The first house we lived in when we moved to Florida was owned by some friends that lived back in Kenosha. As I recall we only lived in this house for a matter of months and then moved. The house is no longer there and high rise condo’s or hotels now sit on that site, but when we were there the house was typical of Florida houses at that time. Square, boxy, it sat on about a lot and a half, it had jalousie windows, and a flat roof that you could access via stairs.
Now this part is a little bit sketchy. We had a visitor and I think she was someone we knew from Wisconsin. Remember, I was only nine at the time. She brought along her pet monkey on the visit. Yes, it was in a cage except for that one night it got out. We spent hours looking for that monkey. We looked in the house, outside in the trees, up and down the street, and finally found it. She said “Don’t worry, it has milk teeth (whatever that means) and if it bites you it won’t hurt”.
I can tell you that when my brother caught it and of course it bit him, “milk” teeth or not, he let out a howl that could be heard blocks away. Now, how many of you out there have ever heard of someone having a pet monkey and taking it on a trip? It’s the first and only time for me.
Here is story #8
With cars you could just create a destruction derby and smash them together. After a couple of good hits, one would be ready to buy a few new ones to put together.
With airplanes you could just launch them and pretend they were being shot down by the enemy. They would crash and be destroyed so you had a reason to go buy some more. A good imagination would help.
But ships, they were the fun ones. Remember the drain canals I mentioned in Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother’s Gray Hair? Picture this, you have this battleship model. You glued it together real good because you knew what was to come and of course since it was glued so well, it would float on the water.
Keep in mind that back then there wasn’t the “Safe & Sane” fireworks we have now. This was the good stuff. You could get M-80’s, Cherry Bombs, and those long strings of firecrackers that you see on Chinese New Year. That kind of stuff.
Now comes the good part, you put the Battleship on the edge of the canal, drop a lit firecracker down the smokestack into the ship, and push it out into the water. Do I need to describe what happens next? I didn’t think so, but it’s time to buy another model.
Then comes another episode of one of those “Chapter 6 - Other stupid stuff” moves. Everyone that does models has a set of paints to paint the models, right? Logic would tell you that you should clean your brushes with paint thinner or some other petroleum based product. I used gasoline because it was handy. You used it in the lawn mower and we always had a can in the (I don’t remember where it was kept because we didn’t have a garage) somewhere.
After cleaning my brushes I would usually throw it out on the ground in the field next door (no environmental concerns then). Well one day, and here comes the stupid part, I wondered what would happen if I dropped a lit match on it. Hey, I was eleven or twelve and how smart could I have been?
Here is how it went, I dropped the match, it went Whoosh and I tried to put it out by throwing sand on it. Sand is what the ground is made of in Florida. When that didn’t work I thought it best to run home and tell somebody (that would have been my Mother and another reason her hair turned gray) that I accidentally set a fire in the field next door. By the time the fire department got there most of the field was on fire.
They got it put out, but the hardest thing for me was that my mother made me apologize to them for setting the fire. I think I was grounded for the rest of my natural life after that one.
OK, two more stories to go. One about UFO's and the other about a killer.
Sorry, you'll just have to wait.