Thursday, February 24, 2011

one of many reasons I will have difficulty getting past St. Peter

Forgive me, y'all, for I have sinned.

I got into all kinds of mischief when I was a kid, but none quite so infamous as what we got into at the church that was adjacent to my neighborhood.

(If you're going to get all church-lady on me and faint over the idea of, say, kids stealing donuts from a Bible study meeting, you should probably stop reading now.)

Growing up in the sprawling suburborural reaches of outer Nashville meant that my little subdivision was surrounded by country roads and cow pastures and other subdivisions and not much else. I liked to read Baby-Sitter's Club books, and I was always baffled when Kristy and the gang would walk "around the corner" to grab a candy bar or walk to the library. Around what corner? All that's around the corner from my house is more houses that look like my house. And a church.

My best friend Bradley and I used to ride our bikes in the church parking lot pretty much every day. On weekends, kid's soccer teams used to play matches in the churchyard. Sometimes they'd leave the refreshment truck parked at the church through the week. Brad and I were fixated on breaking into that truck, perpetually mocked by the enticing Pepsi logo on the side.

Once, we got caught trying to break into it. I tearfully pleaded for forgiveness. Brad rode his bike into a ditch and pretended he was dead. I'm think Brad eventually got into that truck, but I ran away before I could partake in the endless fountain of Mountain Dew.

A whole new world of mischief opened up to us when the congregation broke ground on a beautiful new chapel.

I can't go into a lot of what happened. I do not recall anyone ever rollerblading in the sanctuary while it was under construction. If anyone ever walked in front of the floor-to-ceiling glass windows of the sanctuary during Sunday Mass while wearing an elaborate Godzilla mask, I don't know anything about it. And I swear up and down that, to this day, no one can explain how the Virgin Mary statue's missing thumb ended up in Bradley's mom's junk drawer. Our mothers are still horrified over that one.

There is one crime I am prepared to own up to.

Let me set the scene for you.

It is 1989 or 1990. The Simpsons is a cultural phenomenon. And Bradley has somehow managed to secure a can of red spray paint.

We are drunk with power.

We creep over to the church construction site under the guise of riding bikes. I spot the perfect canvas immediately.

Brad hands the can to me. I feel the weight of it in my hand. I squint up at the white construction trailer in front of me, almost blinded by its gleaming blankness. I push my glasses back up on my sweaty nose and take a deep breath.

I write, in three-foot-tall letters, the worst swear word I can think of.

I never got caught.

Discussion Question: What kind of unbelievable mischief did you get into as a child?



    Oh my god I just shot mineral water out my nose.

  2. Oh Mims, you've had to hear this story so many times :) You are such a good friend to me.

    I want YOU to write a blog, dammit! Want to at least write a guest post for my blog??

  3. This brings back a lot of memories. Glorious, sacrilegious memories. Best thing is, whenever we got caught (which was less frequent than not) Brad would say we saw some vandals and we were chasing them away. Those vandals names: Jeremy G. and Jeff S. No, no, wait. Too revealing. J. Guisowitz and J. Strahan.

  4. I think you've totally coined the word suburborural. I just did a google search for it and quidquidquid blog entries came up as the top 2 hits!

  5. I'm too busy pretending to write my dissertation to keep a blog of mine own. But I'd be HAPPY to guest blog for you KJ! Gimme a topic and a deadline. xoxo

  6. @Jay I actually meant to include that detail. Sorry big Jeffie! (Not sorry about Jeremy--he tried to light my hair on fire in 6th grade)

  7. @Noopy I could have sworn that was a real word! Haha well I guess it is now.

  8. @Mims The topic is up to you and the deadline is whenever. :) But if you're stuck on ideas I can help you come up with one!

  9. I remain horrified. I feel certain I will have to explain that thumb when I approach the pearly gates. "And where were you, Mom, when your daughter was involved in these misdeeds?" "Uh, writing bad ad copy?"

  10. I really don't know how it got there, Mama. I blame Jeff Strahan.

  11. Ha! Great post Katie. I have fond memories of using that church as a playground.

    In particular was spending the night at Brad's house with some other boys. I believe Jay Spight was in attendance. We climbed to the top of the church's metal slanted roof and used it like a slide.

  12. I'm sure we will all burn even if only guilty by parenthood. I hear more of these escapades as time goes by. I was mortified when I found Mary's finger in the drawer. I do believe Julia was named the culprit in that act. Fortunately the statute of limitations has run out for you vandals. As for me, "I know nothink....."

  13. @Alex: It's the stuff of tale tales, huh?

    @Beth: I'm having lunch with Julia today--I'll see if she remembers anything or if we just fingered her to escape the blame ourselves...

  14. No pun intended ......

  15. Aw man, I think it's unfair that you guys had the chance to do all kinds of fun things at that church...and I was forced to go to mass. Boooo.

  16. I just love this post so much. Especially Jay's references to the neighborhood hooligans. But surely the worst crime was the one to do with the flag? Not that I know anything about that, I just heard about it this one time.

  17. @Denise: Please don't show this post to Sister Rose.

    @Lani: Why would ANYONE take the time to paint an American flag on posterboard to run up the flagpole? That just doesn't make sense. Also I don't know anything about it either.

  18. Cool post! I think your word choice for the graffiti art was just fine. :) Lamely, my childhood was burdened with an adult-like sense of caution and responsibility. I never got up to anything much naughtier than a little exploratory trespassing around other people's woods property and inside the buildings on the Evergreen State College campus.

  19. You asked if you could borrow the red spray paint can and I said "okay." My father and I noticed it out the window later on (it was a Saturday, I'm sure) and we both looked back at each other as if to say "declasse." Albeit the letters were remarkably taller than was Katie. You took something wholesome and American--red paint for a boy scout's pinewood derby car--and used it to propagate such, such salacious profanity.

    The 2-D flag remains my to be my favorite brainchild from those 'capades where I think we really came into our own--intellectually and artistically.

    I see you omitted roller-laser tag. There may have also been a time Brooks and I taped up the doors when they had a lock-in for cheerleaders. And I'm sure certain some of us remember those veritable golden showers we received from inside the Pepsi truck...what?


    J. Guisowitz

  20. REVISIONIST HISTORY--there's no way I committed that crime alone.

    next time I'm gonna blog about the fishtanks we padlocked