"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

When parks should be pillows — A true story written by Julia Scott

By on July 23, 2018 in Columnist with 0 Comments

By Julia Scott

Ah, summertime… Being neighbors in addition to best buddies, Colleen and I used to “sleep out” on either lawn nearly every night of the summer in the 1970s.

And if it rained, no problem, we just grabbed our sleeping bags and pillows and moved onto the porch.

Before bed every night, we each gathered our hair into a ponytail on top of our heads, rolling sections up with curlers, which made a big bun. It was an unorthodox method of curling hair, but after all, when you read this story, you’ll conclude we were unorthodox girls.

We had my dog, Scooby, and a bunch of kitties named after all the Charlie Brown characters, who slept in our mobile beds with us. In the morning, if anyone called, “Heeeere, kitty, kitty, kitty!” cats came shooting out like fireworks.

Often our sibs joined us, but at times it was just the two of us, plus pets. We were the diehard sleeper-outers.

On one such occasion, we gazed at the stars and listened to crickets, talked about music, boys, makeup, and other topics of considerable importance for longer than usual.

Normally we’d have nodded off by then. But not that night. We must have been loaded with sugar or something, because we were saucer-eyed wi-i-ide awake.

It was imperative to come up with something to do. Our families were already asleep, so we didn’t want to wake them by going inside. Both of us being musicians, we’d brought our guitars out, so we sang John Denver, Jim Croce. Doobie Brothers, and the Eagles.

Subsequently, to my surprise, Colleen chirped, “I know — let’s go to the park!”

“The PARK?! In the middle of the night? I-i-in our PAJAMAS?” I asked incredulously.

“Come on!” she exclaimed, while all I saw was the back of her, trotting daintily across the lawn.

Well, she’d come up with some pretty splendid ideas before, and I sure didn’t want to miss out on one, so I followed in hot pursuit. (I certainly didn’t want to risk damaging her faith in me as a strong accomplice.)

It was only two blocks to the park. (Nothing is very far when you live in a small town.) Surprisingly, we arrived without a hitch.

I admit there was a certain lift, all right — thrill, in sneaking around. If they’d have found out what we were doing, our parents would have had a fit, and we’d have each been rolled into a ball and SHOT FROM A CANNON. That woulda wiped the silly grins off our faces.

We swung in the swings. We slid down the slides. Spun on the merry-go-round. We sang from the glider swings — things we hadn’t done in five years. (Not long in the entire scheme of things, yet when you’re in your mid-teens, it’s a third of your life.)

Besides, teenagers on playground equipment? How unDIGnified. We certainly wouldn’t want to be seen in the light of day that way.

It was all carried out in the clandestine merriment of doing something that, we knew, if our parents found out, would get us drop-kicked into next week.

Nevertheless, it WAS dangerous — almost anywhere else, we reasoned. But this was Pomeroy, folks, our “Mayberry”. And this was the 1970s, the age of innocence. (???) For heaven’s sake, we didn’t even have a stoplight.

If a letter was mailed within town, we simply wrote “City.” And if any kids were seen off school grounds during class time, boy, heaven help them because the phone in the home of the wayward student would be ringing off the hook. Party lines sprang into action — our mothers transformed into an ominous and sinister mafia in a nano-second.

We trotted on barefoot tiptoes back to our sleeping bags, us wayward girls in our summertime pajamas and bouncing curler buns.

Now we live in a day where some kids do menacing things for kicks we’d never even have dreamed of, but we thought we’d really pulled one over, and we did it a few more times that summer and the next.

We did have our close calls. But if you were ever a teenager — and if you are reading this I have reason to believe you were, you know that barely skidding around disaster equaled excitement and intrigue.

Scooby and the kitties never told.

But you’d like to bebop right on over to our parent’s houses and spill the beans, wouldn’t you? Too late.

We told our moms when we were past the domestic statute of limitations. They were shocked. And justifiably so. But laugh they did. “If we’d have known you girls were traipsing around in the middle of…”

It’s a good thing there are no cannons in Pomeroy.

Julia Scott, a Wenatchee resident, still breaks into spasms of random laughter as she recalls the hilarity of many treasured memories. She is currently writing these memoirs of her life… though she now makes a conscious effort to stay in bed at night.

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