My neighbor and I are nine years old – or twelve – and barefoot for three months, living on a dead end street in Montebello. Bettie and I are bored. We are standing on the cross-pieces of the black and white dead-end barrier, looking at a plowed field where a commercial nursery has earlier grown plants.
“What should we do?” one of us asks again this year.
“I dunno,” the other answers. “What do you want to do?”
We gripe because our grandparents had good old days.
“What if these are our good old days?,” Bettie asks. We groan because our lives are so bleak.
We decide to put on a radio show at the picnic table in her back yard. She plays 45 rpms on her portable record player, which is in a cardboard carrying case, and the music wafts from her bedroom window. For a microphone we use a bottle or a saltshaker, maybe a slotted spoon. I hear the buzz of flies. We break for “a commercial word from our sponsor,” which is Wong’s Italian Tacos.
Soon the radio show loses its fascination, so we sit on the curb tossing gravel pieces into the air and catching them. “What do you want to do?,” one of us asks. We somehow entertain ourselves until evening when the streetlight comes on, mom’s signal that we are supposed to head home. Bettie goes to her house. I go to mine.
We leave another good ol’ day behind.
For safe keeping.