. After our class got the clay in the right shape, she told us we were going to spread our fingers on one hand and press it into the clay. It was a little painful because mom pushed my hand hard to make a good imprint. Us little runts weren't strong enough to really get the best print. When done, Mom and Mrs. Creel took a pen or something and scratched our initials and date on the back. They carefully collected the clay masterpieces and put them on the cart. She said they would be sent to the kiln, whatever that was, and in a couple days would get them back so we could paint them! All thoughts of cooking my hand had vanished, replaced by learning about a brand new thing....clay!

My Mom still has this creation of mine in her box of memories. I have seen it a few times and couldn't believe how small my hand was. I painted it green and yellow. My mom took very good care of it. It looks brand new and whenever she gets it out, is very, very careful with it. Unwrapping it and then rewrapping it. My little brother made one and his is in that box too. Mrs. Creel would never have hurt a child..she was a remarkable teacher. From then on, when my teacher addressed the class, I listened to the whole thing. I became a teacher about 25 years later, and wonder how many children I have taught misunderstood something I said. If so, I hope they weren't scared like I was. God Bless our educators!


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