When good moms give bad haircuts

Where's Tarzan?

Look at this photo of me, at 6 or 7 years old. Big  floppy ears. Protruding forehead. Widespread nose.

I looked like monkeyboy.

The doctor didn’t slap me when I was born. He gave me a banana instead.

I’ve always had a big head — longer than it is wide. At birth, my head occupied 93 percent of my skinny monkeyboy body. As an  adult, I fill a hat size bigger than a Texas Stetson.

As a kid, I wanted to hide my King Kong cranium under a thick mop of hair. My barber wouldn’t have it. That barber was mom.

Home hair cutting saved time, money and aggravation.

When you raise eight kids, you have to practice  practicality. Home hair cutting made financial and logistical sense.

Unfortunately, mom practiced one haircutting style: the buzzcut. It was fast, easy and no bangs to get straight.

Mom did her barbering with a powerful set of electric shears handed down to her from nomadic sheep-shearing ancestors. They buzzed louder than a table saw, pulled the hair on the back of your neck and smelled of warm 3-in-1 oil.

Mom employed these clippers with the deft efficiency of a Marine barber. She used the wide comb attachment, made by International Harvester, to make a few quick passes over my scalp, leaving me with that  healthy and shiny monkeyboy look.

I fought the buzzcuts most of my childhood. Protested them as inhumane. Threatened to run away. Did no good. Mom believed we looked better in short hair than long.

Eventually, I snapped. After one of mom’s combine cuts, I stomped up to the attic, after first declaring that I was going to stay  there until my hair grew back.

I forgot that it was summer. The attic was hot as a kiln. I lasted about 20 minutes before I returned downstairs, wearing a baseball cap, and declaring that I was going to wear it until my hair grew back. I stomped to my bedroom and slammed the door as proof that I meant it  this time.

By high school, mom quit cutting my hair and I grew it down to my shoulders. It was rangy, bone straight and ugly.

As I grew older, my haircuts grow shorter – by  choice.

As I write this post, my hair is nearly as stubby as it was in my baboon picture.

Mom was right. I do look better in short hair.

Better a late learner, than a never learner.

I think I’ll celebrate by having a banana.

Posted in childhood, family, funny, haircuts, humor, large families, monkeyboy, short hair, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Sometimes parenting really sucks

Many moms in the 1950s dreamed of owning an Electrolux vacuum.
It was the Cadillac of homemaking. It was expensive, but proved that when it came to housecleaning and your family’s health, cost wasn’t an issue.
Mom’s luxury vacuum dream came true in the late 1950s, after several years of marriage. My parents saved up a down payment and bought an Electrolux canister vacuum on a monthly payment plan.
The vacuum resembled a scuba tank, mounted on its side on thick wire runners. Its chrome trim and sleek curves spelled serious sucking power. The hose, made of a thick upholstery-like material, attached to the sucking end. Hot air shot out of the exhaust end. An internal bag trapped the dirt.
The Electrolux was in our home for only a few days before my sister, Sherry, and I decided to give it the “Pfiffer Kids Product Durability Test.”
I was 5 or 6 and Sherry was a year younger. We weren’t interested in sucking mere household dirt. That was for losers.
We wanted something more elusive.
Something like water.
From the toilet.
Yep. We lugged the new chrome-gleaming Electrolux canister vacuum into the bathroom, plugged it in, fired it up and dipped the nozzle into a toilet bowl of water.
We sucked the bowl dry faster than you can say, “Hope mom don’t catch us.”
It took seconds for the vacuum to empty the bowl, to the howls and laughter of two siblings just seconds away from learning about electrocution. We took turns sucking water and giggling hysterically.
By then, Mom noticed the sounds of laughter, a vacuum and a strange gurgling noise emanating from the bathroom – and Jim and Sherry were nowhere to be seen.
When Mom burst into the bathroom and saw what we were doing, her first thought was “Oh my God! You two could have been killed.” She was relieved that were safe.
Relief was quickly vacuumed up by the realization that “Oh my God! You two ruined my brand new Electrolux!”
None of the bathroom vacuum participants can remember what, if any, punishment Mom handed out. I suspect it involved threats of an orphanage.
Parents can’t protect their kids all the time. When you have eight children, it means you will never get a good night’s sleep until all your kids are grown and gone.
Childhood brushes with injury and death are great learning experiences. They teach unforgettable lessons.
They also remind us that good karma comes to good parents. Raise your kids well and fate watches over your children when they do stupid things that can get them killed.
My siblings and I did plenty of colossally stupid stunts that should have resulted in our being maimed, killed or jailed. We’re all still alive, have all our limbs and remain unincarcerated.
Good job, Mom and Dad.

