Sunday, October 05, 2014


a practical joke or a mischievous act

Before I even start this story, I must post a public apology to the neighbors that I tormented in my youth.  Unfortunately, most of them are probably dead and gone--quite possibly having been sent to an early grave by the annoying children in their neighborhood. If they have not already met their maker, they are most certainly octogenarians or nonagenarians who are probably not reading blogs.  I am sorry nonetheless.

I feel that I must continue to remind my young readers that when I was a child, we were responsible to make our own fun.  In my world, parents had no obligation to provide anything beyond food and shelter.  At least mine didn't.  If we were not in school, we were free to go outside and play--however we saw fit.  And that is what we did, from morning until night.

We did the normal kid things during the day, like play kick ball, ride bikes, and hang out in the woods; but at night, we got a bit more creative--a bit more ornery.  One day we discovered that annoying our neighbors--especially the drunk ones--was quite entertaining.  

Our pranking started innocently enough with the ever popular ring and run.  You know, one person rings the doorbell and then disappears quickly and quietly while his or her cronies crouch in the nearby hedges trying not to laugh when the neighbor opens the door and looks confused.  If repeated enough times, confused turns to annoyed and then to really annoyed.  

We made our own fun.

In an effort to put some space between us and the really annoyed neighbors, we started throwing popcorn kernels on the metal awnings.   Just about everybody had a metal awning. And just about everybody came rushing out to see what on earth was happening.  

We made our own fun. 

There we are in our matching doggie dresses right in front of our house with the metal awning. 
 I, obviously, missed the smile command.  Patty did not.

One day we really went too far.  The Plapperts lived two doors from us.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Plappert drank too much--way too much--every day.  We pranked them regularly because there was no chance of them catching us in their condition.  

Their house, like every house on the street, had a front door and a side door.  There was not much distance between the two doors, so the group of us got the brainy idea to tie the two doors together, running a length of rope around the corner of the house and attaching the ends to the two door handles.  We then tried to lure them out by being overly annoying, knowing, of course, that they could not possibly catch us.

That was a mistake.  

One thing led to another; and before we knew it, there was a meeting of the parents.  

The small group of intoxicated parents came up with what they determined to be the best solution to the problem:  the establishment of the tele (telephone in Pittsburghese) pole boundary line.  

The Mahr delinquents would not be allowed past a certain tele pole in the direction of the Plappert property, preventing any further pranking; and the Plappert boy was not allowed past the said pole in the direction of the Mahr property.  Why the Plappert boy got punished I do not know.  I am guessing that in the clarification of who did what, accusations flew on both sides. And maybe the Plapperts did not want their son, Gary, influenced by the rest of us.

We were not the only children involved in the pranking, but we were the only ones brought up on charges--probably because we were the leaders of the pack and proud of it.

Oddly enough, after this episode, our parents became great friends with the Plapperts.  They would get together on weekends to play horseshoes or gin rummy; and more often than not, they would have a few too many to drink.  Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned in all of this.  Perhaps not.

All posts from the 31 Words project can be found here.


Kolein said...

So, what you're saying is that the parents actually broke the boundary rule. :)

Emily Noe said...

Who hasn't done the ring and run?! Haha! Can't imagine you being a prankster!

Emily Noe said...

I wasn't much of a prankster as a youngster. If you know my Sarah, I was a lot like her! I do remember getting together with friends in Oak Hills subdivision on Halloween. We were a big group of friends, boys and girls, who hung out together in middle school. The whole big bunch of us told our parents that we were going to trick or treat around the subdivision, which we did. However, we also had a stash of toilet paper and rolled yards before we ran all the way back home! Being the lucky one, I fell during our sprint and tore hide and all off my right knee. I hobbled the rest of the way back to my friend's house, crying with a bloody knee and ripped jeans. My friends were trying to console me all the way, except for my best friend who basically told me to suck it up. So, now, angry and bleeding, I made it back. My friend's mom cleaned me up and doctored me. I had a terrible scar on my knee for years from that fall.

Mel said...

