There is always mischief afoot in a house with more than two children, but a house with 4 or 5 boys can be overwhelming. Here are some of the pranks that the boys remember from their childhood.
l to r: Dan, Dave, Lad Dick, Ced, Biss
DAVE – My mother and father used to enjoy having parties and Rusty Heurlin was always welcome at their parties because he was a lot of fun. Invariably, now, this was when I was very small, he would take me into the other room and show me a nickel. Now, a nickel in those days was probably like two dollars today. He’d say “Now, if you go into the other room and say what I tell you to say, I’ll give you this nickel.” Then he’d tell me what to say and I’d walk into the room and stand in the middle of the crowd, and I’d say “Daddy’s car is a piece of junk!” And I’d get my nickel – and Daddy’s car was a piece of junk.
CED – A bunch of us would walk over to Pinewood Lake, you know it was a forest of pine trees. We’d play in the tops of those trees. We go from one tree to the next.
DICK – One time, Lad, myself, Dan, Gib (Arnold Gibson) and Nellie Sperling went to Pinewood Country Club. They had planted lots of pine trees to hold the soil. We climbed a tree and moved from tree to tree. Every once in a while you’d hear a crack, a thump and “Ugh”, as someone fell out of his tree.
Another time, a couple of my delinquent friends and I did some malicious mischief. We broke some windows. Charlie Hall ran across the stage at the school with a stick and broke all the stage lights….pop ….pop ….pop…. pop.
GRANDPA WRITES TO LAD – Ced and Dick are feuding again. Last night, for dessert, grandma made Jell-O with nice white whipped cream on top. Dick, for some unknown reason, suddenly had the impulse to smell his, which Ced instantly took advantage of so that Dick reappeared with cream smeared all over his nose, barely escaping his ears and eyebrows. What ever it was that Ced was getting even with Dick for in this manner, apparently was far too mild to be satisfactory. So while Dick was attending the movies yesterday afternoon, Ced rigged up quite a contraption with pulleys and ropes, so that, without getting out of his bed, Ced could pull a rope which in turn would travel along the wall and down underneath Dick’s bed to the bottom legs which would be pulled toward the head of the bed and cause the bed to collapse with the mighty thud, simultaneously pitching the sleeper forward at a slant. Now Ced woke up at the right time, and just about daylight this morning (about 4 AM) I was awakened with a crash, evidence that “the Ced bomb” had exploded as per schedule. Dick disappointingly showed no excitement and apparently slept on until the regular time to get out of bed.
IN ANOTHER LETTER TO LAD FROM GRANDPA – Rusty is still favoring us with his presence. He was saying today he has now been here about two weeks. There is quite a contest going on now between Dan, Dick, Dave and Rusty as to who can do the most in the way of pranks on the other fellow. Yesterday afternoon Rusty’s room was full of old rotten stumps, tree trunks and posters. Dan’s room, where he has on display all the skins and trophies he brought back from Venezuela, was decorated with all kinds of streamer’s. At the entrance was a placard, hand-lettered by Dave, which read: (This was destroyed so I can’t tell you)
The placard Dave put up in Rusty’s room, as edited by Dan reads as follows:
Rusty is a jolly wit, with pranks of ill repute,
and though he thinks he’s really it, WE think he’s full of ____. (a lot of good ideas)
IN ANOTHER LETTER TO LAD, GRANDPA RELATES THIS STORY – Last night just after I heard Dick trudging up the stairs to bed in your old room in the attic, Lad, I heard the most awful bump and crash. This morning I learned his bed had been fixed so that it collapsed. Who the author is remains a mystery. Rusty and Zeke seem to be getting on very well together, owing to their interest in guns and hunting. Last night Rusty and Zeke went out somewhere together to get “a beer”. The same old story. They met a bunch of kindred spirits and had several beers and then some, so that when they reached home last night they were both feeling pretty high. Rusty’s explanation was that he spent the evening in the Bridgeport public library. His head today, however, feels about the normal size, he say;. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is pretty well burned up. Such is life.
Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more Early Memories of Trumbull, taken from the recorded childhood memories of Lad and four of his siblings.
On Monday, I’ll continue to post letters written in 1941 when Dan and Ced have been in Alaska for about a year, Dick has delivered a car to them and is looking for work and Lad is getting ready to come home from Venezuela where he has been working for two and a half years.