Posted in Uncategorized, vacuum cleaner | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Danger: Suppertime at the Pfiffer Table. Someone might lose an eye

What do you get when you sit a large hungry family around a table set with savory meats, steaming bowls of buttery potatoes, bread, assorted side dishes of cooked vegetables and cartons of creamy whole milk?

You get the best part of my childhood – the Pfiffer family supper. We didn’t call it dinner. Rich people ate dinner. We ate supper between 5 and 5:30 p.m., shortly after dad came home from work.

The supper table was a long wooden rectangle with more leaves than a maple tree. It was a great place to enjoy good food, family news, jokes and sibling teasing. Mom and Dad sat at the table heads. We kids lined the sides. Squeezed in between were neighbors, friends and
relatives. The Pfiffer supper table attracted the hungry and curious.

Mom was a great cook – mostly hearty meat and potato dinners – prepared from committed-to-memory recipes learned from her mom.

We Pfiffers were good eaters. We rarely left anything on our plates except fork and spoon scratch marks. It’s no coincidence that the United States became the world’s No. 1 food producer in the 1950s and ’60s. It had to, to feed the Pfiffers.

The standard supper staples included 10 pounds of potatoes – boiled, mashed or baked – with a 5-pound bowl of spuds at each end of the table, a loaf of sliced bread, quarter-pound of butter and two gallons of milk. Salads, cooked veggies and desserts rounded out the menu.

The main entrée was meat, pasta or fish sticks.

Whatever mom cooked, she split it into two bowls – with each end of the table getting a bowl. This 50/50 portion symmetry assured each half of the table of getting the same amount of food – or at least the same odds of getting at it.

We were hungry eaters. You had to be fast and cunning if you wanted to leave the table sated – and in possession of all your limbs. The Pfiffer supper table was clinical proof of Darwin’s survival of the fittest.

I don’t remember if we kids had assigned seats or not. I know always tried to sit closest to the pork chops. I loved mom’s pork chops. She made enough food for all of us to have one hearty helping of every food on the table. But there was rarely enough for all of us to
have seconds.

Thus, our pre-supper grace was “Father, son, the Holy Ghost. First one done gets the most.”

And then we were off and eating in a dizzying and blurring cacophony of flashing flatware, clanking plates, passing dishes, gulping milk, bone gnawing, roll buttering and salt shaking.

This supper time confusion was  my parents. They blew whistles, threw penalty flags and kept the meal inbounds with reminders like: “Eat with your mouth closed.” “Elbows off the table.” “Jim! Give your sister back her pork chop.”

Supper was more than a means to nourishment. It was the daily family gathering, a ritual of coming together to share the day’s news, tell jokes and tease your siblings. It was a place to share your triumphs, vent your frustrations, plan the week’s family itinerary
and to eavesdrop on adult conversations.

The supper table was sometimes the venue where dad or mom might call out one of us kids on a bad report card, a neighborhood caper or a missed chore.

Most of the time it was respite for great food, fun, family bonding and a producer of fond memories.

Posted in childhood, family, family meals, family supper, funny, humor, large families, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

No. 2 pencil is the No. 1 back-to-school suupply

I liked shopping for back-to-school supplies.

