I Thought My Ghetto Blaster Was a Boom Box.
I grew in the ghetto of my town, but I never knew it until I read it in the paper years later. I didn’t have a ghetto blaster though, I called mine a boom box.
When we first moved into the house, the back yard was full of empty turtle shells because the previous tenants liked turtle soup. My my sister’s bedroom had a giant treasure chest filled with sand and cigarette butts. We kids weren’t even allowed to stay at the place for the first couple weeks because the conditions were so poor. It took all my parent’s had to get the place up to standards, but they did it. So well in fact that I really never knew we were living in the ghetto.
My neighbor taught me how to electrocute yourself with the loose wires behind the tv for fun. We were switching from tv to video so we could play some Berzerk on Atari 2600.
Then maybe we’d hand out with the Brazilians up the street as long as their parents weren’t home. They were the first people I knew who actually liked Michael Jackson and the middle son was very proud to show me his parent’s P.Y.T. single. When the parent’s came home and everybody either hid or ran out of the house. One of the times, when I ran out, the door, the father turned and saw me. The kids ended up getting punished and after that didn’t want to be friends anymore.
There were some girls up the street. The oldest one, about my age, liked to strip for the neighborhood kids at the Brazilian’s house. She swore she had pubic hair, but that you couldn’t really see it because she was blonde. Her mother was a very large sex pervert with a drawer full of sex toys, dirty magazines, and candy. I assume she was very influential on her daughters.
The middle daughter had a heart condition. She had been through open heart surgery as a baby and had the chest scar to prove it. The parents always told all the kids to never punch her in the heart or she could die. It was as bad as daring the kids to do it. I witnessed her get heart punched several times. Once by her own sister. She never died. Years later she burned their house down playing with hairspray and matches.
We had some scumbag next door neighbors on the other side. Dirty, lice ridden ones that pour syrup on sisters’s hair for no reason, do the worm in the street in front of your house, that have a witch for a mother, and a grandfather in a silver space suit and cowboy hat who used to have cancer but coughed it out. Ones that will teach you how bad neighbors can be and to hate and mistrust your neighbors for years to come. Ones that when their house next door to you is finally condemned, dilapidated, and collapsing you will rejoice for they are no longer there.
If you wandered past the scumbags, past the Brazilians, and up past the burned down house, then went up the hill and into the woods, you’d find an abandoned school bus. If you pushed the middle of the door it would fold up and you could get inside to play. Or if you kept walking up over the hill there you’d find a field of gentle cows standing around eating grass. Just past them there was a pond fenced in by barbed wire. Inside there was a bull.
Once I decided to go under the fence and walk down to the pond. About half way down to the water the bull started chasing me. I don’t know how close it got to me before I escaped through the fence, but it was enough that when I came out the cows didn’t seem so gentle anymore. As we kids walked past the herd, the cows started coming after us. I wasn’t sure if they were following us or chasing us, but we either way we ran down the hill and got ourselves out of there. We had no idea where we were going, but just kept walking and walking. There was no fear of being lost. No cares that our parents might wonder where we were. None of that mattered. It was hot, it was summer, and it was fun. We were exploring some foreign jungle and nothing was wrong.