Very few incidents stand out for me over the next few years, other than fun
times, helping to tend the garden, and hawking beets, beans and radishes
door-to-door to help with the family finances.
One day when I was about six or seven and my older brothers were at work,
"curious Pete" did a little rummaging through one brother’s dresser drawers.
Among the wonderful treasure of interesting items collected by teenagers, I
discovered several small tinfoil packages, with the most unusual balloons
sealed inside. In the upstairs bathroom, I proceeded to fill one of these
balloons with water. I was surprised that the whole sink was filled with the
container of water, and even more could fit in there.
I heard my brother scream from his room “Pete, where are you?” (There
probably were a few other choice words mixed in there somewhere.) I
panicked, and locked the bathroom door. My brother tried to talk me out
gently, then with threats. I had no idea of the seriousness of my offense.
Taking a running start down the hall, my brother burst through the paneled
door, breaking it into dozens of pieces. As I cowered behind the toilet,
he tore open the “balloon” to dump the water, and stuffed the ill-gotten
booty into his pocket.
Cookie came bounding up the stairs at all the commotion,
demanding an explanation. (The boys were all pretty smart, and quick on their feet.)
My brother said that he heard me choking in the bathroom and when I didn’t
answer, he had to get to me quickly. He was a hero, and I knew better than
to ever reveal the whole story.............until now.
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