"You'll go blind." I heard them say once to my older brother, because I, being a nice Catholic girl, would never even think of it!
I laugh now because when I was a kid, my only foray into something diabolical was finding a Playboy magazine in my brother's bedroom, now with the computer and the Internet accidentally typing in "Pretty Pus" instead of "Pretty Pic" can land you in therapy for a few years.
How did my brother get those Playboys? In a diabolical kind of way.
Enter the neighbor, who looked very neighborly, but unbeknownst to us had a secret stash of Playboy magazines! And said neighbor, and this is the writer taking a little poetic license here, got caught by his wife on said Playboy magazines and was coerced to throwing them away. (Hell, he could have run out of storage in his basement or found the boxes saying, "Where the hell did this come from, I'd better throw them away before Sylvia finds them!")
So all the magazines go into their garbage cans, and since it is Thursday, all garbage cans go out to the curb the night before.
Seriously, I think God has a sense of humor because a beautiful calm sunny night turned into a Squall of a morning, blustery winds, driving rain and did I say blustery winds?
Said blustery winds decided that knocking over the trash can full of Playboy magazines was a must, spreading them all over our Catholic neighborhood, my mother waking to a full frontal nude picture as she opened the front door for the morning paper.
I remember her stomping through the house muttering, "Those lousy no good, I knew there was something wrong, not the stuff for children, all over the neighborhood, half is in my yard they are going to think they are mine!"
She walks out into the tempest, black trench coat (my father's) big bucket hat on her head, goulashes on her feet, walking up and down the street with a trash can picking up the "filth" that has strewn all over to the neighborhood during the night. She is extra careful cleaning up our yard because you can't get "Yard of the Month" if there's a picture of a naked lady draped across your holly bush.
All magazines, miscellaneous pictures, and even a few pieces of trash end up in our garbage, set out again, with lids secured, for the garbage man.
Coming into the house, her deed is done, the neighborhood clean, and starts making breakfast. We all want details about what happened causing commotion in the house but are silenced with an empty bowl, a cereal box, a jug of milk and a "It's none of your business."
My brother, the oldest, the more mature, gets wind of what's happened from my mother's mannerisms and the way she refers to the garbage as, "I cannot wait for the trash men to come by and take care of those Playboy magazines."
Playboy? Did someone say Playboy?
He's not hungry for breakfast, quickly putting on his cub scout hat, jacket and sneaking out the downstairs door as my sisters make barricades with cereal boxes so they don't have to look at me as we eat breakfast.
What is he doing?
I run out in the rain checking on my brother, because that is what the middle sister does.
"What are you doing?" I yell as the rain pelts down.
"Grab these, take them into the garage," he yells over the howling winds.
I grab a stack full of paper from him running into the garage, putting it on the floor, before running out for two more stacks of paper. I don't know what they are, they are important to my brother therefore since this may put me in good grace with him and his friends, I'll do whatever he says.
The stacks of paper move from the floor of the garage to a corner, covered with a blanket as we hear, "Get walking, you'll miss the bus!"
Later that afternoon, in the underground fort we built in the woods behind our house, my brother, his friends and I (my little sister was "too young for this") contemplate his booty.
Wow, I've never seen women like this, cringing as women, stuck together from the rain, rip in half as the boys try turning pages. All of the magazines are littering the floor of the fort, hidden from parent view. I get kicked out in the very beginning because "I am a girl" and given so many threats "if I tell" that I am convinced I'd end up in a prison colony in Madagascar for squealing.
Those magazines stayed in that fort for a little while, I am sure my brother and his friends enjoying all the "great articles." That is until two of the boys got into a fight inside the fort, one kicking dirt into the face of another and during that fight the support of the underground fort collapsed sending boys out coughing and magazines into their shallow grave.
Unless someone got out their goulashes and a shovel and decided perhaps they were worth saving.
Luckily, I didn't hear of any of my brother's friends going blind, so maybe the magazines stayed where they are.