Sunday, December 27, 2009

Duck Pond House

This house is located on a busy street which is perpendicular to the street I grew up on. The house is set back in off the road a ways and has a roadside pond which local ducks like to frequent. When I was growing up, I used to walk to the pond with my friend Greg when we didn't know what else to do, which was all the time. We would take Wonder Bread and rip pieces off to throw to the ducks who would eat them. There was often an old lady there who was doing the same thing. Eventually we got to know her and she started bringing more bread in order to give us bread to throw.

In the winter one year much later, when I was in high school, this kid on my street who was older than me, and more of a trouble-maker, decided to go ice skating on the pond even though it was on private property. He took a girl whom he was trying to impress with him and I think she fell in but climbed out and was fine. Sometime after that, they took down the old farmhouse-style wooden fence and put up a chain link fence.

I have never, in all my life, seen any sign of life or movement in or around this house. There is always a car in the driveway. I have never seen the owners. Every time I drive by the house and see the pond, I think about the old lady who used to bring us extra bread. I think about how she has probably since died, and I wonder about the circumstances surrounding that event.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lesbians, Goblins, Mexican Police

This house is two houses up the street from my parents' house where I grew up and lived from age two to age twenty-three, more or less. Once, when I was maybe eight or nine, I carved my name into the front screen door of this house with a rock. I had to work out back in their garden for like two weeks every day after school as my punishment.

When I was in middle school I used to visit my friend Zach at this house and play a board game that had goblins, orcs, elves, dwarves, etc. I would leave the house at night in the dark and run the twenty seconds home imaging goblins and orcs chasing me. I felt genuinely scared.

Much later, after high school was over, Zach's parents got divorced after twenty years together because Zach's mom realized she was a lesbian. At least, that was the rumor– I don't know if it was ever verified.

Sometime after that Zach got arrested and abused by police while traveling in Mexico. I think he might have been sexually assaulted by the Mexican police because they were trying to get him to admit to having done something. I think he was fine eventually.

Zach's father stayed in the house for a few more years, becoming good friends with my parents and taking turns caring for each other's dogs when needed. Eventually he sold the house and moved away. The people who bought the house fixed it up to the way that it looks now in this picture. They are verified lesbian lover life partners, who, as far as I know, have no connection with the former owners of the house.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Menagerie Of Something Ancient

For many years I had a quiet crush on Tyler. He was confident, as I remember him. He called me kiddo, even though we were the same age, which is something that to this day, still makes me flutter in that short of breath sense of the word. He had a buzz cut and his parents had quite a bit of dough. As far as I knew, his father owned some sort of company. Tyler's parents had a tennis court and a gigantic trampoline. For a seven-year old, Tyler was kind of an asshole. Not a bully, no. Just an asshole. Nonetheless, Tyler always had gaggles of kids at his house, playing with his fanciful expensive toys, and gracefully launching each other into orbit on the trampoline. I was often part of this selfish guilty crew, bashfully smiling and nodding when Tyler over stepped his bounds, when he subtly attacked our families, hair styles, clothes, et cetera. His parents were never around. I don't suppose anyone from the neighborhood even knew what they looked like. Tyler had an older brother, Logan. He didn't really talk to us. Logan would sit, teenaged and bruiting and beautiful in the tree-fort in the backyard and watch us play. His eyes lacks a certain connect. He could and would stare through you, a hundred miles away, watching something more ancient than we saw, lingering on the horizon of Golden Valley. Logan killed himself at age nineteen. It was the first time in my life I knew this to happen. Nobody went over there anymore. We tried not to look when we biked past the backyard menagerie of playthings and goods. No one wanted to see a glimpse of what sent Logan over the edge.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Odd Ducks And Shameful Ballots

My childhood friend April, used to live in this house. She was that kind of kid some people had as a friend, the kind one adores but one is at the same time a little publicly ashamed to have as a friend. We could entertain ourselves endlessly, wandering in and out of girly fantasy worlds together, occasionally being found convulsing with laughter on the living room floor. Social rejects would be a strong and hasty term to describe the social strata April's family belongs to, however, they were what one might define as odd ducks. Her mother worked odd jobs, until she landed a job making fake teeth for a dental supply company. Her father worked for Honeywell on the conveyer belt. They had a wood burning oven for heat. I remember in the nineties, our elementary school conducted a phony presidential election, where students were made to vote for the actual running candidates and the "president" was announced over the loud speaker. Most children voted for who they had heard their parents talking about voting for. I will never forget the day April told me that she was voting for Ross Perot, and that although that was not who I was voting for, and I didn't really understand the nature of what it meant to vote for Ross Perot, it made ultimate sense that she would vote for him. In retrospect, it still makes ultimate sense.

