Much like the Israelites and the Palestinians, kids have been battling each other over territory, perceived differences in beliefs, or group leadership since the beginning of time. Such was the case in my little neighborhood. Herein I would like to tell the tale of a certain rock throwing incident. This incident was to have repercussions for years to come.
The mighty Cayadutta Creek was the boundary between our neighborhood and a somewhat foreign land to the east of Crescendo field, known as Briggs field. Our boys owned Crescendo field, as most of us lived within 1000 feet of it. We would sometimes see kids playing over on Briggs field, but really did not know their names or from whence they came. Later we would come to know most of these kids, and there would always be a bit of animosity, due to the story that is about to unfold before you.
One day we were all hanging down near the creek, probably looking for rats to catch or for a muck pool into which we could drop some rocks. The kids I remember in our little group were Ollie, the Pavlus brothers, and my constant companion, Tom Antis. Some other kids over in Briggs field saw us, and came over for a parlay. Somehow the parlay progressed into harsh words and some rock throwing. You’ll need to excuse me on the details, as it was over 50 years ago, and I remember little save for the rocks arcing over my head.
I do not remember who threw the first rock. The last rock, I am pretty sure was thrown by Ollie, as he corked one of the kids above the eye. At this point all hell broke loose, with shouts and insults being hurled in rapid succession. I think that both groups walked away from the battle, and it was not until the next day, when the police came by, that we even gave the incident a seconds thought. Apparently, the fellow who got clocked with the rock, was Billy Coulter. My sense is that the police believed Billy’s story more than ours, so the blame for the whole incident was placed squarely on the shoulders of our little gang. I think that the authorities eventually chased down Ollie and he had his pee pee whacked as punishment for the dirty deed.
In later years, I would become friends with Billy. I don’t remember ever discussing the rock throwing incident. Kids forgive pretty easily. Israelites and Palestinians not so much, as they have been throwing rocks at each other for at least 2000 years.
It’s funny how we remember things that are emotionally charged, but little else. I sort of see my life as a sequence of emotionally charged events, since I really only seem to remember those that caused the adrenalin to flow. There almost certainly was plenty of other stuff that went on between these events, but for the life of me I cannot recall anything mundane ever happening. For example, I remember the rock throwing incident of 50 years ago, but I do not remember what I had yesterday for lunch. In fact I found this book, Memory and Emotion, which covers the topic in great detail.