My earliest recollection of something gone astray was when I was about five years old. There was an older lady who looked like she was always thirsty -- by that I mean her lips were parched and her hands looked dry. I saw her spit one time and she had spittle on her lips and some got on the coat she was wearing. We kids on that block had a great time making fun of her amongst ourselves but we were too afraid of her to do it openly. Amongst ourselves we imitated her walk.
She shuffled more than walked and always seemed to act like her left foot was not quite in step with her right. She had a high pitched voice and she had a dog that she yelled at once in a while for not coming when he was called or just to hear the sound of her own voice which was scratchy and piercing. We often saw here shuffling down the street speaking to her dog and keeping a watchful eye on us kids. One day we got brave and ran past her and the dog making noises that scared her and got the dog barking. She swore at us and shook her fist as if to let us know we had better not try it again. Well, being full of mishchief, we decided to dare each other to run up the stairs of the small apartment house she owned. The stairs went up two flights and and made a turn on the way up. The idea was to run up the stairs and back and make a loud noise. We figured she was too old to get to us in time and we could get away. While we dared each other there were no takers amongst us. Finally I said I would. I was just showing off and thought it would be easy. We watched her place and could see no sign of her outside and so I went for it. What I didn't know was the staircase could be accessed from back side. I was running hard and was half way up the stairs when a hand reached out and caught me by the back of my shirt. I was so startled that I let out a yell but to no avail. She had me in a tight grip and was pullling on my shirt, all the time yelling at me that she had me this time. No matter what I did I couldn't break free. I was so scared and she looked at me in a crazy sort of way and said, "So you want to make fun of an old lady, do you? Well,let's see what your mother has to say about this." To my amzement she swung me around like a rag doll and started down the steps. I knew what was in her mind now and begged her to let me go. She laughed and pulled on me some more. I knew my mother would not be up for this and the spanking I would get would stay with me for awhile. She dragged me over to our house and knocked on the door. Mom came to the door and the old lady said: "Look what I found running up and down my steps as if he owned the place."My mother looked at me and said to Mrs Spangler, "What should we do with him.? Perhaps we could call the police." Mrs Spangler caught on and said that would be a good idea and it would serve me right if I was put in jail. I was shaking by that time and promising never to do it again and crying that it was just in fun; we didn't mean anything by it. "We?" they both said. Who is we?" I realized I had put my foot in it and said quickly, "I mean me." Mom gave me a tongue lashing bringing up the Lord's name and cuffing me on the ear while Mrs Spangler encouraged her to give me a good spanking. Finally mom said, "You little !!!!!!!" and yelled at me to get in the house and wait for her there. Which I quickly did. It was several minutes before my mom came in but I could hear her saying good by to Mrs Spangler. "Thanks, Lydia, and be sure to let me know if he tries it again." I heard that cackle of the old lady and her parting words. "That will teach the little bugger!" That's when I decided to hide.