I am ashamed. Must I really respond to this? Ok. Well. Here it is. Bear in mind, I was young. Impressionable. Easily led astray. Lived in the country with little entertainment. So here is what we did. My brother and I would wait until the wee hours and then sneak out to go cow tipping in the neighbor farmers field. He'd get so upset, but by the time he called my folks, we'd have crawled back up the porch, in through the upstairs window, and were back in bed by the time our parents came in to see if we were there. It was decades before anyone every KNEW for sure, that it was us.

Kimberly Hoyt said...

As soon as I saw the word for today, I had to smile :)

Our generation definitely got left to our own devices, didn't they? Quite a number of kids in our neighborhood came from single parent homes, which meant we had even more time to get into mischief :)

One rainy fall day my best friend and I left our younger sisters playing at my house and walked around the corner to her house, because we were bored and trying to figure out something to do. It was one of those weird foggy kind of days, the rain more of a heavy mist. As we rounded the corner we saw a figure in the distance, maybe 3-4 blocks away. We got to her house and stood on the porch under the awning and contemplated the ickiness of the day, which precluded bike riding, playing kick ball, or any outside activity.

My friend noticed that the figure in the distance was limping, and we began to wonder why. We had great imaginations and liked to make up stories, so we made up a story about him being a wounded war hero. But as he got within a couple of blocks, we could see he was old and grizzled, so decided he couldn't possibly be a war hero and was probably some psycho killer. We rushed inside, locking the door and laughing at our silly selves for being frightened.

Then we had the bright idea to scare our sisters! We waited until the old man was within a block of my friend's house, then called our sisters and told them that the news said a killer was on the loose and we wanted them to come over right away, so we could all be together and be safe. Then we told them the news described the killer as an older man with a limp!

You can imagine how quickly our little sisters hurried to get ready; my sister didn't even zip up her knee-high boots, so they were flapping as she ran.

We had timed it just perfectly, because as they rounded the corner, they ran right into the old man. Oh my word! We were watching from my friend's big plate glass window in front and had a great vantage point to see the ensuing chaos :) Both girls halted momentarily, threw up their arms and screamed, causing the old man to lean back and let out a holler himself! Then the girls darted, one on each side of the men, running as fast as they could, screaming the whole time. That poor old man looked back at them, then hurried as fast as his limping legs could take him in the opposite direction! When the girls burst through the front door, my friend and I were literally rolling on the living room floor, laughing hysterically. Initially they were really mad, but they quickly saw the humor and soon they were rolling and laughing along with us. None of us ever told our moms what we'd done.

At least we turned a boring day into a memorable one!

Kolein said...

I'm not really a prankster, per se. My older brother pranked me enough to cover several lifetimes. So I'm kinda a prank hater, especially if someone gets hurt - feelings or otherwise. I'm grateful for this sensitivity. Sticking to the "early memory" rule here goes. Earliest memory: I think I was in 2nd grade. We had moved to a new school district. I was getting to know several girlfriends. So happy. Each of us were sharing stories about our families. As the stories went around the room, each one seemed to be upping the ante. Oh no, I thought. What am I going to say? My family didn't have anything really special to let them in on. I got nervous. Then it was my turn. What came out of my mouth shocked me as much as it shocked my new friends. "My dad's underarm hair is so long. He braids it. Really long braids. If you ever come over to our house, you'll notice that he always has a shirt on." I was staring into wide eyes and gapping mouths. Guess what happened? Next time my GF's came over for a sleep over we were sitting around the table having a snack. My dad was serving me and all my new friends. I had completely forgotten about "the story" of the braided armpit hair. One of the braver girls spoke up. "Mr. Koroly, is it true that you have long braids under your arms?" My dad cocked his head, looked over at me, (I can only imagine the terror on my face) and replied, "Why, yes. Why do you ask?" Brave Girl continued, "Can we see it?" "Oh! no!", my father replied, "I have to keep it covered at all times!" Later, I apologized to him for making up a story. He laughed. The story over the years had a life of its own, my dad being the Chief Story Teller of it to any new friends of mine he met.

Kelly H. said...

