Years ago, in Santa Monica where I grew up , there lived a very strange woman in a house close by. She’d peer through the curtains at me as I walked by her house. It was scary since I thought she resembled a witch. She’d screw up her face, all her wrinkles forming what looked like a shriveled up pumpkin. I was sure the old women was crazy, and probably wanted me as an ingredient to her nightly stew. I had an extremely active imagination, then.
It’s funny the things you remember. My dad bought me my first bike on my 12th birthday. No sooner was I joyfully riding down the sidewalk when the neighborhood moron-bully, Steve, rammed into me, trying to knock me off my shiny blue bike. He was a mean one.
My brother had a weird bike. The Thing was red, gearless and made from iron. It looked like it came from Igor’s Iron Works. The bike was a Messenger. He had a crush on a pretty high school girl. He used his hard-earned savings to buy her a necklace, and biked several miles to her house to deliver it.
Michael gave her the necklace. She looked at it and put it down. No thanks, nothing at all. He was crushed. Mike had gone to great lengths and his gallant gesture was refused. Michael always thought she might have seen the ugly iron bike as he was riding up to her house.
Once a week, after school, while waiting for my dad to pick me up, I was in charge of dusting off the Blessed Mother statues in the school convent. One statue was pretty grimy, so I dampened a cloth and wiped away on Mary’s face and garment-- literally wiped away! Suddenly, I had an epiphany.
By the time Sister came by to inspect my handiwork, Sister’s mouth fell open. I’d hastily tried to paint lips, eyes and brows on Mary’s face. The statue looked like it belonged in a Lido de Paris Lounge…