The Nudists: The Privacy Fence

cropped-cropped-stingray.jpgOne day in the summer of ’72 a few of us boys were riding our bikes up and down Sarasota Drive. We’d ride from Tommy’s house down to Nebo Road and back, occasionally riding up “The Hill” (as we called it) as far as the Johnson and Jones households, the one-time imaginary boundary between our part of the neighborhood and the part of the neighborhood where the “other kids” lived. We made several passes up and down the street before we stopped in the parking space in front of one of the duplexes to catch a rest and to watch the cars zip by on the now four-lane Nebo Road. Tommy got the bright idea to walk the short distance down to the new bridge to see what it was like.

The bridge had a narrow sidewalk on either side that was wide enough to accommodate one person. We started to cross the bridge on foot until I got scared. I wasn’t scared to cross the bridge, mind you. I was scared that my mom would find out what I was up to and give me hell for it. She never once accepted one of my “But so-and-so was did it first” excuses. She always gave me the classic parental response “Well, if so-and-so jumped off a cliff would you do that too?” Jumping off of a bridge seemed perilously close to jumping off of a cliff. I wasn’t about to find out what I would do if one of the guys tried to see how deep the river was half-way across the bridge, so I talked the other boys into turning around and heading back by convincing them that some of the “other kids” in the neighborhood might come along and steal our bikes. I was becoming a master at the art of the fib and was even able to rationalize it by telling myself that it could happen.

As we headed back to our bikes I noticed something of great interest to us all.

“Holy shit!” Swearing like an adult was another art that I was becoming adept at. I pointed off to our right and said, “Look! You can see the back of the nudists’ house!”

The other guys stopped dead in their tracks. “Daaaaamn.” We were all becoming quite good at it actually.

And there it was in all its glory. From our elevated view on the bridge we could see a small portion of the nudists’ house through the trees. We could make out what appeared to be a fence and the top of a sliding patio door. It wasn’t much, but it was enough. We stood there in awe.

With no further words needing to be said, we all ran back to our bikes and pedaled the short distance down to Dennis’ house. We ran back to the woods and to our path towards the bridge. Looking up through the thick brush and trees we could make out the white brick façade of the nudists’ house and part of what was a privacy fence. A new home construction next door to the nudists had been blocking our view while we were back in the woods behind Dennis’ house.

The wheels were now turning and we were all of one mind.


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