My feet did not touch the floor and I swung them secretly hidden beneath the linen table cloth. I was careful not to let my patent leather shoes hit each other as they swung so I would not be found out. I was so scared and nervous and sat quietly at the table looking at the other boys and girls of five years old to catch a glimpse of a hint of how I should behave. The door in the corner of the dining room would swing open and then rock two or three times more until it closed, but when it did open I could see ladies in the brightly lit kitchen working at the counter. "Grandma Porte"r as I would call her my whole life was not my grandmother but the grandmother of my friend Lynne and her stern face made me think I should be quiet. It was Lynne's sixth birthday and she was having a dinner party to celebrate it and her friends from the neighborhood were all invited.
I remember tasting the most awesome "boxed" mashed potatoes ever....after all we had only had fresh at my house. The green peas were different too because I had never tasted frozen peas and of course the fried chicken was made with something new call Shake-n-Bake! After dinner we all went into the living room so Lynne could open her presents, but not too long after we had settled into our chairs there was a commotion outside and firetrucks were congregating on the street and we could see flames shooting into the dark sky. It was the most exciting thing I had ever seen!
I believe that memory was etched deeply into my memory because of the rare occurence of both food and fire!
Many years later I began dating the most wonderful 17 yr year old I could imagine. As our time together ebbed and flowed I learned about the places he had lived and the stories surrounding those places. Then he told me of the night his house burned down. It stood where the new Stoughton Library now stands.....then I rememebered how I watched it all happen that night when I was five!
That story comes to mind because while my husband and I were enjoying an ice cream at the local ice cream stand I told him about the fire that night and how the circumstances of late had reminded me of it. We got home and we danced in the garage to silence before we walked our trash barrels out to the curb.....our dance was interupted with a dog barking next door and adults yelling, both of which were unusual for this quiet area. The outbursts had subsided as quickly as it began and we thought nothing of it as we rolled our barrels out until a bricade of firetrucks, and police cruisers and an abulance came with sirens blaring up into our tiny neighborhood!
Thank goodness it was not a repeat of our discussion earlier in the evening for I saw no flames shooting into the dark sky!
...NOW the rest of the story if you care to know
....... the young couple who lives next door had gone out for the evening leaving the grandmother of their two year old to babysit. She is visitng there from her home in Belgium for the month and because she is British she has the sweetest English accent. Well she took Archie the Boston Terrier out to "wee" I love that saying! LOL! As she let the door loose it swung shut and locked behind her leaving the two year old inside and supper on the "cooktop" another cute English saying that means stove......well the pan burst into flames and grandma began to shriek, the neighbors closest to the house came running over to see what happened and began to bang in the door. Archie got startled at all of this commotion and took a nip out of the heroine's leg! YIKES!
All was well but 911 had already been called and a private parade was witnessed by all the other neighbors and a good laugh was had by all except for the poor grandma.... as for the door it got a new lock!
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