Oddly enough, the word prank brings me to share a Christmas memory. My brother and I had a habit of staying up as far into the night as we possibly could on Christmas Eve. For weeks ahead of time, we would stash away snacks, cans of Coke, games, flashlights, and whatever we could think of to occupy those hours of waiting for Christmas morning. One year, we had the grand idea that we would convince my younger brother to listen closely for Santa and his reindeer on the roof. In order to help him believe that he had heard this, we stashed away a few extra items: a long stick with a Tupperware container attached to the end with duct tape, and a generous supply of dog food that we had slowly pilfered from the garage. After little brother went to bed, we popped the screen out of our window, put dog food in the container, stuck it out the window, and threw it "up on the housetop", thereby convincing him he had heard reindeer landing and walking around. He was passionate as he told our parents and little sister about this the next day, and we thoroughly enjoyed our secret. We congratulated ourselves on having pulled off an epic prank on a sibling and successfully keeping it from our parents. And then Spring arrived. And then my Dad found the gutters full of leaves, acorns, and wet, rotten dog food. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

Sonya Tichenor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sonya Tichenor said...

I was not a prankster, nor did I get pranked. So my earliest memory of a prank is only a few years ago and it was the best. When my children were very young, they were horrified by the idea of Santa Claus sneaking into the house on Christmas Eve. So from the very beginning, our children knew it was a story. We still had stockings and Christmas morning, but they always knew the truth. One Christmas Eve, we were leaving our house to go across town to my parents to spend Christmas with them. I believe the kids were 5 and 7? Maybe a tad older. Anyway, before we left, my husband asked our son to please check and be sure the doors to the fireplace were closed so the draft wouldn't come in. We all went out to the car and piled in -- and on the pretense of forgetting something, my husband went back in, opened the fireplace screen and scattered ashes all over the hearth and carpet. Then he set out two miniature rocking chairs from Cracker Barrel. When we got home the next day, they were really surprised! My husband kept asking our son, "Didn't I tell you to close the fireplace doors?" "I did!" They knew it was a trick, but at the same time, there was just a little glimmer of belief, even though they had known all along Santa was just a story.

Lisa Biery said...

Day 6. Prank. I'm not a prankster, well except that one time. Back in the day when very few people had cell phones, we all depended on land lines. 586-5402- that was my number. My parents even went so far as to give me and my teenage sister our own phone line! 586-2700 in case you are wondering . 25 years later and I still remember those two numbers. Anyway, there was a number you could dial before making your phone call that allowed you to block your number, so that if the person you were calling wanted to try and retrieve your number, they couldn't. And remember phone books? Access to almost anyones phone number. Score. That opened up the line for prank calling. For some reason my friends and I thought it would be fun to prank call our 7th grade English teacher, who none of us really cared for. Being the one who was not afraid to make silly voices or act like a fool, they nominated me to make the call. I don't even know what I said or how I said it, all I remember is that moment when she said my name, "Hi, Lisa." Shear terror. I hung up. I panicked all weekend long. I told my mom. She kinda laughed and told me I needed to apologize. WHAT! On Monday, that's what I did, went and told her I was was right, what else could I do. Looking back I'm completely not surprised that she knew it was me and I'm actually kinda glad it happened. Our relationship changed somehow for the better and she ended up being one of my favorite teachers. The beginning and the end of the prankster life of Lisa Biery.

Sabrina said...

Now this might be my favorite word ever. I have always been a prankster and have many pranks to-date that I am not at liberty to share details about lest I be found out. But the one I eventually came clean on (years later) was when I was 9 and I convinced my little sister I could call Sesame Street. We watched it every day. This particular day I realized was a rerun. I knew what the letter and number of the day was before my sister caught on. So I told her I was going to call Big Bird and ask him if the letter of the day could be S (for Sandi) and the number could be 6 (her age at the time). I picked up the rotary phone receiver, asked for Big Bird, asked him politely if they would let the letter and number of the day be my little sister's favorites, and he obliged. I hung up and said "Big Bird agreed." When they announced the letter was S and the number was 6 her face was priceless! She believed I really was the best and most powerful big sister ever. Something I've tried to keep up ever since.

Heather Sparks said...

