In the summer of 1968 the cousins of my friend Greg came to visit. They were 2 boys about our same age. Greg called them “The Tornadoes”. We asked him why and he said. “Everything that they touch breaks. I have to hide my best toys when they visit!”
We asked and got permission from our respective parents for a camp out in Greg’s back yard. After getting an affirmative we started making plans for the nights activities and shenanigans.
If our parents thought we were little angels and just sat around the campfire singing and then calmly get in our sleeping bags and go to sleep, they were sadly mistaken! We would roam the neighborhood looking for mischief!
Our late night antics included many things. One night we took some ducks from a neighbor’s pen and stuffed them into his car. You can only imagine the mess they made!
Or perhaps steal a watermelon from Mulvaney’s farm.
Or just run around the neighborhood like heathens from hell, ringing doorbells and then running and hide.
Or perhaps calling a taxi to come to a address that we had stalked out and wait in hiding to see what happened and watch the argument between the taxi driver and the innocent people involved.
This nights mischief included making peace signs on the asphalt roads near the school. We used gasoline poured out in a giant peace sign on the road, light it and run from the giant fireball and hide.
We would roam the neighborhood smoking cigarettes and laughing, except for Carlos. He hated smoking and you had to hide your cigarette pack from him. If he got hold of them he would break them one by one between his fingers.
We were not bad kids. Just very mischievous and energetic. This night I speak of with the “Tornadoes” in tow, we took it just a bit too far!
After lightning the peace sign on Boyer drive the five of us continued up Boyer drive towards the Jr. High school. On the way one of the “Tornadoes” got into a VW bug parked in someone’s driveway. He discovered that the vehicle was easy to push and in a moment we were all pushing the car down the road towards Wattles Road. This is where we went to far. The moment that car left the driveway the charge becomes grand larceny.
It so happens that the owner of the VW worked nights and was just about to leave for work and observed the whole thing. At once he emerged from his house and chased us all down Boyer. He caught one of the “Tornadoes”. We ran to the end of Boyer and crossed Wattles road and hid in back of a house. We knew that we all in serious trouble. We watched as a police car turned right and headed up Boyer to the scene of the crime. We decided to give ourselves up. Greg blamed his cousin for being too slow and getting caught. However we could not abandon Greg’s cousin. We all had to go back and face the music.
So we headed up Boyer to the mans house, and joined Greg’s cousin. The policeman asked for our telephone numbers and he called our parents.
Soon our parents joined us. There was a long talk between our parents, the owner of the VW and the policeman. Betty Habenicht, Greg’s mom gave us a good chewing out. If we tried to talk she simply said very sternly “Shut up” and continue on with her yelling.
The owner of the VW decided not to press charges. We were turned over to our parents for punishment.
Needless to say we were all grounded for the rest of the summer. I don’t know about the others. I was not allowed to leave my yard. The summer was ruined. However it was our own fault. Our parents had taught us better to respect others property. This was the first and the last time I had got into serious trouble with the law. The whole experience frightened me and gave me a renewed respect for the property of others. Other than traffic tickets I never again ran into trouble with the law.