mother-scolding-daughter-63Do you remember all the stupid things you did as a kid? Things that started off innocent enough, but wound up getting you into trouble?

Once I thought it would be fun to run away, so I tied up a few things in a hankie, tied it to a stick (in true hobo fashion) and walked to the top of my street. I sat on the bus stop for a while, got bored, and went back home. It was a bone-headed move. I don’t think my parents ever knew.

My parents had some good friends that we visited frequently, and they had a girl Arlene who was just my age. Arlene and I would play records and hatch up all sorts of stupid schemes. Once we decided it would be fun to stow away in a department store until it closed and then have fun “playing house” for the night in the bedroom and living room displays. I told my mom about it one day, and wanting to douse what could be a dangerous spark, she told me that after hours they let killer dogs loose in the store. Not wanting to get eaten, we passed on that idea.

A trick Arlene and I always tried playing on our parents was hiding in the car of the visiting family right before they were getting ready to leave. Our thought was, we would stow away in back seat until the car had driven too far to turn back and then “surprise!” Instant sleepover! Problem was, our parents were well aware of this trick and always caught us.

Almost always.

Arlene and I actually fooled them once. They must have forgotten our little joke that night – cause they never checked and Arlene and I were stifling our giggles of excitement as we drove down the block. After 15 minutes or so, I jumped up to surprise them, and found that our little caper was not well received at all. Her parents were pissed, and the ride to her house was a lecture-filled one. Once we got to their house my parents were called and we were sent straight to bed. I had a breakfast of eggs and undercooked bacon the next morning, dreading the ride back home with my father. Lecture #2 was no fun without Arlene along to share in the shame.

Other times you got in trouble as part of a crowd. When I was super young I can remember me, my sisters, and a bunch of neighborhood kids were fooling around in our front yard. Someone found a small square of wood or a shingle and hurled it at a car that was driving up our street. The wood landed in the guy’s wheel well and got whipped around making a horrible sound.

The guy stopped his car, got out and began chasing us up our front steps. The neighborhood kids scattered; one sister hid in the crawl space under the porch, and the other hid in a closet or something. I can remember not being able to get on my feet and crawling on hands and knees onto my porch in a rather frenzied fashion and cowering in the corner. I don’t know why I was so scared. I hadn’t done anything – but I knew my sisters were in serious shit.

After knocking on our door and yelling to my mother about her disrespectful children, the man drove off. And mom? She went on the hunt, eventually finding both of my sisters, boxing their ears while she dragged them out of their hiding places. Since I was merely a bystander, I didn’t get into any trouble. That time.

Yeah, I wasn’t always quite so innocent. When I was a teenager I spent some time hanging around a bunch of kids from the next town over who were considered in “a bad crowd” by my mom. We were looking for a place to hang out one summer night, and I was guided through a parking lot, and down some alleys and wound up on a deck behind a house. I assumed it was one of the kids’ houses – everyone seemed to know exactly where they were, and I just trusted them.

Before long a flashlight was shining in our faces, and we were getting put into the back of a patrol car. I was bewildered because since when was sitting on someone’s backyard deck a crime? Well it was when the deck was on the back of a church. Yes, we had been trespassing and I hadn’t even known it because of the odd way we had come in. I was put in the back of a patrol car with 2 dudes and brought to the police station.

I was put in a chair and my parents were called. But I remained calm because I knew I’d done nothing wrong intentionally. Had I known it was the back of a church – part of the rectory, I think – I would have left in a second. I explained this to the police. I was very polite, and very cooperative, and for this the police berated me. I can still remember one of them saying to me, “And you missy! You think you’re going to get out of this by being nice? You’re going to juvie along with the rest of them!”

My father came to get me, and I won’t say that he wasn’t furious with me. But, when I told him the whole story, followed by how the officers had treated me, he went back to the station the next day and gave those cops a piece of his mind. I know they were just trying to scare me, but still. Cops can be such dicks.

He was less forgiving the time I missed the last bus back to Jersey after seeing Cheap Trick in New York, though. My friends and I had to take a subway to the Port Authority in the Bronx, and walk across the George Washington Bridge, through Fort Lee, and into my hometown of Leonia – all at 2 am. Problem was, my parents had no clue I was heading into New York for a concert. I was due home at 11 and my midnight they were frantic.

I never made it home. My dad had been cruising the streets for hours looking for me and picked me up about a half a mile from our house.  I can only imagine the relief he felt when he saw me hurrying down Broad Avenue unharmed. For that little stunt I got grounded for a month and missed being in the school play.

I was basically good though. I never got caught stealing, never got sent to detention, and aside from my one run in with the cops, have no criminal record. Hell, my last speeding ticket was in the mid 90’s (knock wood).

Wish my husband could say the same. I may have to write about a few of his escapades.

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