And, Speaking of Sneaky
I honed by deductive reasoning skills at an early age, just by being a little shadow in the lives of Dot and Evil Ann.
Dot and Evil Ann’s hubbies, Hardy and Jeff, were truck drivers. They were partners on long hauls between Lafayette La, and California. I have no idea what Californians would need from Louisiana, but they brought back fresh flowers, fruit, and candy shipments. They worked for the Durell Franks trucking firm, and I have never been able to find a track of this company ever existing, even when I moved back there in 1974. They were on the road five days and home three. That’s some hard driving back in them days, California and back to Louisiana in 5 days. One slept while the other drove.
So, that is how the Terrible Twosome met. They were road widows five days at a stretch. Just a couple of housewives, both aged 27. Dot had me, and Evil Ann had three boys, but they were not in the picture at this point, and that is a story for another time. So here are two young women, in the mid 60’s, with a five year old that was quiet and compliant. 3 channels on TV. A rotary dial phone and phone numbers that began with letters. That was as far as their gadgets went in those days.
When they first got together, they sat up late into the night, EA drinking coffee and Dot and I drinking Coca-Cola (We are life long Coke people!) EA and Jeff moved a lot, but always managed to live in “duplex” apartments, that were really just a few rooms converted into a one bedroom living space for singles, or young married, in grand homes with spacious porches and weathered rocking chairs. EA’s hobby was those oil paint by number kits, scenes of Japan. She had lived in Japan in her other life, and she had a budda she had gotten there, that always rode on the front seat next to her during her many moves. I am sure this is where my love for fat budda statues comes from. In one of these homes, the kitchen had a long counter between the kitchenette and little dining nook. We would all three sit at that counter on stools, Dot and I on one side, EA on the other. They chain smoked Viceroys and told each other their life stories, while KXKW radio crooned out country western music in the back ground. I will always associate Patsy Cline’s standards, the smell of lighter fluid, (EA cleaned her paint brushes with it) and green stamp catalogs with this room, and that time. EA would work on her painting, I would pour over the stamp catalog, and they would talk.
Dot and Hardy and I lived in a little one bedroom apartment, in the back of an office of some sort, it was somewhere around Simcoe or maybe Surrey, in Lafayette, that is all I can remember. The owners of the business had lived there, starting out, then built a big home next door and rented their old living quarters out. You had to be quiet in the day time, so as not to disturb the “office”. I remember there was a huge yard to the side where there were a couple of rental trailers.
Dot and EA made buddies with the young couples in the trailers, so I had kids to play with finally. It seems one of the trailer’s residents sister came to stay with them to escape an abusive relationship. She was very mod, (that’s a 60’s word, for my younger readers) and the owners son fell head over heals in love with her. She wanted nothing to do with men, she had had quite enough of them for awhile. He was the obsessive type.
Now, there’s the back story, here’s the scene: It’s late one evening, the big double windows in my mother’s bedroom are open and we are sitting there in the dark, watching the owners’ son circle the trailer where the mod girl is home alone, trying to peek into the windows. We knew it was Macky, as he was a large boy and kind of lumbered. It was frightening and a little exciting too. It’s like Rear Window. I’m Thelma Ritter. (That’s a movie, younger readers, watch it, it’s very good) After that, when we were in that room at night and situations necessitated the light being on, it was a lamp, right in front of the windows, the shade down. That way anyone watching cannot tell what is going on by watching shadows. Then you take care of your business quickly, outen the light and raise the shade, cos it is Louisiana and it is summer, and only ritzy people had air in 1966. EA and Dot pieced the whole story together, Mod Girl had complained of scary noises at night. EA and Dot were on a stake out, and they did not call the cops on the perp. They did worse, they told his mother.