Today’s Music: Red Fang – Number Thirteen
An irregular series on some of the misadventures – the highs and lows along the way that made me who I am, in case you’d like to make your own.
As always, these stories are true, or at least as true as I remember them.
This story takes place somewhere around 1980. I was between nine and eleven, I guess.
It was summer – the very beginning.
School had just let out.
I remember it being an exceptionally beautiful day. It was warm, the sun was out. Birds were singing, and I had the whole summer to play.
But first, I had to tend to the end-of-school chores. All the notebooks, the handouts, the loose papers and tests all had to be put away, or my parents would get very upset, and I’d have to spend the summer cleaning my room.
So I gathered them all together and put them in a garbage bag.
A paper garbage bag.
And then decided (like the young miscreant I was) that instead of throwing everything out, I could just burn them.
Next thing I know, my bed was on fire.
So a few minutes later, my sister sees me running by with a full teapot in my hand, turning and rushing up the stairs.
“What are you doing?”
“FIRE!” I shouted, heading to the blaze.
It had grown beyond the capabilities of a teapot.
So my sister grabbed me (thank god one of us had brains) and got both of us out of the house. At this point, you could se the tower of smoke coming out of the back window of my room.
My sister left me on the front lawn and ran up to the corner where she pulled the handle of the fire callbox.
Our next door neighbor was on the sidewalk just before the trucks came, and heard the sirens and saw the smoke. He thought my sister had been smoking, and that’s what caused the fire.
I have no idea how she answered.
20 minutes later, I was lying on our neighbors couch where he’d given us shelter. The firemen were in the house doing what they do.
My neighbors daughters, about my age, were giving a running inventory of stuff being hurled out the window of my flaming room.
“There goes a bed.”
“Oh, and some blankets!”
“Are those books?”
“There’s a lot of stuff…”
I may have asked them to shut up.
Eventually, the fire went out, my parents came home, and we headed back.
Somehow, my parents were kind enough to let me live that I could tell this tale all these years later.
One final note – for all the kids reading this: If you do something like this (please don’t) and live through it (you won’t, at the time, feel good about that), if your mother tries to ease herself and your dad by saying “well, we needed to change the carpets anyway”, DO NOT(!!!!!) say, “Oh, so this was kind of a good thing!”.
Trust me on that.