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7/08/2008

Summer in the City

When I was a wee lad we spent much of the summer at Aunt Louise's resort on Bangs Lake. But not the whole summer. Not by a long shot, the WHOLE summer. No, most of the summer was spent at home, in the city. In the hot, sweltering city. No lake to jump in. No cooling breezes springing up during the heat of the day. Just long, hot, incredibly bright days of cicadas in the trees and sweat rolling into your eyes.

In the city, you ALWAYS wore shoes. The sidewalks got too hot to go barefoot. And the streets. The streets would get so hot they would melt. We used to pick up tar from the streets and chew it. Honest to God.

We had quite a gang in our neighborhood. Not a territorial, 'this is our turf' kind of gang. No, we were just a bunch of kids whose fathers were all home from the war (WWII) and we were the babies that got made from all that pent up energy that was expressed upon their return home. So there were a LOT of us. And we all hung around together.

I remember one summer ....

Gloria and Valerie were two girls, neighbors to each other, who lived across the street. We lived on a narrow side street that didn't see much traffic, so the street was never a barrier to us - it was more a playground than anything else. So everybody knew everybody else. And in the days before air conditioners and closed up houses, with screens and sheers in the windows, everybody KNEW everybody else. Gloria and Valerie were very close in age, but much older than the rest of the kids in the 'hood. And Gloria and Valerie seemed to take special joy in their position as the 'older women' in the neighborhood; because they 'knew' more than us, and they were willing, from time to time, to spread that knowledge. And one of their teaching methods involved undressing in front of the window. Behind the sheers, yes, but with a light on in the room and just a sheer between her and the rest of the outside world, neither girl was going to be hiding much of anything, even if she wanted to. Neither one of them wanted to. Hide anything, that is.

Our 'gang' soon caught on to the willingness of these two young vixens to put on a show. They HAD to know they were being observed. For one thing, we could never get Joey S. to stop giggling once the show started, and I'm sure they heard him, if not our efforts to shut him up. And, of course, when Bronco fell of the roof of the garage behind Valerie's house we were SURE it was all over - but it went on, completely undisturbed.

Yes, that was a summer to remember. I was 10. And I was educated. At least, I thought so. I found out in later years that what went on back then was wrong on so many levels - but we were boys and we didn't know any better. But it sure generated some fond memories. The next year my Dad started bringing home this new magazine, Playboy, and he hid them under his bed. That was the source of a whole new set of fond memories as our 'gang' discovered that Gloria and Valerie were SO yesterday. And besides, Gloria's older brother had found out what was going on and threatened us within an inch of our lives. So the show stopped. And the magazine grew in circulation.

29 comments:

witchypoo said...

hilarious! and well told.

Jennifer said...

i'm sitting here just picturing all this... what a great scene. :) i love childhood memories that when they come to you, seem like just yesterday it happened. :)

you are a wonderful writer!! :)

thanks for sharing. :)

xoxoxox

Tash said...

Our tar melted too but we never chewed it Lou! haha that's hilarious!

I think every neighbourhood had a "Gloria and Valerie"

Christy said...

Great story!

I could almost feel the sweltering heat--on all levels.

Those girls remind me of the car-washing girl in "Cool Hand Luke" if you've ever seen that movie, and if you haven't, shame on you.

Exhibitionism and voyeurism....I always wonder (and I've done both, of course) about adults that keep huge habits of that--why?

maggies mind said...

I love the way you tell a story. I could relate to the kids in the neighborhood thing up until the part where you were all 10 year old boys. :) Still, such a fun memory to read.

redchair said...

That’s great Lou. Absolutely outstanding short story. I loved the visual of where you grew up and the escapade of boys.
Vikki

LceeL said...

witchypoo: Thank you, witchy. Very much.

jennifer: You are a sweetheart. thank you.

tash: I kinda like the thought of that - "Exhibitionism Everywhere".

christy: Maybe it's that some people never grow up. Or, maybe better to say, they never lose the curiosity of the child - or the desire to 'show'.

maggie: Thank you. I'll be doing more. Soon.

redchair. I hope you had as much fun reading it and imagining it as I had living it.

