As little boys, my brothers and I would play outside all day. Usually they did not let me play with them. They were (and still are) 4 and 5 years older, and I liked playing in the mud. They did let me play with them one time. We had Tonka trucks. These metal trucks were about the size of a dachshund. We also had a paved hill near our house. We put these two assets together and rolled down the hill riding on the Tonka trucks. Good clean fun.
We moved from that area to a place in Granite City, Illinois. Our house was right next to a warehouse. Across the street from our front door was a solid brick wall.
One Sunday, we came home from church, and a couple of neighborhood boys were near our house hitting something with baseball bats into the brick wall. My mom thought they were tennis balls. But one thing was unusual. Whatever the boys were hitting stuck to the brick. That’s not tennis ball behavior.
Frogs. These little hoodlums were hitting live frogs with baseball bats into a brick wall. To say Granite City was a hard place to grow up is an understatement. It is named after a stone, and children kill amphibians in creative ways for fun.
As if to underline this point, my brothers and I were in the front yard. I sat on the porch in a world of my own. This was usual for me. I had a bad habit of peeing my pants. Usually, I would just hold it for too long. I also wet the bed. I don’t like the term “bedwetter”. Wetting the bed was what I did, not who I was. If I was outside when my bladder failed, I covered my urine escapades with the hose by spraying myself. Then, I would need to change my clothes because they were wet with water and not urine.
That morning, I was dry from both internal and external sources. My brothers milled about in the front yard. Then a boy on a bike came riding towards us. Without getting off the bike, he punched my brother Matt in the face. We found out that it was a case of mistaken identity. You were better off staying out of our front yard. You’d either be punched or batted into a brick wall.