New school supplies made me feel smarter. An unused sheet of paper gave me the feeling of a clean slate and a sense of unlimited possibilities – like making it to the next grade.

I believed that using new school supplies would somehow increase my intelligence and self-discipline. I was too dumb to perceive my ignorance.

School supplies are the tools of education. You can never have too many tools.

I filled our family shopping cart with paper, pencils, pens, erasers, folders, binders, notebooks, hole-punches and brown liquid glue, in a glass bottle, with a funky slitted rubber cap that was forever clogged with dried glue.

As a curious kid, I wondered why we had to use No. 2 pencils. Why wasn’t a No. 1 pencil our No. 1 choice? And what about a No. 3 pencil? Was the public education system too good for a No. 3? These are the deep questions I pondered in class, instead of paying attention to teachers.

I paid attention to the single most sought after school supply of my generation – the 64-color box of Crayola Crayons with the built-in sharpener and the triple-row display. I was never the proud owner of this ultimate status symbol. My practical parents thought it a frivolous waste of money and hues. They didn’t need all those colors when they were in school.

“When I was a kid, we only had two colors – black and white,” said my parents. “If we felt artsy, we would mix them to make gray.”

Each year, I equipped myself with the standard-issue school supplies, as well as some school-required items that I rarely used or understood. They included:

  • Geometric compass: This V-shaped tin tool featured a golf pencil stub. It was supposed to be used to draw circles and arcs. But a design flaw, in the form of a sharp pointed metal end, made it a handy device for inflicting pain and suffering on classmates – especially in their buttocks region.
  • A 6-inch plastic ruler with a tiny hole in the center. The ruler was rarely used for measuring, but often employed as spitball catapult or a butt-whacking tool (butts were a favorite target of school shenanigans). The ruler could also be spun atop a sharpened pencil point like a helicopter rotor.
  • Composition notebooks: What was up with the black-and-white cowhide cover design? A great notebook for a dairy princess, but not the rest of us.
  • Protractor: The only thing I ever protracted was the butt of a fourth-grade classmate, when I stuck him good with the business end of my geometric compass. Should have heard him bellow. It still makes me laugh.
  • Ink erasers. They never worked. Didn’t matter, because they gouged an ugly gaping hole in the paper.

Writing about school supplies has reawakened a pleasant childhood memory. I’m going to revisit that time by buying some new school supplies, just for the fun of it. But I’m going to be daring. I’m will only buy No. 3 pencils. I might even buy some paste and eat it.

I’m crazy like that.

Posted in back to school supplies, back-to-school shopping, childhood, Crayola crayons, eraser, family, funny, humor, large families, pencils, protractors, ruler, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The horrors of back-to-school shopping

I hated “back to school” sales. They signaled the end of the summer vacation.

They also meant that I must endure the annual ordeal of buying new school clothes – selected by my mom, who called boys’ pants “slacks” or “trousers.”

Nuff said.

When parents buy clothes for eight kids, fashion sense dissolves into financial cents. Durability was more important than style. It didn’t matter if we looked good in our clothes, as long they had reinforced knees, double-stitched seats and dark colors to disguise the Kool-Aid spills.

My parents prepared for the annual family re-wardrobing by getting second jobs.

The Pfiffer kids were tough on new clothes. We had them ripped and grass-stained before we got them home from the store.

We did our back-to-school shopping at the former Sears Roebuck & Co. store on Elmira’s North Main Street. The middle American department store offered dashing fashions by cutting-edge designers like John Deere and Black & Decker.

Mom didn’t take all us kids shopping at once. Give her a break. Besides, store security wouldn’t allow it. Mom shopped with one or two of us at a time.

My back-to-school attire allotment included one pair of pants, two shirts, socks, and underwear.

As the oldest kid, I never wore hand-me-downs. However, my old rags were passed down through the Pfiffer progeny until the clothes were worn so thin they just were colors. No fabric. Really.

