Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gangland Warfare

There was a definite hierarchy in the neighborhood.  Not in the true gang sense, of course.   We weren't Compton, for goodness sakes.  We were a middle-class Seattle suburb in the seventies.  And age didn't dictate this hierarchy, as you might have thought.  In our neighborhood it was creativity and planning ability.  

My best friend, Leslie, and her brother, Jeff, were masters at planning creative strategy, therefore they both held top-ranking neighborhood positions.  We were determined to get back at someone.  A neighborhood bully sounds almost cliche...unless it's an adult.  
What made it worse was she was someone's mother.  We were only in elementary school and this horrible woman would insult our new school shoes, our parents, and our houses.  Anyone or anything was fair game for this woman.  But again, it was the seventies and she was an adult.   You couldn't talk back to an adult.  It just wasn't done.  

Jeff's strategies included more along the lines of dog poop and aerobic activity (a.k.a. ringing the doorbell and running--or, as my daughter, Holly calls it, "ding-dong ditch").  I think that might have been the beginning of my being a real writer, because Leslie and I formed our own spin-off group.  We fought back in print.  We sat up in Leslie's treehouse and wrote stories.  We illustrated them in the form of paper dolls.  We even had key pieces of furniture from this woman's house.  I can still remember the songs we made up to go along with our paper doll stories.  Never has there been a worse villain in literature, than the one we created using this horrible neighbor as our muse.  I believe I still draw on my experiences and run-ins with this woman in my writing today.  

There's a wonderful saying that I have seen on bumper stickers and t-shirts:  "Be careful or you'll end up in my novel."  


Jame said...

*Insert lyrics to those songs here.*

We'll call your album Songs from the Treehouse.

You are making me remember our own neighborhood wicked witch, Jean Brown. She actually made my sister sweep the road in front of her house because SHE SAW Jennifer and Cathy Frye kick stones in her grass. (I was there---I saw maybe one pebble and that was purely accidental. Kids shuffle when they walk! That's how you know they're cool.)

Penny said...

Mrs. Gauthier for me. Couldn't cut across her lawn to get to my best friend/best tormenter's house on the other side of her. Yelled at me to get off her lawn.

Mrs. Harrington for Sean. She called the police on him more than once because his skateboarding--wheels on pavement--was too loud IN THE STREET.

For those of you who don't know Sean (known as Son on my blog) skateboarding loudly was probably one of the worst things he ever did (that I know about--and no, I don't want to know about anything I don't know about).

Penny said...

I can't believe I just missed the opportunity to use the word macadam. "Sean's skateboard wheels on the macadam were too loud for Mrs. Harrington."

word verification magic 8-ball: derso.