Confessions of a Monkey Tosser

Although I don’t remember any specifics at all in re the tossed monkey caper, and although this should not be construed as an actual confession, I somehow believe it must have been me who tossed the monkey: not only because it sounds like something I’d do, and not only because you and I did such things to each other along our early way, but also because you beaned me with one of your damned alphabet blocks (those things hurt) and nobody grownup did anything about it (that I remember clearly; injustice leaves permanent scars).

The resulting window derring-do made you a family legend, in any case, for which you likely have me to thank. Good thing Aunt Dorothy came along when she did, though, to spot your tiny fingers digging into that second-story windowsill. As I say, I don’t remember a thing about the monkey, though allegorically I do remember the real eggshell Humpty-Dumpty that Dad had made (before he went off to Germany, where at about that time he was taking part in the Battle of the Bulge) that was hanging on our bedroom wall… I remember so much else from that time on Mountain Street during the war years, which memories I shall delve into here from time to time as they epiphanize, for example the cranial oleomargarine escapade…

As to the tree house, some years later we had built one in the tree out back of the Post on Delaware Avenue and were so excited we begged Mom to let us stay home from school one Friday and play in it, which we did with another hookeying kid (Eddie V?), who, when he came out back to join in the aerial fun, told me that a boy had just come to our front door. I ran out there to see if it was somebody else playing hookey and found that it was goody-two-shoes John M from St. James grammar school, who had been sent by the fearsome Mother Superior Terror of God Incarnate, who devilishly suspected shenanigans on our part (both of us sick at the same time??) Actually, it was the only time we’d ever done that. We were good, if dangerous, students.

I arrived breathless at the front door just as Mom at the top of the stairs was assuring unctuous John that you and I were extremely sick in bed. There was no way smarmalot John would ever cover for us. We were doomed. That whole weekend was spent in the black depths and roiling bowels of doom. Nothing much happened on Monday, though; I’d have remembered if it had been anything like the hell I expected.

Just goes to show that even in retrospect, hookey is way more memorable than school.

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