We moved to an apartment on Mountain Avenue. Right across the street was a church, which conveniently held weekly bingo sessions, in the basement, for our mother.
It looked much older nearly 60 years ago, when we lived there. And instead of a parking lot in front there was a little courtyard with green grass and a hedge around it.
Across the avenue was a small convenience store, which sold Civil War picture cards in packs with bubble gum and as a bonus you even got a replica of Confederate currency, though just one bill at a time. It was this store where I went to spend the money I earned from Mrs. Furman for taking the dead mice from her mouse traps. A nickel a mouse. I liked to place the dead mouse bodies onto Mountain Avenue so a passing car could drive over them and make their little bodies pop like a bursting bubble. It was also in front if this convenience store where I got hit by a passing car while I was riding Danny Fenton’s three speed that had no brakes. It was not a serious collision, I simply bounced off the fender of the passing car and fell into the curbside gutter. I wouldn’t have told mother about it but a neighbor lady who saw the accident blabbed about it. I’m not sure why it was my fault for getting hit by a car.
We lived in three different apartments while we resided in this building. We had a suite in the basement, at first. There was a mysterious stairway that led up to a trap door that didn’t open. Then we moved up to the third floor. We had a cool covered balcony that you could sleep out on in the summer. I used to open the window and climb out onto the roof over the balcony below and rest my eight-year-old body in the sun. One time, after a failed attempt to cook something on the gas stove, only to have it turn into a charred black mass, I hid the burned pot on this roof, probably at the encouragement of the Evil Sister.
Then we moved into the mysterious Suite 31. It was numbered 31 because it was bad luck to have number 13 on your door. I don’t think the numbering made much difference. It was in this suite that I got in trouble for taking a pee in the bathroom, with the door open when there were neighbors visiting. It was here that I got a head beating from my mother for spending the change from the store instead of returning it to her. It was in this suite where my friend Glen’s mom passed out drunk on my bed after a drinking party with my folks and puked all over my pillow. And it was from this suite where mother was carried on a stretcher, hemorrhaging from her groin as she miscarried a near term baby sister.
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