Gone Awry


At one time or another most kids give some sort of dramatic productions in their backyards, garages, or barns.  Our neighborhood gang gave several-two that were most memorable.


The first was a play some of us made up from characters from the comic strip “Gasoline Alley” and from the Saturday afternoon matinees that we enjoyed.   It was a disaster from start to finish.   First the kid playing the hero didn’t show up on time, as he was being punished by his mother for some sort of crime, like skipping his music lesson.   The show had to go on with a substitute that was too short for the role.


Since the stage was set in a garage the audience was seated on the driveway.   Scoot brought out her mother’s fine dining room chairs for the onlookers, but her mother found out and they had to be put back inside quickly.  That meant the audience had to stand up and that is what caused the trouble.


Annie Laurie’s dog, Stubby, spotted our dog, Mike, and they began fighting in the middle of the first act.   The audience joined the cast in trying to break up the fight and as a result the scenery went over and my sister’s long princess gown was torn in half.


Since the play didn’t go over we decided to have a carnival in Meg’s backyard.   We decorated various booths and charged two cents to get in.   I think we had a magic show and someone dressed up as a bearded lady and a strongman.


We thought it was a great success until the next day when the phone calls came in to our parents.   “Just what were those kids selling at the show?”  Irate parents wanted to know.


Since Scoot was in charge of that booth she had to face the music.  “Samples” she said.   They were little tiny bottles of samples.   “I got them at my father’s drugstore.  It was supposed to be a medicine show so I brought them to sell to the kids that came.”


At the time we had no idea what was in the bottles, but our parents scared us out of having any more shows.   Now, we can laugh about it, because as older folks will know what it was-the bottles contained “Cascara”  [Editor’s note:  a laxative].


Mary Elizabeth Mruzik

Pacific, Missouri