A Summer of Trouble…

Writing Prompt: A time you got in trouble over the summer.

Jennifer

Believe it or not, it was hard for me to come up with a story for this post. I was a pretty good kid. I mean you guys know it was only after I left home that I found myself in some “questionable” situations. I am curious what Christin is going to write about though. As soon as we stumbled on the writing prompt “A time you got in trouble over the Summer” Christin got me off the phone so fast, proclaiming “I KNOW WHAT I AM GOING TO WRITE ABOUT.” So, while she is off typing away, here I sit talking about what a good kid I was.

I suppose if I have to write about something, I could talk about the time I hung out in a trailer park one summer, but trust me, it sounds worse than it really is. I mean my parents may not agree, but, it wasn’t “that” bad.

It was the Summer I turned 14. You are not getting the year out of me so stop trying to figure it out. School was out. Thank the Holy Mother Mary of Jesus for that. All kids love summer break, then you have the kids, such as myself, who had no friends. For me, summer break meant no more “faking it.” I could relax, hang out with my church friends, and call it a day.

In the youth group at church, I actually had friends. Many times on the weekends I would hang out with my church friends, or they would come over to my house. We would go to the mall, or, actually, I think the mall was the big thing back then. If I was not at the trailer park, I was either home or at the mall. At church, there were two sisters who were right around my age. “The Anderson Sisters.” They came to church on their own. The church bus would pick them up, or even our youth pastor. He would pick them up from their house in the trailer park. I never knew much about their mom or dad, other than their dad was very strict. Anytime I called over to their house, and if by chance their dad answered the phone, I would cringe. It just never ended well. On one particular Sunday, I asked “The Anderson Sisters” if they could come over after church and hang out. Well, they could not. However, it was a very rare occasion where I was allowed to go over there. I asked my parents if it was okay, promised them that I would meet them back at church later that evening, and we were good to go.

“The Anderson Sisters” lived next door to a young single mom who had three small daughters. Julie. Julie was the first person I met in the trailer park. She was very nice, and in my eyes beautiful. Even back then I had no idea how she did it with three small daughters, but she did. I hung out at Julie’s house while The Anderson Sisters went home to check in with their parents and change clothes. As soon as they came back, the three of us said goodbye to Julie and walked the trailer park. The Anderson Sisters knew everyone. Every time we passed a friend or acquaintance of theirs on the streets, quick introductions were made. This was a new world for me. The Anderson Sisters were popular in their own school, cheerleaders in fact, and our church was so small and non-judgmental, we all just became friends. I could not believe how many people The Anderson Sisters knew, I could not believe how nice everyone was, how nice they were to me. No one made fun of me (unlike school) and they just made me feel welcome in their little community.

We spent that afternoon going to 7-11, buying junk food, and sitting by the community pool, just talking and eating. I had fun, it was a good visit. We all made it back to church on time. I spoke to the twins Wednesday night church, asking if they wanted to do anything that weekend. As usual for them, they were not allowed to spend the night out but asked me if I wanted to spend the night. Well Duh!!

I asked my parents, got their permission, I had given them the phone number all was good.

Now here is where the story may get a little tricky, however it is still not that bad.

So, come to find out,  I was never really allowed to spend the night AT The Anderson Sisters house, I was able to spend the night AT the trailer park, specifically at Julie’s house, who lived right next door. I mean it is kinda the same thing, right? Of course, it is!

Quickly, a new routine developed. I would spend my time at The Anderson Sisters house, which really means Julie’s house, but it was all one in the same. I mean the only time I was not with The Anderson Sisters was when it was time for bed. We would spend our evenings “walking the Park” in the humid Virginia night air. This was back in the days when Motley Crue was at the height of their career. Throughout the whole Park, you could hear Motley Crue playing from the bedrooms of the teenager it occupied, you could hear it from the boom box on the front porch while watching the older guys work on cars, on occasion you could even hear it from Julie’s house as she was preparing dinner for her small daughters. It just so happened that The Crue would be coming to Virginia Beach for a concert, so that was just the in thing, it was always about Motley Crue and who is going to the concert. Funny thing, The Anderson Sisters did not even like Motley Crue.

I don’t know, it was just a nice time for me. I felt appreciated, I felt I had my own friends. I thought everything was working out nicely until one morning on the ride to church I somehow let it slip that it was Julie’s house who I stayed the night at, and not The Anderson Sisters. Holy Hell I can still hear the yelling.

“WHAT?!”
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN?”
“I CALLED OVER TO THEIR HOUSE AND TALKED TO YOU!”
“WHO IS JULIE?”

Okay. This was not going as planned. What was I missing here? I mean yes, I was with The Anderson Sisters, and yes, that is where I could be reached. I just did not physically sleep there because you know, strict parents and all. I was not doing anything wrong. I think the worse thing I did was let a guy dance with me when Motley Crue’s “Shout at the Devil” came on the radio as we were all eating stale Doritos from a shared bag.

I mean if you REALLY think about it, this was a good thing! I finally felt like I fit in somewhere. It was my “coming of age” summer so to speak. The bright lights of the trailer park, hot humid nights, mosquitos, Motley Crue blaring from the houses, 7-11 junk food,  good times well spent.

