The other day, Mom, Dad and I were talking about our childhood neighbor, Francis. She's the one who stole our sign.
You've seriously never met a crabbier old lady. We were TERRIFIED of her. If we accidentally kicked a ball into her yard, it was a very bad thing. A lot of the time, we just left them there. We had to seriously contemplate whether it was worth it to risk our lives for a ball by entering her yard.
Once Mom brought her some homemade jelly. Francis scowled at her and said "I don't eat that stuff!" as she refused to take it.
Mom said that she was all mad at Mom and Dad because they wouldn't let her put up barbed wire to keep us out of her yard. Seriously... barbed wire... as if we wanted to go in her yard. I'd have rather spent the night alone in a graveyard, than to purposely set foot in her yard.
Mom said we accidentally broke her basement window with a stray ball. I vaguely remember something about that. Maybe it was John and Brad that did it. That must have been the most frightening day of our lives. Maybe that's why I don't remember it. Apparently she refused to let Mom and Dad fix it. She boarded it up and called it good enough. Mom said she felt a guilty pang every time she saw that window.
Once Dad was playing tag with us in the yard. It was about 7pm. We ran by her window and saw her glaring, shaking her fist, and yelling at us for daring to make such a racket so late at night. She was positively terrifying!
Speaking of crabby old ladies, there were several in our neighborhood. None of the others were nearly as scary as Francis, but you didn't want to go into their yards either.
I was the younger, tag along little sister, so John and Brad had all kinds of schemes for getting rid of me. The most effective was hair dissolver. You see, Brad had a "lab" in his garage. The boys NEVER allowed me to go into that mysterious place. I couldn't tell you what they actually had in there, but I was always curious as heck. Those two would go into "the lab" and lock me out. I'd hang around the outside trying to find some crack or a keyhole to spy into, listening with my ear against the wall, or just bang on the door and beg them to let me in. To me, Brad was something of a mad scientist type. I didn't put it past it him to have developed a hair dissolver potion in his "lab." So anytime they wanted to get rid of me, they just threatened me with "hair dissolver" and I'd usually run away. I wasn't sure if I believed them, but I never wanted to risk baldness.
Anyway one day John, Brad and his older brother Dennis (who I loathed) were hanging around in the alley near "the lab." Apparently little sisters were not welcomed that day. Dennis threw me over the fence into one of the crabby old ladies' yard. I had to run to the complete opposite side of her yard to get to the gate. Crabby Old Lady caught me and yelled at me for being in her yard. I tried to explain that Dennis had thrown me over the fence, but she didn't seem to even hear me. I had to run halfway around the block to get back to the alley where the boys were. As soon as I got back, Dennis threw me over the fence again! Out comes the crabby lady and yells at me again! Back I run around the block, back to the alley. Again I get thrown over the fence. Again I get yelled at, only worse because I was a repeat offender. Over and over it went. I just kept coming back for more. Dennis was so mean! At least it wasn't Francis' yard! I probably wouldn't have survived to tell the tale.