The Mystery of the Shoe Polish Pumpkins

“Everybody get in the playroom now!” My Mother yelled at us kids from the hallway that led between the dining room and our playroom.

‘Oh, no Mommy was pissed, who did what this time?’ I thought, as we began filtering into the playroom. We were always in trouble for something. My mom had 7 kids, very close in age. We had to find ways to entertain ourselves somehow. It just turns out that our entertainment would inadvertently lead to a few minutes of my mother’s quiet time. My mother had 4 daughters and 4 corners in her dining room. Do you know how many hours I stood in the corner of the dining room by the phone while my mother sat in the kitchen drinking coffee while watching the small TV on top of our refrigerator?  And Cathy would always fall asleep, which wasn’t fair!

We all walked into our playroom, which could be a bit junked up at times…. well, most of the time. We had a big toy box as big as my bed! It was loaded with all kinds of toys; blocks, cars, board games, and our fake Barbies. We used to cut out notches in Dixie cups and fill them with tissues so our “Barbies” could have chairs. After we used up all of the tissues, we would use the box for a Barbie sofa or bed..

“I want to know who did this?” My mother was standing in the playroom, and she was mad. Behind her were about 10-12 black pumpkin faces painted on the walls in which appeared to be shoe polish.You could tell who ever did it must have wanted to spruce up the place for Halloween. My mom was a freak about us kids having polished shoes. We used to have the shoe polish with the sponge tip. You could tell that whoever did this must have taken this shoe polish and pressed the sponge on the wall. It looks like it went on perfectly; perfect for Halloween pumpkins. I would have to admit that these were pretty fine looking pumpkins and whoever did them had some hidden artistic abilities.

“Get in the dinning room now!” She yelled. We all filtered into the dining room and assumed our usual lineup. “Who thought this was a good idea?” She walked up and down the line. “Why would anyone waste shoe polish like that? It costs money!”

She began singling out each of us individually…Bill, Ray, Richard, Missy, Cathy, Cindy…..well, everybody but me. She must not have thought I had the artistic ability to paint those beautiful pumpkins with such an interesting medium.

Cindy yelled “It wasn’t me! ”

Nobody fessed up, we all looked at each other. Nobody knew who did it, but even if we did, most of us wouldn’t rat each other out. So, we all took the punishment, like we did so many times before. Mommy would punish us collectively and watch for who we went after and she would know who perpetrated the crime. Honestly, I can’t remember what the punishment was. If I’m not mistaken, we had to clean the entire playroom while my Mother got to enjoy a cup of coffee in the kitchen while watching the little TV on top of the fridge.

Cindy felt that a great injustice was served that day. Still to this day, roughly 45 years later, it still upsets her. Who painted those pumpkins on the wall with shoe polish? Who was the criminal artist? Who?

Oh yea, it was me. Sorry, Cindy.


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