New clothes are uncomfortable. They’re stiff, itch and smell funny. Unlike a new car smell, a new shirt smell’s repugnant. That’s why I wash new clothes several times before wearing.

Do you see why I disliked back-to-school shopping? I had to try on scratchy, funky-smelling, mom-selected clothes in a dressing room with all the ambience of a solitary confinement cell. They’re now
called “fitting rooms,” because many people have fits when they see how fat
they are in the full-length, leave-nothing-to-the-imagination mirrors.

The mirror traumatization isn’t as bad as exiting onto the storeroom floor to endure mom’s inspection and questions of me and my pants. She ran her fingers around the inside of the waist to check for fit. Yanked on the cuffs for length and tugged on the pockets for a test of strength.

“Are they too tight?” she asked. “Do they cinch in the fly?” “Can you get your hands in the pockets?”

All the while, I had to do squat thrusts, leg kicks and deep knee bends to prove the slacks offered freedom of movement.

“Turn around,” she would say as she inspected my new slacks. “They look adorable on you.”

Adorable is not a term a boy wants to hear when trying on school clothes – especially in front of the whole store.

I admit that putting on a new set of duds does make me feel a bit more attractive, a tad more confident and even taller. I still feel that way as an adult. However, the feeling subsides after the second or third time I wear them.

Fashion wasn’t important to me as a kid. As long as my pants were not “high water” and my shirts didn’t get me beaten up in school, I was content.

In third grade, mom bought me a pair of girly calf-length pants, called clam diggers. I have wimpy lemon-size calves that should always be covered when in public. The pants were white canvas, with a wide baby blue stripe on each outside leg and a braided rope belt. I hated them, but mom insisted I wear them on our class trip to Eldridge Park in Elmira. I protested, arguing that the park was clam free and the only thing I would be digging would be my grave if the class bullies saw me in my high-water trousers.

Mom insisted I wear them. I did. I didn’t get beaten up or made fun of.

That’s because I spent the entire class trip hiding in the bathroom.

Posted in back-to-school shopping, bullies, childhood, clam diggers, family, funny, humor, large families, school clothes | 1 Comment

How do you keep track of eight kids?

“It’s 10 o’clock. Do you know where your children are?”

That famous old public service announcement promoted responsible

But when you are the parents of eight kids, a better question is,
“It’s 10 o’clock. Do you remember your kids’ names?”

My parents often forgot the names of my siblings, and me
especially if dad or mom were in a rush or angry. Let’s say mom was trying to
quickly get the attention of one of us kids, because an unwatched saucepan of
popcorn oil was ablaze atop the stove (before microwaves, we had to cook
popcorn on a stove. Life was so primitive). My panicky mother would shout at
her offspring nearest the stove, running through our names until she hit the
right one, “Jim, Sherry, Mike or whatever you name is. Quick, put a lid on that

It’s difficult to remember all your kids’ names in stressful
situations. Sometimes we caused our parents so much stress they forgot their
own names.

Forgetting your kid’s name was compounded by the fact that most
of the time, there was at least a half-dozen assorted neighbors’ kids, friends
and nieces and nephews in the Pfiffer household.

The large numbers of children, and the noise and confusion, made
it difficult to keep track of and remember whose kid was whose.

I didn’t discover that my sister, Missy, was my sibling until
she was 7 years old. She was so quiet that I thought she was a neighbor. It was
only at her seventh birthday party that I realized she was blood.

Mom never forgot my name because she repeated it so often –
usually to scold me or yell at me to stop my mischief. When we were out in
public and I was doing something wrong, she didn’t yell my name. Instead, she
would  say my full name and enunciate it
slowly, deliberately and with venom.

“James … Michael … Pfiffer.”

