5:00 PM

I’ve been home from school for a couple of hours. My homework is done. Mama is in the kitchen cooking dinner. The smell of browning beef hangs in the air of the little house on Sharp Street . It’s time for the afternoon paper. The Norfolk Ledger Dispatch hits our front stoop each afternoon about 5:00. Daddy takes the morning paper – The Virginian Pilot – with him in the morning. He reads it on his lunch break while he eats the bologna sandwiches that Mama makes for him. In the winter the Ledger Dispatch smells cold. As I carefully unfold the paper the smell of winter mingles with the shingle that Mama is cooking. I read the television column first though it isn’t really necessary. Mama says that I am a walking TV Guide. Next I check the movie listings and carefully clip out the coupons for movie discounts just in case Aunt Gladys has time to take Addie and me to the movies this weekend. Outside the sound of cars. Fathers coming home from work. Doors slam. Mothers yell their children in for supper. From the back bedroom I hear the sound of Addie’s record player. She will have to turn it off when Daddy gets home. He’ll want some peace and quiet. Willis is out playing somewhere. Probably getting in trouble. No one pays much attention to him. The youngest child. The one no one expected. Eleven years younger than Addie. He doesn’t even have a room of his own. He sleeps on the couch. He won’t have his own bedroom until I go away to college in three years – that is if we can afford college. Up the street I figure Lynelle Ray Bass is practicing piano, or baton twirling or doing her hair. She is the new Miss Teenage America and in a few weeks she will have a guest appearance on the Dr. Kildare shown. She isn’t real pretty up close. When I said that to Addie she said I was just jealous. Maybe I am. Across the street one of Dee ’s children is running around without a stitch of clothes on. She isn’t a great mother. I know because I baby-sit for her sometime. She goes out with a different man each weekend. I insist she pay me in advance because she is usually just short of being passed out when she gets home and that’s the only way I can be sure of getting my money. I like to get out of there as soon as possible because her dates make me uncomfortable. I look up from the newspaper. Looks like Daddy’s gotten a ride home with Bruce. Bruce makes me uncomfortable too. He just sits there in the living room and stares at me. I fold up the newspaper in a hurry and escape to my bedroom before Daddy and Bruce get to the front door. That’s 5:00 in my neighborhood – circa 1964.

Leave a comment

Filed under Breadcrumbs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s