Saturday, July 11, 2009

The escapades of Dutchy and Buster

Squat outhouse (i.e.Image via Wikipedia

My mother came from a family of four kids - two boys and two girls. There father worked for the railroad, so they travelled around the northern Midwest while they were growing up. Places like Minneapolis, Superior, WI, and Marquette, MI were their homes. Mother was the third born, with one brother and her sister being older. Her younger brother was very close to her in age (about 11 months I think) and he was the one she was always closest to in her family.

When the two of them would get together as adults, I would hear stories about the time they found a rowboat tied up in the dead river, so they stole it and made it their transportation to go out to a small island in the middle of the river where they could drink beer while underage and fish to their hearts' content. Later when their newly acquired boat was stolen from them, they were irate and felt that it was completely unfair - never thinking about the fact they had done exactly the same thing to someone else.

Another thing they used to love to do was hop freight trains. They would just ride them for a few stops and then get off and catch another one going back in the direction of home. It was just an act of a couple of kids who were looking for fun and adventure and were clueless about their own mortality - as are we all in our youth.

They were growing up in the depression, so they made their fun in ways that didn't require money. Sometimes when they would jump off the freight trains, before they could catch one back home they would find themselves starving. My Uncle was a handsome kid (became a handsome man) so he would approach people's houses to ask if there was anything he could do to earn some food. If he got a chore, mom would help him complete it quickly and then he would share whatever food he received with her as they made their way back to the tracks and headed home.

When they were very young, one time they decided to ski off the top of the roof of the house. They found appropriately long pieces of wood and strapped them onto their feet. Well, they didn't think about where the trajectory of their flight would carry them, so they sailed off the roof only to land atop the outhouse, which was occupied at that moment by their strict German father. Needless to say, Grandpa was not amused, and their skiing days were over.
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