Monday, March 14, 2011



    I’m going to take you back to a time when kids were kids. There were no cable channels, VCR’s, or in-home video games available, so we had to find other means of entertainment.We played with Ker-knockers—two heavy acrylic, golf ball sized balls on string with a ring in the middle. The object was to use momentum to get them to clack together—not only were they obnoxiously loud, but oh, the bruises we sported on our arms, not to mention, foreheads. And bike riding, no one ever thought of wearing a helmet back then. We’d play fun games on our bikes, like: “Who Can Ride Down The Hill The Fastest and Stop the Closest to the Garage Door Without Hitting It?” And, you know what, the large majority of us lived. That being said; let me get on with my story.
    It was summer of 1970, and I was almost eleven. One Saturday afternoon, I talked my parents into allowing me to stay home  while they went furniture shopping. It was my first time home alone without a sitter, so it took some convincing, but eventually they agreed under the following conditions: I was not to go outside, and no one was allowed in. 
    “Remember Susan,” my mother threatened. “No one had better come through the front, or the back door, while we are away. And, under no circumstances are you to open either door for anyone. Do you understand?”
       I swung my head up and down, and then happily waved goodbye to my family as they drove off.

     Proud of myself, and feeling quite mature, I went inside as  promised, and locked the door. I fixed myself a glass of Coke and went upstairs to watch an episode of The Flintstones on the portable TV in the den. I was behaving quite well until the doorbell rang, and tossed a large fly into the ointment.  Remembering I was not supposed to open the door, I ran to my room, which opened directly onto our wrought iron balcony, and I hung my head over the railing.

Gayle and me. (I'm the one with the red shoes)
      “Who’s there,” I yelled.
    My best friend Gayle hopped down off the porch and hollered, “It’s me! Can you come out and play?”
    “Sorry. My parents are gone, and I’m not allowed to go out and no one is allowed come in," I informed her.
     Her face fell, and then her chin drooped to her chest. She looked so gosh darn sad it tore at my heartstrings. I just had to find a way for her to come in and play. I just had to. (Now, what my mother failed to realize was that because she specified which thresholds were not to be crossed, her edict was left open to interpretation by my inventive, preteen mind.) The gears of logic began to turn in my brain.
     “Wait right there a minute. I’ve got an idea,” I said.
     I flew through the balcony door back into my bedroom, wheeled down the first flight stairs, rounded the corner in to the kitchen and then down the second flight of stairs into the basement. I ran straight towards my dad’s workbench and grabbed a thick rope that was hanging on the wall nearby. This was my dad’s special rope. It was a three-strand fiber braided rope, about one-half inch thick and incredibly strong. I stuck my arm though the middle and hung it over my shoulder, and then galloped up to the first floor, and then on to the second and back out onto the balcony.
     “I've got good news. My mom said no one could come in the front door or the back door, but she didn’t say anything about the balcony doors.”
    Then,  I ran back into my room on the South side of the house and looped the rope around my bedpost and then fed the rope over the side of the balcony on the North side of the house. Since my friend Gayle was never one to pass up a brilliant idea, I didn’t have to ask her twice to tie the rope first around her left leg, then around her right leg, then under her butt, and around her waist, and finally to back on to the hanging rope to form a harness/noose.
Click on the picture for a clearer view of the red diagram
     Once she was secure, I started my laborious walk towards her. At first, her weight proved too cumbersome, and my bed slid across the room. But once it crashed into the wall, it made a great anchor. Then I huffed and I puffed and I pulled and I tugged until  Gayle’s feet began to leave the ground. 
     The following three lines of dialog are  though my sister's eyes as she remembers it. 
    “I will never forget that day. We pulled up to the driveway and saw Gayle about four feet off the ground, dangling from a rope.”
     “Oh, my God!” Mom screamed.
     “Great Caesars Ghost! What in the hell is Susan up to now?” Dad screamed.
    I froze as I saw my parent's car pull into the driveway. Dad slammed on the brakes and  Mom flew out the car and grabbed onto Gayle.  “Let her down right this instant! What in the world were you thinking?” she scolded.
    I held my head over the balcony sideways and then threw her words back at her. “But Mom, you only said that no one could come in though the front and back doors. You never said anything about the balcony doors.”
    Mom was too flabbergasted to speak.

    Once Gayle was safely on the ground, Mom ordered me to come down from the balcony.  I crawled over my bed that was butted up against the balcony doorway, crept out of the house onto the front porch with my shoulders slumped and my head down and then slowly, I began the funeral march toward my mother. I stopped in front of her just outside of spanking distance and looked her in the eye. She glared at me and opened her mouth to speak. 
    I cringed. 
    Gayle turned white as chalk. 
    But instead of bawling us out, her mouth twisted into a wry grin and she said,“Why don’t you and Gayle go to her house and play for a while?” 

© 2010-2011 Each Head Is A World - All Rights Reserved


  1. Exactly the kind of thing my friends and I would do! And those Ker-knockers -- I remember them well. If someone tried to sell those these days, they'd get sued into bankruptcy.

  2. Bike helmets? Dad put me on my sister's oversize bike, pushed and walked away. My feet could barely reach the pedals. I did a happy dance when I made it two houses down--before I sideswiped the neighbor's car.

  3. I can ride a stationary bike. That's it.

  4. Cute story. Sounds like something I would have done!

  5. Haha, been there done that! Well, not exactly that, but damn close. Excellent job reminding us how crafty the youthful mind can be!

  6. Good story, sounds like the logic our kids used to use on us when we'd give them instructions. They'd always find the loopholes.. lol



Over 100 strong.

Recent Visitors