A Brooks Tale
Pauly and Danny lived down the street.
Danny was my age and Pauly was two years younger. Pauly was one of those kids that was always in a good humor.
Pauly laughed at everything that I, or anyone else said, and, as a rule, I laughed along with him.
We were playing cowboys and Pauly wanted to play with my toy gun.
I told him to not to touch my gun or I would have to hit him with it.
Pauly laughed…as usual.
The game went on, in the highest of spirits, until Pauly…touched my toy gun.
I responded by hitting him on his head with the butt of the purloined instrument.
Pauly stopped laughing.
A bump arose on his poor little head…the size of an egg.
Pauly, announced, through tears, that he was going home.
I told him to be certain to tell no one of our disagreement.
He said that he would not tell.
Later that afternoon my Mom asked me why that I had hit Pauly with my toy pistol? I told her that he had disobeyed my request to not touch the gun…and that he had laughed.
Mom responded that Pauly laughed all of the time.
I replied, ‘ I know.’
As I was sleeping…the night of the touched gun incident…I heard a voice say that, ‘I was as mean as the devil.’
The voice was clear and concise…and my conscience hurt.
Pauly’s Mom accompanied him to my house…the next day…and I apologized and he accepted.
I have a dim memory of thinking about my house in Chicago, so many year ago, and it reminding me of the television sitcom, of the time, Leave it to Beaver, and pondering that my mom looked somewhat like June Cleaver and that my friends reminded me of, Lumpy and Wally and the Beave.
My friend, who lived at the opposite end of the street, Steve, had marionettes, and I was intrigued by them. Steve was older than I and his sister was older than him.
I had a crush, on Susie, Steve’s sister.
Steve, could make his numerous marionettes do anything. It seemed to me, that he could bring them to life. He seemed to have countless hours to devote to my puppet pleasure.
Steve and Susie’s mother was, Ivy, and she was a small woman who smoked cigarettes…one after the other.
Ivy was a tough little woman and she was my mom’s best friend.
Ivy cursed and drank and said just what she thought…and she was fabulously interesting.
Ivy’s husband, and Steve and Susie’s father, was named Bob.
Bob was a mechanic and quiet…almost mute. He smoked, as well, incessantly.
Living next door to us, in Sauk Village, a Chicago suburb, was Helen and her husband…who called me Doc.
Helens’s husband was named George and he had a perpetual sore back. Periodically, when we were all sitting in the adjoining back yards of our close houses, I administered a back rub to George. He raved at my chiropractic skills.
Later, when we had moved to Eldorado, Illinois…Helen wrote my mom that she, soon, was going to send me a new bicycle.
I am still waiting on the new bike.
A big car parked in front of my house…one day.
I was told that I must stay outside while a woman and my mom talked, adult matters, in the house.
It was hot and I noticed the the car had several girls in it.
I asked them if they would like for me to get them a glass of water…as I knew that they must be as hot as I was.
One of the young women in the car, remembers our first meeting, as she is the mother of two of my brothers and two of my sisters.
Dad, dressed in a motorcycle hat and a leather, motorcycle jacket.
He rode a Harley Davidson and he carried a gun…which was illegal at the time.
He was a mechanic and he worked on Semi Trucks.
When he came home, in the evening, he placed me on his shoulder and it seemed that I was the most important person in the world.
Mom was sad…much of the time…it seemed with my best efforts…I could not cheer her up.
We rode the Harley on a significant trip and I remember riding in the middle…between mom and dad.
We stopped at a restaurant that also sold books.
I took a book back to the table that we were eating at…and said that I was going to read it.
Mom laughed and told me that I must take the book back where I had found it as we were not at a library but rather the book that I had was for sale.
We vacationed in Eldorado…which seemed exotic to me.
Grandma Askew lived in a little house with a big front porch and a mean dog named Nugett.
Grandma and her sisters, Wanda and Vema and Guelda…were all Pentecostal.
I found out that mom had also been Pentecostal…before Chicago.
The Richardson’s were Grandma Askew’s next door neighbors. Debbie was my good friend…when we visited Grandma.
Also, I visited with my cousins, Brenda and Billy.
Billy showed me his Monster Magazines and Brenda was so nice to me…and pretty.
I slept on the living room couch…at Grandma’s and Nugett…slept in the chair that was next to the couch. In the middle of the night he would growl…and I did not bother him.
Grandma Askew’s family called my dad, Junior.
I thought that was so strange.
We usually attended a church service, when we were visiting in Eldorado, and the sermons were so long. I fell asleep…as did others.
I heard Jack Archer sing. He had a beautiful tenor voice.
Later Jack…became my pastor…for several years.
Life seemed very different in Eldorado…than Chicago…I did not realize the changes that were in store for…Beaver and June Cleaver.
We had wonderful Christmas’s in Chicago.
There was a great Christmas Tree and Laughing Santa and Christmas cookies and many gifts.
Christmas became special to me…during this time.
When we moved to Eldorado, not long before my mom and dad’s divorce, Santa visited our house.
I could not believe my good fortune!