When I heard my full name, I stopped whatever sin I was
committing and prepared for the punishment I would receive when we returned

Keeping track of us kids was important when my family and
friends piled into our station wagon for road trips. Dad started the car and
mom did roll call from the front seat. She called out each of our names and we
kids answered, “Here,” “Yo” or “I didn’t do anything.”

Mom then inventoried the assorted friends, neighbors, relatives
and hitchhikers coming along for the ride. By then, the car was out of gas, we
had to cancel the trip, and head back into the house to set pans of oil afire
on the stove.

Posted in childhood, childhood names, family, family role call, funny, humor, large families, station wagon | 2 Comments

The coffee cup snowball fight

Summer vacation is great when you’re a kid – for the
first few days.

Then you get bored. You can only sleep late, not
bathe and wear the same clothes for so long, before the novelty wears off.

Thus, most of our summer vacations were spent moping
around the house whining aloud “I’m borrrred. There’s nothing to dooooo.”

Mom used her creative adult genius to help us find interesting
things to do, by sternly stating, “Keep it up and I’ll find you something to do
(namely housework, yard work or some kind of icky work). Quit whining and go
outside and get some fresh air.”

Parents of my generation were very concerned with
their kids getting enough fresh air. That’s why there is so little of it now.
We breathed it all up in the ‘60s.

We obeyed mom’s instructions and went outside where our
young creative minds snapped into overdrive and we immediately found something
to do: moping around and whining “I’m borrred. There’s nothing to dooooo.”

“You can mow the lawn or pull garden weeds,” mom yelled
from inside the house, where her supermom hearing had picked up on our outside

It was during one of these boring summer days that
my friends and I decided to have a mock snowball fight. Since it was difficult
to make snowballs in July, we used apples from our backyard apple trees. The
apples were small, hard, sour and wormy. They were best for throwing, not
eating. If these apples had grown in the Garden of Eden, Adam never would have
taken that fateful bite.

We divided into shirts and skins teams and used the
apples as summer snowballs. We quickly tired of the fruit fight, because we had
to climb trees to get our ammo and the tree climber was a sitting duck for
those on the ground who still had a few round left. We needed a new source of

As luck would have it, our barn was a storage spot
for all kinds of strange items, including several boxes of ceramic coffee cups
and saucers – the heavy-duty beige variety, common in roadside diners.

The cups and saucers possessed three characteristics
that made them perfect summer snowballs:

  1. They were numerous.
  2. They didn’t belong to us.
  3. They hurt like hell.

Thus began the great summer of ’68 snowball war flying table

Flying saucers and tea cups make for a fun summer snowball fight

We threw the saucers like Frisbees, which made for
loads of fun watching a well-tossed glass plate slice through the air and smash
to pieces against a barn wall or a friend’s head – if your aim was good.

The odd shape of the cups made for an erratic
trajectory, rarely hitting the intended target, but instead smashing into the
side of the house, the family station wagon or one of my siblings.

I employed the cup’s finger loop. I hooked it through
my thumb or index finger and tossed it like a hand grenade. It didn’t take me
long to realize I could hook ten cups over my fingers and thumbs and rain ceramic
hell on my opponents.

While the barn was large, it was built using a
construction technique called “cheap and flimsy.” Many of the interior walls
were made of a cardboard like material that was easy to punch a hole through.

We quickly discovered that the cups and saucers easily
pierced the thin walls and hit our opponents, who were hiding on the other side
waiting to ambush us.

I was standing behind such a wall, my thumbs and
fingers looped with a full clip of cups, peeking through a small hole in the
wall looking for the enemy, when a foe’s cup busted through the wall and hit me
square in the back, knocking the wind out of me as well as several swear words.
I retaliated immediately by throwing my full load of 10 cups in the direction
of the enemy fire. About 60 percent of my missiles hit their target. Unfortunately,
the target was one of my teammates, who had to get stitches in his head. Cup
and saucer war is hell.

When we completed our summer saucer snowball fight,
the barn floor was littered with shards of glass. The cardboard walls were
riddled with holes.

