Our family has always been close, including our extended family. We have a very large family. During childhood we were all especially close to our cousins. We would spend a lot of time at each others’ houses, spending the night oftentimes. Aunt Bev’s kids are Laurie, Steve, Wendy and Jody. Aunt Becky’s kids are Vincent, Robin and Shelly. Uncle Bob’s kids are Maria and Eric.
We were probably closest to Laurie and Steve than the others simply because they were closer in age to most of us than the other cousins. Amazingly, we all got along pretty well. And you can be sure that when we got together, someone was always stirring up some kind of trouble. That’s not to say that we were bad kids, just that we were “adventurous” and found unique ways to keep ourselves occupied.
Laurie and Steve lived in Colorado Springs for a while. Back then, it was a much longer drive. When we would go there to visit, it was usually an all-day trip, or we’d stay overnight. Near where they lived was a place called “Four Falls,” which was an empty field of hills. Steve used to scare us by convincing us that there was a giant man-eating dog that lived there. I remember one time as it was beginning to get dark, we were on our way home from Four Falls, when Steve sad that he heard the dog running toward us. Being the gullible kids that we were, we all believed him. We never ran so fast as we did then.
Though our parents were pretty strict with us, we didn’t get into trouble often. When we did, the typical form of punishment was for us to be grounded. I only remember being spanked once or twice. One of the times we really got into trouble was after we had made a trip up to see Aunt Bev. We asked if Laurie and Steve could come home with us to stay overnight, and all the parents said no. We all had our minds made up and decided we wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Our solution? We decided to sneak Laurie and Steve home by hiding them under the seat of the car.
It wasn’t until we were almost home that Mom and Dad discovered the extra passengers. We all got grounded and spanked. In fact, Dad made a special paddle for the occasion. It was made of shoe leather. I think that was the only time it was ever used.