Unfortunately I never made it back to the Park. “The Parents” never quite saw it my way.

The Anderson Sisters went on to become high-powered attorneys in the Virginia Beach area. I remain in touch with them to this day.

Alright Dad, if  you are reading this, I think a good ol follow-up needs to happen from your point of view.

And….Gracie and Sofia, if one day you come across this blog while you are locked up in your room listening to your own “Motley Crue” all I have to say is do not even think about trying it!

 

 

Christin

It was the summer of 1996. I was looking forward to this summer for a million reasons:

  1. I would turn 16 this summer.
  2. I would be able to get a job.
  3. I could get my driver’s license.
  4. I could finally gain some independence.

 The summer started like every other one. Long, hot days and hours upon hours of swimming and tanning at the pool in our apartment complex. About a week in, I notice a blond-haired girl about my age sitting across the pool from me. She was pretty, but in an All-American girl kind of way.

 After a particular hot day, I packed up my stuff and my brother, and headed back to the apartment. The blond-haired girl looked to be doing the same. As we walked in similar directions, she smiled at me.

 “Hi, I’m Kari and this is Sam, she said, pointing to her sister. We live in that apartment up there.”

 “I’m Christin, and that’s my brother Josh. We are in this apartment right here.”

 “We just moved in couple of weeks ago. Do you like Alanis Morrissette? I just got her new CD. Do you want to come up and listen to it?”

 “Sure. Let me ask my mom.”

 An hour later we were up in her room listening to the CD for the 2nd time.

 An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay
It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late
Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think

It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
Who would’ve thought, it figures

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids good-bye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
“Well, isn’t this nice.”
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think

 From that day on, Kari and I were connected at the hip. We had a lot on common, both raised by single mom’s, had 1 younger sibling, and we both were contemplating adulthood, just in different ways.

Everyday we would meet at the pool the moment it opened. We would take turns singing the top hit of the summer.

California love!

California, knows how to party
California, knows how to party
In the city of L.A.
In the city of good ol’ Watts
In the city, the city of Compton
We keep it rocking!
We keep it rocking!

Late one summer night, before the pool closed, Kari and I were dangling our feet in the water, talking about her ex-boyfriend, Ray. Unfortunately, Ray had just broke up with Kari and started dating her friend. This was one conversation I couldn’t contribute to because at 16, I had yet had a boyfriend, unless you count that one time in freshman year that I held a boy’s hand for .5 seconds but then turned the color of tomato and ran off. This was all her. As I sat listening to her recount her recent heart-break, I noticed a boy, about our age, performing cannon balls off the side of the pool.

“I think he is trying to get our attention,” I said, nudging Kari with my elbow.

Watching from the sidelines, we watch as this blond-haired, blue-eyed boy performs circus-like tricks in the pool.

“He’s kind of cute,” Kari said, watching as he did the 5th backflip.

“He’s okay,” I said, grabbing my towel.

“Gotta go. Pools almost closed.”

We rounded up our stuff and walked towards the gate.

“Hey, do you guys want to go play a game of pool?”

Kari and I flipped around, and in unison “Sure!”

Turns out the boy band look-alike had a name, Travis.

Like us, he was the kid of single mom and had a younger sibling too.

From that day forward, the three of us could be found at the pool or playing pool in the clubhouse.

Travis was a good kid, although a little bit of a trouble maker, but not anything serious. I think him, and Kari hit it off first because they both had a little more “life” experience, me not so much. I was sheltered in more ways than one. They both had smoked pot, I had not. They both had sex, I had not.

 By the end of June, the three of us had a tan that most would pay for. The only thing I needed was blonder hair, like Kari’s. With my new best friend’s suggestions, hydrogen peroxide would indeed turn my hair a beautiful shade of blond.

Finally, I would look like Pamela Anderson in Bay Watch! Sans the implants and size 2 physique of course, but at least my hair would be blond.

Day 5 of the “Peroxide” went well. I doused my hair in the stinky substance before heading out to meet Travis and Kari.

As I grabbed the sun tanning lotion and towel off the table, I caught sight of 2 girls sitting with Kari and Travis.

As I opened the gate, Kari waved me over, “Hey I saved a chair for you!”

I spread my towel and took my place next to Kari.

“Christin, this is Shannon and her little sister, Cassie.”

“Hi, I said, envious of the modelesque body that Shannon was blessed with.

Tall, thin and pretty, everything I was not.

Shannon was older, about 18. Cassie was younger than us, maybe about 13.

Once again, we all had a lot in common, raised by single mom’s and all.

 A few weeks later, we were all in our normal spots poolside.

Our duo had grown to a dysfunctional quartet.

 “Travis, you’re an idiot!” Shannon screamed while trying to escape his grasp. She failed miserable as both fell into the pool.

Kari and I sat in our respective loungers, still working on that summer tan, while Cassie put her Walkman headphones on.