When my parents discovered the damage, they were so
angry they grounded me until just a couple of weeks ago.

But, it was worth it. We turned a boring, nothing to
do summer vacation day into a memory that I will never forget; and a cup-shaped
scar on my buddy’s head that will never heal over.

Posted in apple fights, barn, childhood, family, fighting childhood boredom, funny, humor, snowball fight, station wagon, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Always on the move

Always on the move

The Pfiffer family is nomadic. We moved constantly.
I never spent two years in the same school until we moved back to Elmira in
1968 and I entered eighth grade. We moved at least 13 times between my starting
kindergarten and eighth grade.  We moved
so often, the family car was an Allied Van Lines truck. We moved because we
outgrew our homes, dad got a new job, a well went dry or the neighbors started
a petition to force us out of the community.

I hated moving.
I hated going to an unfamiliar school in the middle of a school year.
That made me the new kid in class – the dude who didn’t grow up in the
neighborhood. I was an outsider and an easy target for bullies and peer
teasing. I reacted to this as best I could, by telling myself that it wasn’t my
fault, calmly discussing it with my teacher and then going home and beating up
my brothers and sisters in displaced anger.

I learned my sense of humor from my parents – who loved
to laugh and tell jokes. I used my sense of humor to make our frequent moves easier.
I learned quickly that if I could make a schoolyard bully laugh, he wouldn’t
punch me in the nose – or he wouldn’t punch me as hard because he was giggling
at my joke.

Humor was also a quick way to make friends and
become part of the in crowd. Most every kid likes to laugh. It’s fun. I earned
a reputation as the funny kid who could make people laugh. I became the class
clown. My teachers didn’t appreciate this role.

I also learned that it’s best to make fun of oneself
and not others. Not everyone gets the joke or likes being laughed at,
especially bullies. Some of my clowning, at a bully’s expense, resulted in my
taking a few jabs to the snoz. (I wasn’t born with this big crooked sneezer).

My family’s frequent relocations taught me how to make
friends and fit in with others. And a new house and neighborhood gave us kids plenty
of opportunities for adventures and exploring.

Our large family required us kids to share bedrooms.
I never had my own room until eighth grade. I shared bedrooms with my brothers,
sisters, pets and even a few transient homeless hobos who happened by. We never
locked our back door.

While the constant moving was traumatic, it helped
me develop skills I would need throughout life — a sense of humor, the ability
to quickly make friends and the quick reflexes to avoid punches to the nose.

Posted in bullies, childhood, family, funny, humor, large families, moving, new kid in school | Leave a comment

The barn: A kid’s playground. A parent’s nightmare

Every kid needs a clubhouse or private place to
hangout. For us kids, that place was the barn behind our Elmira home on Maple

The barn was our playground paradise — our respite
from adult supervision and a way cool location to commit adolescent mischief
and stupidity.

The barn was a three-story brown wooden mammoth equipped
with heavy sliding doors, trap doors, built-in ladders hay lofts and a concrete
pit. The barn was part of an old tobacco farm. Elmira and nearby Big Flats were
grew some of the best cigar wrapping tobacco in the county in the late 1800s
and early 1900s. The tobacco wad dried in the barn. That’s why the structure was
so holey. It was peppered with knotholes, cracks, crevices and spaces where wind
and air could ventilate with ease.

Most of the barn’s interior was dark, dusty and scented
with the thick fragrances of old wood, hay, automobile oil and dirt (some of my
favorite smells). We shared the barn with bats, mice and the occasional woodchuck
or stray cat.

We parked the family station wagon in one section of
the first floor. The basement was full of car parts, oilcans and tools that
belonged to an uncle who raced stock cars. The second floor was for storage.

But the third floor belonged to us kids. That’s
where we built our fort. As we grew older it morphed into a clubhouse and
finally an adolescent hangout where we slept out on summer nights. Occasionally,
we invited girls to the barn to try to get them to make out with us. (Nothing
encourages female romance like an old smelly dark barn populated with bats,
rats, groundhogs and pimple-faced teenage boys).

