A Quiet Street


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They were a nice, traditional looking family and they lived right across the street from us.

There were three kids, like in our family, but the youngest was my age and the two older kids were 17 and 18.

I used to sit on my bike and watch them come and go, they looked like a family on tv- they were always smiling, always laughing always off to go camping or to see their relatives and sometimes they went to places like Disneyland and during the winter they packed up their skies and went to the mountains.

I had a secret crush on the big brother- he was an exceptional athlete, a Letterman, drove a sports car and worked at the corner market downtown.

And he hated the sight of me.

If I was riding my bike on the street he’d gun his engine and lay on his horn, he called me a little pig when nobody was around and when I was over at their house playing with my friend he’d walk by and glare down at me and ask what time was I leaving.

One summer he chased me and my Aunt out of the store and started screaming at us to stop.

My Aunt looked shocked when she looked up at him. She asked him what he wanted.

” Tell her to open her hands.” he said.

His face was red and the veins were pounding in his forehead.

” Tell her to open her fucking hands and show them to me.”

My Aunt started to yell for the manager, he was screaming for me to open my hands and when I wouldn’t,  he started to reach for me.

I opened my hands, which were empty and I slapped his hands away from me.

I turned and ran all the way home.


My parents went to the store with my Aunt to find out why this great all American Kid had something like a nervous breakdown right in front of me, my Aunt and a store full of people

We never got a reason, from what I was told.

I still wonder about that family, why my friend and her sister were sent away to live with their grandparents that summer.

Why  one night a year later the police came for the boy and why after that their house was sold and why when the parents moved away nobody ever mentioned them again.

I asked my Dad about them, the summer before he died and my Dad said, ” It’s too bad that the day you slapped him away you didn’t have a baseball bat in your hands.”