Take a look at the two photos below and you’ll notice some yellow, blue and pink blobs on both photos. They correspond (at least the blue and yellow ones) to the same places on the house in both photos. I lived in that house back when I was in Jr. High and High school. If I wanted to say out past my normal bedtime I would sneak out window just behind the blue blob, which opened like a door, on to the roof over the living room’s bay window and from there to the roof over the house’s porch (the yellow blob). This wasn’t as tricky as it looks in the photo: trust me, I was a big chicken back then. From there, I would use an eyelet that a guy wire for the TV antenna attached to, and pull myself up onto the roof and head for the pink blob. You can’t see through the tree, but I could drop down on the the trash can my dad kept back there and on to the ground. Returning was just the opposite, but the trip back was a little tricky, going from the roof to the porch and then on to the bay window roof required a little more agility than getting out.
One summer night right after my freshman year in high school, my neighbor Bill Duke and I wanted to stay out a little later than normal and play our favorite game of going downtown (we both lived on Grove Street, so it was not a long way. We liked to hide just out of sight by Woodchippers at closing to watch the fist fights, plus it was fun to watch out for and hide from the police, since it was after curfew. (Once, Bill got caught when we were playing this game as he ran through a hedge smack dab into the back of Tonoles Auto Supply when it was on W. Ash street just west of the alley than ran behind the Kuhn Theater) There was also just something about the pleasure you get from doing something you weren’t supposed to do, although it wasn’t really that bad.
That night was rather uneventful, no fights, just a couple of very drunk and loud women in he Elks Parking lot that Bill tried (unsuccessfully) to convince he was 18 (he was walking his “little brother” home). So, I made the journey over the top of the house but right before I got to the guy wire, I stumbled, got tangled in the wire and fell forward onto my face, and then slid like a cartoon cat off onto the porch roof, and from there into the flower bed. I landed right on top of one of my mom’s rhododendrons, which I mostly crushed, and stopped about two feet off the ground. It must have sounded like a bomb going off inside the house. I sat there, frozen, waiting for the lights to come on, but that never happened. The only damage, other than to the plant, were scuffs from the shingles on my nose and forehead. It took me a while to get up the energy to go over the roof again, and in the process, I jumped up a little harder than normal off the trash can and turned it from convex to concave. I made a mental note to pop that back in the morning. I made it over the roof and back into my room without further incident.
That morning, at breakfast, there was some discussion about the marks on my face, which I can’t quite remember exactly how I accounted for. But it seems that they hadn’t heard a thing that night. Cool. Later that week, my mom asked me if I knew what had happened to the rhododendron, and I gave her the “how should I know” look.
That Friday, after my parents has went to sleep, I crawled out the window, went over the roof and discovered the trash can was missing. But I noticed a ladder leaning against the garage, so I went over there and climbed down. I heard: “I figured that’s how you did it when I discovered the caved in trash can lid.“, coming from the back porch in the dark and I almost jumped out of my skin. He just said “Back to bed.” and that was the end of it. Not another word. But I never tried that again.