As I have mentioned in earlier posts when I was a child we lived next to a very lively house with something always going on. When I was young my bed was against a wall that had windows and looked out on our driveway. Across the driveway was this house. It was a small one car-wide driveway and the other house was just a few feet on the other side.
In the spring and early summer, especially back in the early 70’s, you could sleep with your windows open as long as you had screens to keep the mosquitoes out. One night, close to midnight, I was awaken by someone saying “son…son, wake up”. I remember even now that I thought it was a dream but after a few more “son, hey, wake up” I realized it wasn’t a dream. As soon as I opened my eyes I could see someone standing outside the window, but very close to the screen so all I saw was the outline of his face. We had a streetlight outside on the front of the house but it didn’t illuminate much on that side of the house.
Even before the shock of seeing someone at the window set in the man said “son, I’m a policeman and I need you to do something for me”. At this point I’m wishing it was a dream, was I ever confused.
He continued “I need you to go to your parents room and stay there until you hear us knock on your door…go now and please be quiet”.
Well I didn’t know what else to do and leaving him at the window sure sounded like a good idea. I slipped out of bed and went to my Mom’s room. Just before I started to wake her up I heard a couple of the loudest bangs I’d ever heard and lots of yelling. Of course that woke my Mom up and when she saw me I’m sure she was wondering what the heck was going on.
The yelling felt like it went on for quite a while, although it was probably just 15-20 seconds. Then squealing tires and more voices. As it turns out the police were raiding the house next door because of drugs. I was so small that it really didn’t make any sense why they were making all that racket for aspirin and cough syrup.
A couple of minutes later there was the knock on our door, it was the officer who asked me to leave the room. At first my Mom didn’t want me to go to the door but the officer asked several times to see me. It turned out he wanted to make sure that I wasn’t scared and thank me for listening to him. I’ve always respected police officers and I think this is one reason why, his insistence that I was OK and not scared was something he really didn’t have to do.
In the end we got new neighbors and I watched them closer than the others.
Next installment: The Falling Drums.