I have been racking my brain to think of a prank memory from my childhood. Dad and Mom did not really take too kindly to pranks as a rule. As girls, we eldest 6 didn't push the envelope too much in the prank department. I am sure that we teased each other and I know we were naughty at times, but we weren't really exposed to idea of pranks until we were older, I guess.
It is slightly off topic, but what keeps coming to mind is my fear of disguises as a child. My mom blacked my dad's face with shoe polish for a part in a school play one year and I hid in the closet refusing to come out until he had left the house. I can remember sitting in my little rocking chair staring straight ahead and refusing to look at the trick or treaters that stopped at Halloween. I was afraid of clowns and masks of all sorts. Lol. I have grown out of that, but I'm still not much of an instigator in pranks. . . But it sure is fun to read about all of ya'll ' s fun! :)

Kathy Wiedemann said...

Day 6 Prank
I will not share anything about this word other than to say I am sure most of you have fond memories evoked by this word. I wish I could say the same.

Niki Carroll said...

I know you would not believe this but I was a little mischievous in school. There was a time when Ms. McMakin my social studies teacher stepped out of the room. I was dared...double dog dared (serious stuff) to pick up the trash can and throw it across the room. I thought that was a ridiculous idea but after the chicken noises began I picked that trash can up and gave it a sling. We all watched as it flew through the air and accidentally hit the honor roll student right upside the head. Yikes! I missed my target which was the empty corner on the other side of the room. Just as the trash can nailed her In walked Ms. McMakin. She focused on the weeping girl then looked directly at me and said "come here". She got her 24 ft. long paddle out, with nails in it ( that's what it felt like), and she fired my butt up in front of God and everybody. I apologized to the honor roll student. I then went to the bathroom and cried my eyes out because I hurt someone and because my butt was on fire!

MsHouse121 said...

Pranks, As I dug back into the files of my childhood,our pranks really didn't start until we were in high school. Growing we didn't play pranks on each other because Papa and Mama Bare would of whooped our hind-ends . "Bare was my maiden name by the way! One I remember vividly was the one I played on a friend when I was working at Long John Silvers. Lets call her Sharon, Names changed to protect the innocent. lol Anyway it was Sharon's second day on the job which happened to be on a Friday night. Friday nights were busy for Long's Johns in our small town because we only had like four restaurants to choose from for dinning! She and I was working the line. We had slowed down after the rush so it was time to restock everything on the line. Sharon said to me, " Hey Shona, Were out of parsley, where do I get more?" It was about 7:30 pm so it was already dark on cool evening in the fall. I said to Sharon, grab that flash light, take the bucket out to the dumpster behind the building. The parsley grows on the ground behind the dumpster. You will have to get down on your knees to pick it because it grows low to the ground. Make sure you don't pull it up by the root so it will continue to grow. Then just bring it back in and wash it and put it on ice and we are good to go. She fell for it. Out the door she went flash light in hand, bucket, scissors and all. Back then Long John silvers employees wore those dumb looking pirate uniforms with the dumb red pirate hats. I hated wearing those itchy things. Anyway I went on about my business cleaning tables and refilling and ketchup bottles and shining them until you could see your reflection in them. About 30 minutes went by and Connie ,my manager, came over to me and ask me if I had seen Sharon and I said no not in the last little bit, then it dawned on me. Oh no, please tell me she is not still outside in the cold trying to find parsley to pick. As Connie when back into the kitchen, I grabbed a bag of trash to take out. Low and behold there was Sharon on her knees in that dumb looking pirate uniform trying to gather parsley in the middle of October in the cold. Well she had some pieces of greenery in her bucket but I assure you it was not parsley. She said, Shona this stuff is hard to find out here in the dark. Well needless to say, I started laughing to the point I almost wet on myself. Bless her heart she was freezing but determined to be a good loyal employee and harvest the parsley. Gosh what if someone had tried to abduct her I would have felt awful. She was a good camper though and laughed it off! I still see her from time to time and when I do, I ask her if she has seen any good patches of parsley lately!

Lanette said...


This word brings so many memories...hmmm which one do I tell? My brother, again, always liked getting pranks but never liked getting a prank pulled on him. Honestly, I wasn't a prank puller, until this day.

I bought a smoke bomb at the fireworks store and I set it off behind my brother's truck. I ran in the house screaming, "Your truck is on FIRE." He jumped to his feet and sprinted out the door in a full run. I was in the house laughing till I cried. To say the least, he didn't enjoy it even a fourth as much as I did.

On the other hand, my Mammaw Lane is a full fledged PRANKSTER and loves it. I remember one time staying at her house and she short-sheeted my bed.