In my posts of 10/10 and 10/15/2012, I mentioned that my 10 to 12 year old buds and I made really cool rockets with match heads and Black Cat firecrackers – broken open to carefully pour out and use the fulmenite of mercury powder. We would similarly make bombs and cannons with such materials. We learned about Molotov cocktails from the Hungarian Revolution (1956) so we made them with pop bottles, gasoline and a rag stuffed in the opening. We’d light them and pitch them into the creek by my house while six foreheads and twelve eyes peered over the edge. Waves of intense heat rolled above us while the bumblebee sound of glass and rock shards buzzed over our heads. Occasional ka-booms would rip through the neighborhood to the grand delight of our “gang” – and much to the irritation of our mothers who would yell out the window “Harold – you go find your hand and sew it back on” [slam].
Halloween was always a special treat. For tricks. However, the tricks though were far more benign since they involved adults. Thus our creative and cautious natures sprang forth. Most aggressive was setting fire to a paper bag full of dog poop on someone’s front stoop. Then ringing the doorbell (and watching – hands over our mouths – as Mr. Foy stomped it out). Or just ringing doorbells. I remember calling my friend Darryl M. on the telephone. I mistakenly dialed CLearbrook 3 – 75_ _. A woman answered and I asked for Darryl. The woman went ballistic (maybe she’d had calls for Darryl before). She went on and on – and I was fascinated! CLearbrook 3-75_ _. I memorized the number which I remember to this day. I went over to Darryl’s and together we called the number. Our ears pressed against the receiver. “Hello?” “Hello is [snicker] Darryl there?” “X%@&!!@&*#!” Oh my socks and shoes the woman used every word I had learned never to use – and then some. We shared the number with other friends. I’m sure the number was spread far and wide. “Hello is Darryl there?” In these simple days before caller ID, we could call with impunity. And learn many new words in the process. I am sorry – today – for doing such impish things. But there’s a 10 year old boy somewhere in my core that still wears a smile . . . . .