The dog days of summer went by, easy and non-eventful. Unless you count that one time, the 5 of us tried to sneak into the pool after hours. The Apartment manager caught us and sent us home. No harm, no foul.

The summer was ending. We would all go back to school in a couple of weeks. No more endless days at the pool, no more tan, and I would have to figure out what to do with my Rainbow Bright orange hair that had never made the transformation to blonde. Somewhere in the midst of my teenage mind, I forgot to factor in the CHLORINE with the peroxide. My hair was now glowing orange and fried to a crisp. But my tan looked amazing, so at least I had that.

“My mom is out-of-town for the weekend, let’s plan something at my house Friday night,” Travis said, lining up his cue stick.

“I’m down,” Kari said, without a thought. I was always a little jealous of her because her mom let her do whatever she wanted, mine was not so relaxed with letting me go anywhere without knowing:

Who is going to be there?

Is a parent going to be present? (In which case she would call said parent)

What are you going to do there?

How many people are going to be there?

What are the names of the people?

What is the address, phone number, social security number…?

Well you get it. She was a little overprotective or a lot.

“You know I will be there,” Shannon said, taking the shot at the 8 ball.

“I want to go,” Cassie said, knowing damn well her mom was not going to let her come to a party with a bunch of older kids.

“Yeah right!” Shannon said, “What about you, Christin?”

They all knew my mom was not going to give me permission.

“I will be there,” I said.

 Friday night was finally upon us.

I crawled into bed a little early that night.

Waiting patiently, I could feel my heart racing as I waited for the right time.

“Goodnight Christin,” my mom said, through my closed bedroom door.

“Goodnight.”

Every minute seemed to last forever, as I waited to hear her snoring through the paper-thin walls.

After what seemed like an eternity, I slowly threw back the covers, and slipped on my sandals.

My hands shook as I quietly slid my bedroom window, careful not to make any noise.

Once the window was wide open, I jumped up and out in one swift motion, hopped to my feet and ran to Travis’ apartment.

Out of breath, I knocked on the door.

“Heyyyyy, look who FINALLY made it?” Travis said, ushering me inside.

“Want a wine cooler?”

“No, I’m good.” I said. That’s all I would need. If I got busted for sneaking out that would be one thing, but drinking and sneaking out, I would be grounded for life. Besides, I had never drink before and didn’t really have a desire to change that.

 Bone bone bone bone, bone, bone, bone, bone, bone
Now tell me whatcha gonna do
When there ain’t no where to run (tell me what)
(When judgment comes for you, when judgment comes for you)
And whatcha gonna do
When there aint no where to hide (tell me what)
When judgment comes for you (’cause it’s gonna come for you)

Let’s all bring it in for wally, eazy sees uncle charlie
Little boo, god’s got him and I’m gonna miss everybody
I only roll with bone my gang look to where they lay
When playing with destiny, plays too deep for me to say
Lil’ layzie came to me, told me if he should decease well then please
Bury me by my grand-grand and when you can, come follow me

God bless you working on a plan to heaven
Follow the lord all twenty-four-seven days, God is who we praise
Even though the devil’s all up in my face
But he keeping me safe and in my place, say grace
For the case to race with a chance to face the judge
And I’m guessing my soul won’t budge
Grudge because there’s no mercy for thugs
Oh what can I do it’s all about our family and how we roll
Can I get a witness let it unfold
We living our lives to eternal our soul aye-oh-aye-oh

My first real party was off to a great start. Good music, good food, and freedom at last.

“What do you guys want to listen to now?” Shannon asked, as she pulled out her CD binder.

“Do you have any Keith Sweat?” Kari asked, taking a sip of her strawberry wine cooler.

“Yes!” she said, taking a drag of her cigarette.

I grabbed a handful of Doritos and was stuffing them in my mouth just as I heard something from the front of the apartment..

The four of us stopped in our tracks.

“Who the hell is that?” Kari asked, putting her winecooler in the microwave.

“I don’t know,” Travis said, scanning the room quickly to make sure everything was out of sight.

He made his way to the peep-hole.

“Oh shit! Christin it’s your mom!”

“Oh shit!” I said, choking on my mouthful of chips.

I looked from Shannon to Kari to Travis, hoping for someone to say something.

Everyone just stood there, frozen.

Travis was the first to move, towards the door.

Slowly, he turned the knob, revealing my mother on the other side.

“You are in BIG TROUBLE, YOU NEED TO GET HOME NOW!”

Without another word, I took the walk of shame out of the apartment and straight to my room. I knew, I was going to be grounded for life for this one.

The good news is I wasn’t grounded for life, but for pretty much the rest of that summer.

My first party lasted exactly 20 minutes.

I didn’t regret it for a single second. It was the best ending to one of the best summers of my teenage life.

I would like to tell you we all stayed in touch after that summer.

Kari got pregnant and moved away. Travis dropped out of high school and a few years later reconnected with Shannon. They had a son together and Travis skipped town, so I heard. I graduated a few years later and moved to California, as most of you know.

I had a lot of fun that summer. It would be the last of many things but my personal favorite, is my first (and last) escape attempt. But you know what they say, you live and you learn.

 

 

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