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The Buckley Boys
A little reminiscing this evening.
Back in the olden days, when I was young and dinosaurs
roamed the earth....Okay,the dinosaurs were long gone but
you get the idea.
Back when I was about eight years old we lived in Gardena,
California. I don't know what that city is like now but
back in the 1950's it was very much like a garden and a
great place for kids.
The Buckley boys lived next door to us. There were four of
them. Wesley was the oldest. I liked him best. He was
about 11. He, alas, totally ignored me as the passion of
his life was baseball and only baseball. The next brother
was Tom. Tom was about 9 and he liked me but he was
painfully shy. I don't think he ever spoke more than two
complete sentences to me in a row. The third brother was
Ralph and he was the one I remember the best as he was my
age. There was a baby too, about 2 or 3, but I don't
remember his name.
Now Ralph was a smooth one. I suspect he's either a
millionaire or in jail now. Maybe both. He knew when all
the neighbor kids got their weekly allowances and his
goal was to see if he could earn any of it. His best
technique was having his little brother eat bugs for
specific amounts of money. *You wanna see my baby brother
eat an ant? Five cents!* *You wanna see my baby brother eat
a caterpillar? A dime!* He'd just hand his little brother
the bug and tell him to eat it and he would! The highest
amount he charged was a quarter. That was to see his
brother eat a spider! Yuck! It's a wonder that baby
Ralph was also the boy who gave me my very first kiss. The
Buckleys had a swimming pool in their backyard. It wasn't a
built-in one but it was big. The water came up to my waist
when I stood up. My brothers and I were allowed to go over
and play there and we often did. One day it was just me and
Ralph. Ralph shyly asked me if I'd ever been kissed
underwater. Pretty sophisticated for an 8-year old. I
didn't have to admit I'd never been kissed at all! I said
no and he asked if he could kiss me underwater and I
said okay. It was just a quick kiss on my check, almost my
eye, but it was my first underwater kiss after all!
I don't remember the parents very well. The Dad was a
trucker and he was gone a lot. When he was home we didn't
see much of the Buckley boys because they, naturally, wanted
to be with their Dad. The mother always wore an apron over
her dress and always looked harried. As the mother now of
four sons I understand that completely.
One last memory. The Buckleys had a dog. An old hound dog
that was always tied to his doghouse on a very long, frayed
rope. He slept all the time. But sometimes in the summer,
we'd get bored and let the dog loose and start chasing him
around their yard and our yard and the neighbor's yard and
then the street. Imagine an old hound dog galloping along,
followed by a group of yelling, screaming kids, followed by
Mrs. Buckley who, alerted to the commotion by our yells,
would come running out of her house, the screen door
slamming, her floured apron flapping, her arms in the air,
chasing after us all, yelling at us to stop running for a
minute because she knew as soon as we did the dog would stop
too. When we finally did stop and the dog stopped and Mrs.
Buckley, huffing and wheezing, would quietly wonder out loud
*I wonder how this dog got loose?*, her hands on her hips
and knowing full well just how he had, and the dog was tied
up again, sleeping and snoring softly, we'd go back to
sitting around wondering what mischief we could get into.
next. Those were fun days!