Palm tree showers and swimming pools 

Life was pretty good for awhile.  My younger sister was my “partner in crime” although I would think it wasn’t by her choice. I was pretty stubborn and definitely persuasive. I had a very creative mind and we had a lot of time to play.  I remember we used to spray the hose up in the palm frawns in our front yard and acted like we were showering; we had soap, sponges, and a rubber duck.  We sang our favorite songs, danced around under the rain drops from the hose, and laid out in our swimming suits like we were Hollywood royalty.  

We had these two girls that lived next door that we used to play with ALL the time-but their mother didn’t like our family.  I guess they thought they were better than us, and when the girls had a birthday party we weren’t invited.  Instead of pouting or crying in our bedrooms, we planned our attack.  We put the sprinkler on our “fake boulder” (Hollywood prop) turned the water on and kinked the hose until we heard them sing to the birthday girl.  I let go of the kinked hose and the water shot over the fence and the party turned to  our palm shower!  We heard the screams from our secret hideout, and their mother yelled over the fence until my mom turned off the hose.  The argument that ensued was funny and scary all at the same time.  We ruined the cake, stained their fence (paper streamers) and all the presents were soaked.  My mother stuck up for us to their mom by saying “if they were invited to the party none of this would’ve happened” but inside she was laughing.   I like fairness; I can handle fairness; we played with them every day.  How was it that we didn’t warrant an invitation?

I didn’t always get along with my mom.  My older sister was the typical stereotype of the birth order and she got along with my mom without fail. (As much as I can remember)  I think she wanted to parent me because my parents really didn’t, but I didn’t like it.  I was a “daddy’s girl” for sure; I thought he hung the moon.  When my mom and I would fight, I would pack up my suitcase and run away.  Of course it was only to the end of the block because I wasn’t allowed to cross the street.  My dad would come home and talk me into going home by telling me stories of what roamed the streets at night, and my one sleeve of saltines and Snoopy radio wouldn’t get me very far.  Once I was on my runaway spot when “Officer Friendly” stopped to find out why this little blonde girl was sitting with her suitcase and bike by herself.  He asked me if I wanted to go for a ride (totally normal for the 70’s) and I jumped at it.  Officer Friendly wanted me to take my suitcase and bike home first, so off I went-as fast as I could.  When I looked back to see if he was following me, I missed the car that was backing out-actually I DIDN’T!  I flew over the car and hit the bushes, and had to have Officer Friendly walk me home and carry my broken bike.  I didn’t cry until my mom wanted to clean me up and suggested I go for a ride another time.  Then the pain from my accident spilled out and the only way to calm me was to let me go.  Even though my father was a cop, I loved riding in the back of the black and white.  

That wasn’t the only time I wrecked my bike.  We had a local pool that opened every year at the start of summer, and weeks before the kids would take turns riding down the block to see when we saw lifeguards.  It was my turn, and I saw activity in the pool.  I turned my bike around and rode as fast as I could back to spread the joy of the start of our swimming pool summer!  I got too excited and when the kids came into view, I cupped both hands around my mouth and yelled “IT’S OPEN!!”  In doing so I crashed into a picket fence and smashed my thumb and tore my nail off.  Sadly I couldn’t swim for a week so my nail could heal up-banging start to my last normal-ish summer in Southern California.

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