Two peas in a pod. Joined at the hip. Any other expression you could come up with of that nature would pretty much describe my friendship with Kenny, the boy who lived in the house beside mine on Kelmore Road when we were growing up.
I was an only child. Kenny had an older brother, but it didn’t seem as though they had much to do with each other. So Kenny and I became the brother and sister we never had. We once declared that we were going to get married when we grew up. He was going to be the farmer. I was going to be the farmer’s wife. Farmer’s wife?? I guess life was different in the 60’s.
Above is an old photo of the two of us and another older boy standing in my front yard in the winter of ’61 which made us both about 4 years old. The way we were looking at each other is priceless…this was the way we were together, always laughing, always playing and coming up with a new plan, a story plot, a great idea. In the winter we built snowmen and snow forts. Kenny’s older brother liked to smash whatever we made to bits. In the summer we held stage plays in our back yards. We charged the neighbourhood kids 5 cents to come and watch us fly by the seat of our pants through some improvised play or pantomime. My mother brought out Kool Aid for the audience. My Dad got mad because we’d messed up the lawn. We used bed sheets for curtains and found all kinds of props to use, inventing stories as we went along. In one play, all we had to start with was the idea that he was Red Skelton and I was Mrs. Skelton.
Mrs. Skelton? I guess, well, it was still the 60’s.
One time I was playing with Kenny in his basement while a group of adults were having some sort of party upstairs. Kenny decided we needed candles. We found and lit a whole bunch of them, placing them everywhere around the room. One fell into a stuffed chair. I guess Kenny must have screamed or something; the next thing I knew a bunch of adult males were frantically dragging the burning chair out the basement door, trying to put it out. Needless to say, our little basement party was over after that.
Another time, we were in his back yard and Kenny showed me a package of his grandmother’s heart pills. They had been thrown in the garbage and he decided they looked interesting and rifled them out. He convinced me that it was okay, they were just candy, and so we ate some. Heart pills. When my mother the nurse found out, she hauled me home to the bathroom, forcing me to drink salt water and hoping I would throw the pills up. I never did. I was more afraid of throwing up than having swallowed those pills.
I don’t think we were any worse for the wear. But. Heart pills.
One summer we decided to get sleeping bags and sleep overnight in the tent in his back yard. For some reason, the adults had a bit of a problem with that. We didn’t. It was just us, Kenny and Irene. They came to their senses and let us sleep in the tent. On our first day of Grade 1 in the elementary school across the street, Kenny was not happy because he really missed his mom. For some reason, I did not experience the same trauma, so we spent the whole recess holding hands while Kenny cried. He was a lot more sentimental about things than I was.
Our most exciting (or stupid) adventure happened one Saturday night, when we decided to dress up as robbers and sneak around our own houses. We even smeared dirt on our faces to complete the effect.
Kenny had a flash light, and we pretended we were going to rob his house. As usual, we got pretty caught up in our own drama, and at one point we came running out from behind some bushes to the street, just as a police car was driving past. Talk about timing. Because we were so immersed in our pretend robbery, we turned around and (stupidly) ran away from the police. They immediately pulled over and jumped out of the cruiser, high-tailing it after us. Kenny ran one way, I ran the other and hid under his backyard deck. They nabbed Kenny and hauled him out under a street light. They started questioning him. Kenny cried “No, it’s okay, I live here! This is my house! We were just playing!” I kept my mouth shut under the back deck.
They verbally reprimanded him and finally let him go.
I came out from under the deck and we soberly said our goodbyes. I went home and told my mother the story and she said “Well, I’m glad you got caught…what a stupid thing to do!” Yep, stupid.
I’m sure Kenny would be able to remember many things that I haven’t told here. We were very lucky that we lived in a nice, safe (other than our shenanigans) middle-class neighbourhood with a school across the street and lots of other kids to play with. And we were lucky to have each other. Thanks for the memories, Kenny 🙂