Home Alone

It’s okay…crime is illegal.

When I was around nine years old, my dad figured I was old enough to stay home by myself when they went out at night. He gave me a couple bucks and told me I was babysitting myself. This was the early 60’s, so it was okay because crime was still illegal on the South Side of Chicago.

Today, Child Services would be waiting on the couch waiting for them to come home.

We had a television and the refrigerator was full. If they were at someone’s house, they’d leave me a phone number. If not, I could always call my sister, but I didn’t want to look like I was scared, did I?

As I remember it, I was never too scared. There was no way on god’s green earth was I ever going down to the basement, and the noises I heard were probably fictitious. A cellphone sure would have come in handy. I tried not to blink very much, because everyone knew that’s when he appeared.

We lived in a quiet neighborhood, but it was lined by huge old oak trees. The combination of huge old oak trees and street lights make shadows inside the house that would make a normal kid call Ghostbusters. But my philosophy was, “Well…we all gotta die sometime,” and for someone like me that was strangely comforting.

I had no problem putting myself to bed. I had my transistor radio under the pillow and then I had the companionship of WLS and Dick Biondi. I always heard my parents come in, mainly because my father was never too quiet about it. It was always good for a smile when he had too much to drink and he got sick. The bathroom was right next to my bedroom, and I could hear every grueling detail of what was going to be a very rough morning for my dad.

Finally, after a couple years, my parents decided I needed companionship and protection.

I like to think of my parents as pretty smart people. My dad, especially, knew all that stuff about the stock market, and economy, and politics, and even baseball statistics. My mom made many of her own clothes. Seriously! She bought the material and patterns and had the sewing machine going and she had a mannequin.

So, you can see how confusing it was for me that when they decided to get me, for companionship and protection…

…they got me a poodle.

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