It was a typical Indian summer day in Wichita. School had started and we were probably about a month into the routine. Just enough time for Gina O’Neal and I to decide we needed something to do to make life more interesting.
We had become good friends in seventh grade when we rode together on the school bus with the crazy neighbor boys who were part of our group. They had fun teasing us and we had fun rolling our eyes or pretending to ignore them. The older boys were nicer, but Bobby, Mark and Kurt were our age so they never let up.
On this particular day, I was sporting a new outfit my mother had made. Plaid, pastel,flared pants with a soft baby blue cashmere vest. I was right in style with the whole 70’s scene and feeling just right for a walk to the local store with Gina.
In our neighborhood, we had railroad tracks that were a border between our division of Crestview Heights and a secluded wealthier area that meandered through a quieter section. We decided to take the short cut across the tracks and through the serene neighborhood.
At some point about halfway to the store there was a pond. We noticed it as we walked and with a second look saw a big white block floating on the pond with three boys on it. The block appeared to be styrofoam and the boys appeared to be Bobby, Kurt and Mark!
When they saw us and asked where we were going, they decided that they were bored on their float and if we would give them the money, we could trade places and they would go to buy candy. Of course, they would come right back and we would all have some together.
So, we agreed to this switch of plans and that was our first mistake.
They took off and we floated. And floated. And floated. The sun is getting lower in the sky.
Where are the boys? What happened to our money? Why are we hungry?
After what seemed like hours, here they came laughing and dawdling along as they came to the lane by the pond.
We let them know that we were tired of floating, it was time to go home and where was the candy?
For whatever reason, they found the sight of us floating out there quite amusing and decided that they should see what would happen if they livened things up by trying to sink the ship!
They proceeded to throw logs at our float and see if they could land us in the water!
Of course, we were not happy campers at this point and began loudly proclaiming that they cease and desist at once!
Somehow we got close enough to the side that I decided I was not going to continue on with this sinking game and I would just wade over to where the boys were before they shoved us back into the middle of the pond.
With one step off the float, I hit the water and went fully under! What I thought was shallow, was NOT! I came up gasping and red, hot, mad. Which for me does not happen very often.
Here I was in my brand new outfit, running late in getting home for supper and had just taken an unplanned fall swim, only to be met with howls of laughter from the soon to be assaulted boys.
I came out of that water on a mission and those three fled for their lives! I picked up a log and I was swinging! They were so going to get what was coming to them if I had to die in the process!
Meanwhile, Gina gently floated to the side, like the gracious southern belle that she was and declared: “Now ya’ll be nice and leave us alone.”
Which, by the way, did nothing to help the situation.
I don’t know if I ever nailed one of those boys or not. I don’t know if we ever got our candy. All I know is I walked home madder than a wet hen and looking like one too.
One never knows what might happen on a boring day in Wichita.