One summer morning Mikee Williams and I decided to climb the tree on the corner of Rollins Road and Wetzler. We lived on Rollins Road. It was not a road at all but rather a street. Back then we called it a side street. It was a short block between two more busy streets that each went out to Sylvania Avenue, which was a super busy street. Anyway Mikee, everyone called him Mikee, and I, decided to climb the tree on the corner in front of the Bettenger house. All the kids back then climbed trees and we had some pretty good trees to climb. This tree was a pretty big one and it had limbs that went out over the street…Wetzler.
I am not sure whose idea it was but lets just say it was Mikees idea and I agreed to it, since I do not want to take full credit or full blame although as you will soon see I took it full. We decided to fill a bucket with water and with a rope hall it up into the tree and sit out on the limb over the street to wait for an innocent target on whom we could poor the water. In those days, in the summer, almost every kid rode a bike and we knew it would not take long before some kid would ride along under our bucket. It was decided Mikee had the tree duty and would drop the water and I would be on the ground and try to lure the rider under the limb, near the curb.
I am not sure who determined which of us would do what but lets just say it was Mikees idea and I went along with it. Well it did not take long before a girl, who was maybe 7 or 8, came riding along. As she neared our corner tree I called to her and said there was money here on the ground. I told her to ride over and tell me if it was hers. This was a pretty obvious statement that would have aroused the suspicion of most kids but not a seven year old little girl. I can still see her riding over all excited… She stopped in the perfect place and….well you know what happened next…Bulls Eye…right on her head, a whole bucket of water falling maybe ten or fifteen feet. What a shock she got and I could not stop laughing it was so funny, Mikee almost fell out of the tree. She started screaming and we were laughing so hard…it was so funny. She rode away toward her house and me and Mikee got our bucket and rope and took off. It was a perfect sneak attack…it could not have been executed any better than we did it. We laughed and then went on with our morning doing I cannot remember what.
Around lunch time my Dad called me into the house. I was out front playing catch with another kid. I came up the walk and as I stepped into the house I knew I was in for it. At first I had no idea why he was mad but then it hit me…the little girl. Well as it turns out she went home and told her mom and described the person who did it to her…yes she described me…you see Mikee was up in the tree and she only saw me. The mom called my mom who told my Dad when he came home. Mom had a way of handing things like this off to Dad. My Dad was a policeman for the Toledo Police Department. Well you know what happened next… he lectured me about how you never hurt a girl or woman…and especially a little girl. He did not ask me exactly what happened although I remember trying to explain knowing it might be the last thing I ever said or did. He marched me up to my bedroom and pulled down my pants and pushed me face down on the bed. I was able to look out the window as I laid in the bed, awaiting his whipping.
As my Dad gave me a good belt whipping I looked out the window and could see across to Mikee Williams house. Mikee and his Dad were on his front steps laughing about something….I was getting an unforgettable whipping. To this day I can see the irony of Mikee and his Dad laughing and having fun, probably it was Mikee telling his Dad what happened. I am pretty sure I explained it all to my Dad later and he did not talk to Mr. William’s , Mikees Dad. He just took care of the discipline for his son… me.
As it goes I learned a lesson…a couple of lessons actually….never pick on girls in any way, never be the front man to a water drop operation, and to this day I cannot look at an old big tree and fail to remember that summer day, the water bucket, the little girl, and the whipping from Dad.