"L" Eccentricities

While I still attended Catholic school I often babysat for the darling girls whom inhabited this house. Their father, Mr. E, was my english teacher. I'm not exactly sure that babysitting for them so often didn't garuntee me an A in his class. English was always my strong suit anyways. Regardless, I've felt both hesitantly guilty and proud of the possibly likely grade manipulation ever since. All of the three girls had names beginning with "L", Lindsey, Lauren, and baby Lilly. This is a trend not uncommon in families, but nonetheless, strikes me as an eccentric choice. Lindsey was my favorite, she about five at the time and was sprightly, often doing choreographed dances for me in her silk pajamas to the Backstreet Boys, with an intensity and feverishness that could make even the most sagely of oracles uncomfortable. Their mother also worked for the school, as a cheerleading instructor and dance coach. A few years after I retired from babysitting I heard that Colleen, the mother, had divorced Mr. E and he had lost his job due to some apparently unsightly advances at a few young female students. He also, apparently, gave them cigarettes, which I heard was his primary offense.

Confirmed Bachelorettes

This house is located directly across the street from my mother's house. Every member of my family has backed out of our driveway and into the fence in their front yard. I can assure you it does not take much acceleration of demolish a wooden fence. Two women live in this house and have since before I can remember. Again, I don't recall their names, or faces even. I do remember their lovely dog Rosie, who passed a few years ago. Rosie was a collie, and like any child I often imagined her to be Lassie. My brother, Juan Pedro and I would run up and down the fence with Rosie feeding her treats left over from our hot dog lunches and hot dish dinners on the sly. Most of my memories of this house evolve around my love for Rosie. I used to sit on the opposite side of the fence from Rosie and just burry my fingers in her hair while she slept in the sun. As a child I simply couldn't fathom the texture of her fur unless I was touching it. I always assumed the two women were sisters. It has only been in the last few years I've come to realize they are lesbian lovers.

Doby Meets His End

My sister used to babysit for the people who lived here. Amanda and Ted were their kids. Around the time I knew them, Ted was roughly four and Amanda was roughly nine. I don't recall the names of their parents. I may not ever have met them. Ted was one of those children who was incredibly muscular due to his frequent rage blackouts that would often result in him sitting in the corner huffing and clenching his fists along with every other muscle in his tiny body. We called him Ted-a-monster. Ted adored my sister, I fancy he saw her as some kind of refuge, based on the particular light in his eyes when he saw her and how fiercely protective he was of her affections. Amanda was a know-it-all snot. She constantly pointed out her own feats, never hesitating to ask for your approval, actually, demand your approval is more like it. Once they had an adorable miniature doberman pincher puppy named Doby. I remember one day the children coming over to our house in sobs, because Doby had fallen down the stairs and broken its neck. The largest flight of stairs in their house was carpeted and only eight steps or so long. I heard my parents talking that night while I eve's dropped in the hallway because I was afraid to be in my room alone at night. My mother mentioned to my father about Ted and Amanda's father's temper. They agreed that Doby most likely didn't fall down the steps. They were right. Three weeks later they got themselves a divorce and their kids a new puppy.

Liberally Sauced

I went to elementary school with a girl who lived in this house. Her name was Erin. She was also in my brownie troop, which her mother was the troop leader of. If I remember correctly, Erin was a bit of a little cunt with a holier than thou attitude about the rest of us girls. She corrected us when we spoke and gave us advice on how to look better, or rather, to better cover our flaws. Erin's father was the head fireman in our neighborhood. I remember him looking like he was on T.V. when the rest of us looked like just that; the rest of us. Erin was pretty with red hair, and had a pair of diamond earrings in the second grade. Marilyn, her mother, and my brownie troop leader had a nasty temper and a bit of a tendency to hit the sauce a little too often. She would come to our troop meeting liberally sauced and hold nothing back when it came to berating Erin's physical appearance and abilities in front of the clan of little lasses. Eventually my mother and Nancy (the mother of another brownie, Dana) took control of the operation. Erin always seemed relieved after that.