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

Wow. That's funny. And, what trollops! Naughty girls. Playboy in the 50s? Seriously? My grandfather would've been thrown out for even trying to read one.

Holly said...

You relay your memories so vividly that I feel like I was there! But, um, not the one behind the sheers. ;)

Alice said...

I can remember finding Playboy at a friends house and getting caught. Oh, the embarassment. But now in retrospect, I think the friend's dad must have freaked too.

So what ever happened to Gloria and Valerie?!!?!

LceeL said...

AFF: Playboy was first published in 1953. The first centerfold was in 1955. I first saw a Playboy in 1956.

holly: Thank you. Who knows? Maybe some book editor, somewhere, will read my stuff and say, "Hmmm. Maybe ...." and then ????

warriorwoman said...

excellent writing Lou.

LceeL said...

Alice: I honestly don't know. Both gloria and Valerie moved away in the next couple of years. I never heard from them again.

Sandy C. said...

Ay yi yi! Perhaps we should try for another girl :) Playboys and peeping toms? I'm not sure I'll ever be ready ;)

Very well written though I must say. I was sweating the whole way through :)

LceeL said...

Sandy: Just pointing out for those that don't know - by 'We', you're referring to you and Dadisodes, NOT you and I. Which, in the grand scheme of things is understandable, if not regrettable.

LceeL said...

warriorwoman: thanks. You write pretty well, yourself.

warriorwoman said...

awe, thank Lou

moneythoughts said...

Nice story Lou. You should put a few chapters together and show them to a publisher, you never know what might happen until you try. With my father being an artist, the nude body was accepted in our home. But, any man that was once 10 can relate to your gang experience very easily. In the 1990's I attended a sketch group and drew the nude body every other week. I can't tell you how hard I worked at drawing those models. Many nights I mentally exhausted myself trying to get the model right. A long way from my interest in the female body at age 10. Nevertheless, it is fun to look back at those days and the newness of it all.

LceeL said...

moneythoughts: I suppose someday I'll get to the point where I want to work with the human form - beyond the face in the mirror. I won't have any issue - I LOVE naked women - but SWMBO, on the other hand, KNOWS that. She may not be so comfortable with the idea of me and some nekked hottie in the same room together

Hyphen Mama said...

Chewing TAR! SO funny. I'm gagging through my laughter.

You sure know how to string together words to create a story that I don't want to put down. The fact that it's your real life makes me want to go back in time and spend a week playing kick-the-can in your 'hood.

The sad part? I can SO see my daughter doing the front window show. Yeah. Good thing we have A/C.

Lady Language said...

Great story - I hope my daughter won't grow up to be a curtain performer.

Manager Mom said...

Your post made that song stick in my head... I can't remember who it was by, "In the summer...in the city...in the summer...in the ci-teee"

And it reminded me of when I myself was a week girl and saw my first real penis. Well, when I saw my first TELEVISED real penis. Christopher Atkins in The Blue Lagoon.

Good times.

LceeL said...

hyphen mama: You don't have to worry about your daughter. Me and my boys are all growed up now.

lady language: I WOULD say that you don't have to worry either, but you DO live in Wisconsin, after all ....

Christy said...

There is a time for everything. I think even God said that.

A time to reap, to sow, to flash, to be a mommy and be against flashing.....

In a hundred years.....will it matter?

Maybe.....that's not a rhetorical question......

LceeL said...

christy: SSSSHHHHH. I'm watching oyur videos.

Maddy said...

Fabulous tale. Well done indeed.
Cheers

thegrandview said...

Ah the good ol' days. My Gloria and Valeria were Andrea and Karen. Damn. Thanks for reminding me of that.

nicole said...

Chewing tar? Never heard of that :D One never stops learning ;)

And the rest of that summer, ..., I can imagine that it was very educational :D!

Elissa said...

Well, boys will be boys won't they!?!