Okay, maybe our tree houses weren’t quite as nice as this but they were close. It seemed like wherever I lived highway 44 was under construction in my back yard. In 6th and 7th grades I lived in the suburbs.
We lived in a small unincorporated area between
The construction sites made building materials available to us. The first tree house we built was in my friend Brad’s yard. It started in a tree but expanded until it finally reached the ground. We painted it green so you couldn’t see it through the trees.
It had electricity, beds, and screened windows you could open by pulling a rope. It was so nice that Brad’s older brother ran away from home for a week and rented it from us. He stayed in there with his girlfriend.
We smoked cigarettes in there. We were curious about alcohol and talked some older person into buying a pint of Jack Daniels and a bottle of Mad Dog.
We laughed all night but wondered when we would get drunk. We were so excited we didn’t realize we already were. Kids are naturally giddy and it didn’t occur to us that alcohol did more of the same.
I had a tree house outside my second floor bedroom window complete with a trap door to its roof. I used to jump across from my window.
Our gang consisted of Greg, Brad, Jeff, and Don Belk. I can use Don’s full name because he died a few years ago. Maybe this story will be his legacy.
Don talked us into stealing a small bike and a lawn mower to build a mini-bike. The lawn mower had to have a horizontal shaft and somehow we found one. From that point we began to steal more bikes. It got out of control.
One day Brad was riding one of them and, without looking where he was going, ran into a light post. He ended up in the hospital. His little sister rode the bike and was stopped by a cop. She spilled the whole story.
I was in a department store in Sunset Hills when I heard my name come across the store’s sound system. I had a belt on I had just shoplifted. I went to the counter to find my mother waiting for me. She was in tears. “How could you do this to me?” she asked.
We ended up going to several townships identifying and recovering bicycles. I was put in a cell for a moment at the Webster police station just to see what it was like. At juvenile court they couldn’t believe we weren’t a ring led by an adult. We had recovered something like 75 bikes. I remember being interrogated good cop – bad cop style at the
I wonder now why I didn’t think about how bad the kids we stole from felt. It had happened to me when I was younger and I was devastated.
Some of my friends’ parents blamed me because I was from the big bad city. I wasn’t allowed to see them anymore.Some of these kids eventually did time for selling drugs and armed robbery.