Thursday, January 15, 2015

Growing UP and Other Shenanigans

In an attempt to get down a few family stories (which was the original intention of this blog in the first place) I asked my siblings and cousins for a few memories to share. One actually came as a surprise to me today. Well, the memory did not come as a surprise, the fact that none of the grown-ups knew about it was the surprise. Surprise!

I need to preface this narrative with a little back story...
NatureGirl--4th grade

I spent quite a few of my very most formative childhood years living in a little bit of a commune. Not a commune in the strictest sense of the word perhaps, but quite communal nonetheless. We had a family business in construction and in that work, we built a subdivision and all lived in that neighborhood together. We had our house, next door was my aunt and uncle and two cousins. The next house was Mr. Toy, the mailman. Next door to that was my other aunt and uncle and two more cousins, and across the street was my grandfather, Papa. We lived like this for quite a few years rather happily, likely because, as I mentioned in the last post, we had very little supervision.

To get a sense of the fact that it was less like 4 families living near each other, and more like one rather large family, the cousins were at one point, ages 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8 & 5. (Truth be told, I wish my mother had tricked my dad into having my brother a little sooner, so that there was no dangler, but nothing is perfect.) The family joke is that when the street lights came on and it was time to go in for the night that the moms would just open the door and yell out the number of kids that belonged in that house. When they had the right number, they shut the door. It did not really matter which kids they had as long as it matched the number chairs at the dinner table.

The memory that all 7 of us cousins share, but that the grown-ups were oblivious to, is the nudist. Yes, nudist. As in naked guy. Naked Guy lived one street over from where our homes were and we had to pass his house on the walk home from school. No one ever sold Girl Scout cookies or went trick-or-treating there. Not more than once anyway.  He did a lot of stuff naked. Worked on his car, luckily in the garage. He mowed the lawn au natural, thankfully he had a four foot privacy fence around the front of his yard. It was certain though, that every kid walking by would attempt a peek through the slats in the fence by means of a carefully honed sideways glance, mindful of the need to appear completely uninterested! 

For the most part he really did keep to himself and we saw very little of his birthday suit, with one exception. He had the tendency to talk on the phone standing in front of his floor to ceiling second-story window. Now, I do not want to jump to any kind of conclusions, but he seemed to talk on the phone a lot. So, now you know what we were exposed to as Californian children of the 70's. The surprise part of this story is that apparently, as I just learned, the grown-ups had no idea! Hilarious, or extremely creepy. Either way, memorable.

Quote of the Day: "If you never jumped from one couch to the other to save yourself from the lava, you did not have a childhood."--Unknown


  1. What? They had no idea? Good grief, how could they not know?

  2. Now I'm a dangler? (signed, Your Brother)

  3. Interesting way to put it -- a dangler. I have one, poor thing.
    Great story -- there are always things the grown-ups don't know (Great-Uncle Joe's porn magazines in my case). Loved the lava quotation!