NaBloPoMo: Who wouldn’t you play with as a child?

I am participating in the NaBloPoMo challenge for May. It should be a fun one. It is titled: Play.

The topic for today is: Who wouldn’t you play with as a child?

I grew up in typical middle America in the heart of the iron belt along the Ohio River Valley. It was full of coal mines, trains and hard workin’ men that you may see in Ford truck commercials.

On our street, Collis Avenue, we had our smattering of recently returning Vietnam veterans, a salesman or two, plenty of housewives that loved their bonbons and their afternoon “stories”. These same ladies would prowl the neighborhood at night after dinner, usually of the goulash variety, to hawk their wares from Avon and Tupperware.

On one end of the street was my little girl friend Micthy and here little sister Cindy that cried as much as my brother, which is hard to beat because he fully lived up to his nickname: Cryin’ Ryan.

On the other end of the street was a man-child, a beast of a boy, with greasy blonde hair, buck teeth, dirty Toughskins and worn and faded concert T-shirst from the 60s that rolled through town a decade before he was born.

His name was Zeke. 

Who names their kid that? He is sure to end up in a correctional facility or in films that you are forbidden to see before the ripe-old age of 17.

Zeke was the neighborhood Scut Frakus sans the toadie. He was fully a one man operation and he was only seven–a year my senior.

You would often see my mom in the driveway as I headed out to play with her hands on her hips and sportin’ a housecoat giving me the what-for.

She would say,“I better not catch you down at that Zeke kid’s house or there will be hell to pay!”

Even though Zeke only lived six, maybe seven, doors down, that was the forbidden zone of Collis Avenue. You would often catch us kids taking the long way ALL the way around the block to meet our other playmates that lived PAST Zeke’s place.

We never played with Zeke, at least my little clique. We stayed as clear as we could of him but giving him mucho respect as he trolled the halls of Highlawn Elem. Even as a kindergartener Zeke commanded a head nod from the boys as he passed them in the halls. It’s a guy thing. If you are a lady, you might not understand.

I don’t know what happened to Zeke. But my money is on one the fore-mentioned occupations. But if not, he would be wise to change his name to something like John Smith or something. Because in this day an age, with a name like Zeke, you might be on one of those lists at the airport.

Who wouldn’t you play with as a child?


Robert Forto is mushin’ down a dream in the wilds of Alaska. He and is wife are raising two teenagers at Forto’s Fort. 

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