Strange Confessions: Doorbell Ditchers Anonymous
Strange Confessions: One the most adrenaline rushing activities that a United States suburban kid can take the opportunity to do is doorbell ditching and when we got together with my Dad’s family, this was our favorite late night event.
Yeah, I know… what kind of stupid confession is this? Well, these aren’t really real confessions. I never intended them to be serious breaking the law confessions, which I could and I might write about in the future. But this is just plains silly, right? I admit it is. Recently, I’ve thought of additional uses for this site: as a journal of sorts, an opportunity to record specific events in my life along this present time-line.
Today I found out that an Uncle of mine has died. He was my Dad’s cousin, so he wasn’t really my Uncle, but that is what we called him. Honestly, I didn’t care much for my Dad’s side of the family. My Dad was an only child. His Mother was the oldest of thirteen children in an Italian family. Their family reunions were monumental acts of obnoxiousness and social pain. I believe I spoke of this one time before. His Father was an Italian immigrant with two brothers. I never knew my Grandpa, but his youngest brother, I knew him and I enjoyed his modesty and hospitality. He had three children and one of them was my Uncle who just passed away. I didn’t know him hugely well, but when I did see him, it was always good. It was a rare treat to see him at his house. He and his wife were extremely hospitable and they always had plenty of Italian food laid all out to just grab and consume at will. He had two sons and a daughter I think was from another marriage. When you’re young you kind of know these things but never nail it down, things remain assumed. But, you know, you’re a kid… who cares about where your cousins come from as long as you all get along, and we did get along.
The one time I really remember spending the evening at their home stuck with me. I can still see faces in the dark, being conspiratorial in our affectatious discussions toward mischief. Our goal: to annoy as many neighbors in my Uncle’s middle upper class world. The hills and homes of Sandy, Utah was our stadium of shenanigans. Doorbell ditching was the activity of choice. We’d go up to door and fake each other out, running away, or acting like we rang, then run, screaming and laughing all the way through night, the excitement welling up within us. There was another thing we tried but never sure worked or not. We’d tie fishing line to a doorknob run it out to beyond being seen, then rub a wet washcloth on the string. Apparently, this would make a loud, squeaky noise in the home and the owner would come out and only find a string tied to his knob. Has anyone else heard of this? Did it work?
Anyway, I will remember my Uncle as having a warm heart, an open laugh and have the only cousins on my Dad’s family I had fun with. I also remember that he was a manager at JCPenny for a time but heard he had run the Catholic soup kitchen. He never bragged about where he was financially, career wise, or socially, I just knew he was a good guy who seemed to do as much as he needed to for his family. I wish I could be there and share and hear about him with those who will miss him most, and I pray that they would be comforted in their grief. So long Robert, I wish I’d known you better as an adult.