Halloween 1965 in High Bridge, New Jersey

Halloween 1965. . . It’s funny, when you’re a little kid, your parents seem like these huge creatures, towering over you. I remember my father always seemed like this big, powerful, macho alpha male. Dear Old Dad. Pop. He was the head of the household after all, and he ruled the roost, and we kids in the family were subservient to his leadership. And it was a comforting thing in many ways. A secure feeling. Like living in a safe coccoon. He protected us from the dangers of the world. . .

I particularly remember one Halloween when I was 9. We always had this blue Volkswagen bus when I was a kid. And it was usually parked right outside in front of our house by the sidewalk. . . Anyways, this one Halloween night, this high school kid, one of the tough guys in the neighborhood, decided to soap up all the windows of our VW bus as a Halloween prank. Soaping windows was one of the big Halloween pranks back then (the other big Halloween prank that was really popular was “t.p.ing” a house — covering it with toilet paper) (and the other big prank we all talked about was filling a cardboard shoe box with dog turds, putting it by somebody’s front door and setting it on fire, and then ringing the doorbell and running like hell — then when the guy opens the door and sees the fire, he stomps it out with his foot and gets dog turds all over his shoes — we all thought this was the bestest, most hilarious Halloween prank of all time, and though there were rumors of kids who pulled it off, none us knew anyone who actually did it, so I guess it was sort of an urban legend).

Well sir, my father actually caught the high school kid in the act of soaping our car. My father ran outside and grabbed the kid before he could run away. And then rather sternly told the kid that he had to wash off all the soap from the windows, or else he’d be in big, big trouble. So my father brought out a bucket of soapy water and some rags, and stood there, hovering over the guy until he had completely cleaned off our car. . . I remember watching the whole thing from our front window. And being really proud of my father. He seemed like John Wayne or something, riding tall in the saddle, confronting the bad guys, the outlaws, the lawbreakers. Protecting the old homestead. And maintaining law-and-order. With goodness triumphing over evil-doers. And all that.

Later, as I grew older, I realized my father was actually only about 5-foot 7.

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