THE MIDNIGHT SKULKER 3
February 5, 1974: 8:17 p.m.
“What about school? I’ll be a senior next semester!”
“So, Michael,” Marsha said, “you’ll be a senior in San Diego.”
“But how’s about my friends?”
“You’ll make new friends. You’re a really good kid, Michael!” He was. “And you’ve a great personality and you’re so damned good-looking the girls there’ll be falling all over themselves to meet you.”
Considering the consequences of a near cross-country move and the friends that will be left behind, also of the guys in his new school that may object to their girls ‘falling all over themselves to meet him’. “Yeah,” he said dejectedly, “but you’re my mother and you’re prejudiced.”
“Yeah, that’s true , but what I said is also true .”
“You’re my mom and you’re supposed to say stuff like that.”
“Where’s San Diego?” Samuel asked.
“On the very tip of California,” I answered, “right next door to Mexico.”
Reaching across his father… “Can we go to Mexico?” to the bowl of popcorn on his brother’s lap and, taking a hand full, Samuel threw it onto the floor for Sabra to ‘vacuum’ up.
“Yeah, sure, Sammy! Why not? And I’ll tell all you guys something else…”
Waiting until all eyes were on him, “San Diego is only fifty miles from Anaheim. You guys know what’s in Anaheim, California don’t you?”
Michael, Ellie, Samuel and eight year old Sharon (Sherry) –who’d been sitting quietly alongside her mother – looked questioningly at each other, then to their mother who shrugged her shoulders, then back to their father.
Sadly clicking his tongue, “You guys don’t know what’s in Anaheim, huh? How’s about… Disneyland!”
Clapping her hands, “’Disneyland’!” Now on her feet, “ ‘Disneyland’!” Sherry shouted. “Can we go to Disneyland, daddy? Can we?”
“Yes, of course we’ll go to Disneyland!”
Rather a shrewd ten year old that, kind of, knew the wily way of adults, especially his parents, “Yeah,” Samuel asked, in a rather demanding tone, “when?”
“Tell you guys what! I… mommy and I promise you that we’ll go to Disneyland; absolutely promise that sometime within the first month that we’re living in San Diego we’ll go to Disneyland!”
Yeah, Sammy, we promise.”
Stated in a capitulating tone: “Oh, okay, then.”
“That’s where we’re going to live then, for real,” Ellie asked, “San Diego?”
“Yes, ‘for real’!” Marsha said.
Digesting this, other than Sabra nosing around for any kernels of popcorn that she may have missed, the room was still…
“You kids will love it there!” I said, “San Diego has the most temperate year round temperatures in the entire country.”
“‘Temperate’?” Samuel questioned.
“Yeah, San Diego usually has the best year round weather of anywhere in America.”
“It’s right on the Pacific Ocean,” Marsha added. “It’s so beautiful there, it’ll seem like we’ll be living in Hawaii year round.”
Of course, most definitely looking forward to Disneyland! However doing his best not to let his parents see his slowly changing attitude, “How do you know?” Michael asked rather sourly. “You’ve never been there.”
“True, we’ve never been to San Diego, but I’ve… we’ve, your father and me, we’ve read all about San Diego.”
“There’s no winter there?” Ellie asked, “It never snows?”
“Well, yeah, there is winter. But winter in San Diego is like, uh, spring in Chicago. And, no, to my knowledge, it never snows there.”
Dogs are intuitive and, knowing she was part of the family, catching the tone of and attention of the entire family – as though wanting to be a part of this important conversation – doing what she’d occasionally done in the past, doing what possibly only a Great Dane or a very large dog may do: front paws flat on the carpet, lowering her rear onto the cushion, Sabra sat – human like – alongside Samuel.
Quit now as all eyes watched as Sabra, so politely, sat on the sofa.
Joining in the laughter, – of all but Michael, who still appeared to be brooding over the move – “So,” Mitchell asked, “what do you think, puppy,” speaking to the dog as though a person, “you want to move to San Diego?”
In response, spotting a missed kernel of popcorn beneath a decorative pillow on the floor, the brindle colored Great Dane went after it.
“It’s hot there all the time? “ Sherry asked.
“Not ‘all the time’,” I said, “but it is most of the time.” Adding, “It’s hot there but it’s not humid, so you won’t feel as hot there as you do here. And something else, guess what? No mosquitos!”
The lack of humidity and mosquitos not overly impressing Sherry, “In California, on television, everyone has a pool. Can we have a swimming pool?”
Wanting a swimming pool, they had discussed the possibility of purchasing a house that has an existing pool. And as all four children were, considering their ages, rather good swimmers, Marsha and Mitchell had mutually agreed, so…
“Yes, Sherry, daddy and I talked about it and, yes, if we can, we’ll buy a home with a swimming pool.”
“Goody!” Leaving the sofa, “Then it’s good and I’m glad we’re moving to San Diego.” Sherry lay on the floor with her head resting on Sabra’s flank.
His eyes widening, his eyebrows moving upward, the thought of their own swimming pool, and Disneyland extremely exciting. However, not wanting to completely ‘give in’, “Okay,” Michael said under his breath.
Still sitting along side, “You say something, Mikey?”
Sensing his eldest son ‘coming around’, his thoughts going back to Sammy: Wonder how much and what kind of trouble he'll get into if we do have a pool?
In all reality, of the four children, Samuel was the best swimmer and he never rough-housed at the public pool the family went to. As a matter of fact, Sammy was the one that would keep a careful eye out for Ellie and Sherry and was also the only one with courage enough to dive/cannonball/belly-flop off the high dive.
Loving the water and swimming, the entire family would spend as much of their summer as possible at the local swimming pool. Of course, Michael considering himself too old to do it, between Ellie, Sammy and Sherry, the continual, “Daddy, watch me!” Or, “Mommy, watch me!” Or, “Marco Polo!“ were…? Well, continual.
As for Sammy…