I grew up in a large family home. The house was large. The family was large. The neighborhood was large. Back when neighbors knew each other. When a family moved away they were missed and kept in contact with, at least for awhile. When someone moved in, you tried to get to know them. Because that’s what neighbors did.
Not all neighbors, as it turns out, are story book material.
My childhood home was on one street. My grandparent’s home was on the next street over. So technically we lived on different streets. But our backyards merged. We could look out our window and see them, they could look out their window and see us. We had a tremendous back yard because of this. And we knew our grandparent’s neighbors. My father and his siblings grew up with the people next door to them. And I still remember them living there.
The short story is my grandparents lived in their house for many years. This family next door and my grandparents family, eventually shared three generations in common. Then the long time neighbors and friends of my grandparents moved out.
Another family moved in.
A family younger than my grandparents. With young children. I am not passing judgment when I say they were bizarre people. They were. That I knew as a child. If you ever have a child express fear or puzzlement at people, trust their judgment! I knew, as a child, these people were not people I wanted to be around. It felt wrong. I always felt bad for the kids but I didn’t know much about them. Initially they sometimes played with us. But that stopped.
Being a child I heard things being said around me. I couldn’t tell you what I heard. But I know I heard things. Of course the grandparents and parents didn’t tell us what was going on. But adults sometimes forget about the little people standing about and though we might not exactly be paying attention, we hear things. And I very distinctly remember the adults talking about calling the prosecutor on the neighbors. And if they had to they would tell the neighbor so. I had no idea what a prosecutor was but by golly I knew my grandparents and the other adults in my life would know what they were talking about. And it sounded pretty threatening to say. If the neighbors were going to be that scary I would call the prosecutor as well.
This information sat in my head for I don’t know how long. And one day I was walking from my grandparent’s house to my house. The two houses were connected by a very long back yard. The neighbor’s back yard stretched along my grandparent’s back yard. As I walked I saw the ‘dad’ neighbor. Still thinking about him gives me the creeps. But there he was. And he felt weird. He said something to me. I don’t know what it was he said. But I yelled at him what I heard my grandparents say. He laughed at me. I ran. Heebie Jeebies I tell you.
Within the next day or two I was at my grandparents telling them the story. When I finished telling them, my grandmother was….. I think she….. was laughing. Here I was being all brave and all and she seemed to be doing was laughing. Or trying not to laugh. She said “Colleen, what did you tell him?”
I repeated “I told him I was going to call the prostitute for him”.
Doesn’t matter. I didn’t know how to call the prosecutor or the prostitute.