To my buddies and me, the third floor was our teenage
summer apartment – complete with couches, chairs, tables, lamps, a hi-fi record
player and even an old refrigerator. The quality and style of our furnishings
could best be described as early-American dump. We did our best to hide the
stains, rips and exposed springs with tapestries, tarps and low light settings.

Being typical lazy teens, we didn’t want to climb down
three stories and go into the house every time we needed to go to the bathroom.

Being typical creative teens, we did the next best
thing. We peed out the loft doors. But they offered little privacy and offended
neighbors who lived in the line of sight of the barn.

We decided we needed to build a urinal. We couldn’t afford
a porcelain version, so we fashioned our own model from an empty Clorox bottle.
We cut away the bottom third of the bottle, turned it upside down and nailed it
to the barn wall. We attached a hose to the bottle spout and slipped the hose
out of a nearby knothole. We even placed Spearmint Life Savers in the upturned to
give it a classy public restroom atmosphere. We may have been demented, but we
were creative.

Many of my fondest teenage memories and capers occurred
in the barn. Many of my fiercest parental punishments were the result of barn-related

I will share them with you in future posts.

Posted in barn, childhood, family, funny, humor, large families, station wagon | 2 Comments

Dirtballs and the neighbor’s pool

My family didn’t own a built-in swimming pool. We
had above ground models. We started with the simple inflatable three-ring versions
that were strong enough to last several seasons as long as they never came in contact
with kids, pets or water.

Eventually we progressed to a 4-foot-tall, 18-foot-long
rigid-frame oval pool with an electric  filter the size of an oil drum that did a great
filter job as long as it never came in contact with kids, pets or water.

Above ground pools kept us cool, but they weren’t deep
enough for diving boards, long enough for racing or imposing enough to scare younger
siblings with gruesome stories of kids swimming too close to the drain and
getting sucked in. (I told my brother about a kid who dived to the bottom of
pool and sat on a pool drain. It sucked out his insides through his wazoo. To
this day, my brother won’t sit in a pool – even an inflatable.

We had a neighbor who had a beautiful below ground
pool. But, he wouldn’t let my buddies and I swim in it for three reasons:

  1. They wanted their pool
    to survive the season.
  2. They had an upstanding
    reputation in the hood.
  3. They had attractive daughters.

Thus, we were forbidden from swimming in their pool,
setting foot on their property or violating the restraining order involving their

One hot summer night, while my friends and I were
sleeping out in the barn behind our home, we decided to get even with our
uppity pool-owning neighbor.

We formulated a devious plan. We would throw dirt
balls, from the dirt pile behind the barn, into his precious pool. He would
spend the next day vacuuming the pool, instead of swimming. That would teach
him to ban Pfiffer and his gang from his precious pool.

When pelted his pool with dirt clogs the size of
your fist. When the dirty deed was done we fled to the barn and laughed so hard
we wet our sleeping bags.

That’s when one of my buddies discovered an error in
our caper.  My neighbor knew we were
sleeping out. He had seen us taking our sleeping  bags to the barn. He would know that we were
the dirtballs who had dirtballed his water.

That’s when I came up with a brilliant counter-plan:
We could cover our tracks by throwing dirt balls in the Pfiffer pool. Then the
neighbor would think both pools had been hit by a traveling band of dirt-ball
chucking vandals. Ingenious. I was so proud of myself.

The next day, just as we had predicted, I smugly
watched my neighbor standing in the blaring sun sweating, swearing and
vacuuming his pool.

Unfortunately, I was doing the same thing, as it was
my turn to clean our pool.

I learned a valuable lesson: Neighborhood revenge hurts
everyone. I would never do it again, unless it was one of my siblings’ turn to
vacuum the pool.


Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments