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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2002 3:02 am 
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Location: Jackson, Tennessee
Halloween was one of the most anticipated celebrations of my elementary era. Typically there were six big days at Mclemoresville Elementary. The first big day rolled up in September when we were granted leave from school to attend the County Fair. The second big day was Halloween. Classes were not dismissed but there were festivities and a special lunch was prepared. The menu usually consisted of fried chicken legs, green beans, sweet potatoes, cornbread sticks and pumpkin pie. There was usually a literary tribute during the afternoon. After the story the teachers would treat us to some variety of refreshments and then give us an extra half hour to play during recess. On the day following Halloween we would bring a bag with all the candy and treats that we collected during the “Trick or Treat” hour.

As we advanced to the upper grades the appeal of Halloween was centered more around the tricks than the treats. Every generation of 8th grade boys had taken pride in the devilish schemes or pranks they pulled on October 31st. One year a wagon had been disassembled then reassembled on top of H.L. Carter and Sons General Store. One year a cow was turned loose inside the schoolhouse during the night. When our year rolled up we let the air out of many of the long cotton trailers that were parked at the Gin yard. We then went to the campus and disassembled a see saw (teeter-totter) board from the fulcrum and placed the board across the highway (right in the point of curvature). We sat in the cemetery and listened to cars negotiate the curve. By the time a driver would see the board all the driver could do was slow down then cross the board. There was a distinctive sound of “bump bump” as each vehicle hit the board. When we got bored with that we collected walnuts to throw at the city police car. We waited in ambush for the approaching vehicle. When the vehicle was in range I pounded it good with the walnut. To my surprise, I was the only one in the group who had actually thrown a walnut. It made a dent in the front fender the size of a golf ball. Since we were being pursued by the fuzz we disassembled then went home. :evil:


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2002 2:52 pm 
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The one trick that my Halloween companions considered as the best suited for a Halloween prank was known as “The Resin Trick.” It was one that Turnip had learned from an “Old Timer,” Turnip had told me about the trick at Church one day. No one in my concentric circle of rowdy friends had even heard of the trick but it generated a great deal of curiosity and genuine interest. I took the initiative to purchase a small chunk of resin at the nearest music store for .75 cents. The only other supplies needed consisted of 100 feet of braided nylon cord and a Ten-Penney nail. Thor (my best friend) supplied the cord and nail. The trick was said to work only on houses that were constructed with weatherboard siding (wood siding that overlaps for weatherproof purposes). Brick houses were not prospective targets nor were houses with asbestos siding. As it turned out, the Principal of our elementary school owned one such house and there was no dog on the premises. It was agreed by the three of us, Chuck, Thor and myself, that Ezra Martin would be the ideal target for the resin trick. We had wanted to bring Turnip in on the prank but Turnip was a perpetual incorrigible who was constantly grounded due to insubordination to his adopted parents.


It was just after dark on the Halloween of 1971 when we attempted the trick (without any rehearsal). Thor tied the nylon cord to the nail then sneaked to the south side of Ezra’s house and wedged it between the weatherboard siding. Chuck and I were crouched in the bushes about 90 feet away. Thor arrived with the loose end of the cord and handed it to me. Since I was the keeper of the resin I got the honors of administering the substance to the cord. I stretched the cord until it was taunt then commenced to rub the stick of resin back and forth on the cord. Nothing happened at first but after 7 or 8 strokes the cord became saturated with resin and we began to hear the devilish music. The friction of the resin on the nylon cord caused a wicked squeak that sounded much like the prying of a rusty nail from an old board. EEEEENNNNKKKK! The more I stroked it the louder it sounded. The back stroke had a different pitch. OOONNNKKK! The sound was said to amplify on the inside of the house. Those on the inside of the house were alerted to the possibility that someone was prying the siding from the house with a crowbar.

When Ezra came out of the house I stopped. Ezra walked all around the outside of the house but the cord was wedged above his head and he walked under it. We choked back our laughter until he was back inside the house. Thor wanted to work the cord so I gave him the resin. The music continued and we were enjoying the thrill of it. Ezra came back out again but this time he held a flashlight. Thor stopped and we crouched down in the bushes as he held the cord taunt. Ezra walked all around the house again but he failed to detect the cord. Suddenly he spoke to us in the darkness.

“All right you idiots, whoever you are, now that you have had your fun you can leave.”

When Ezra went back in Thor retrieved the nail and we scooted on to the next target. I had never seen my companions so giddy with excitement. No other trick had ever given us such delinquent pleasure. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2002 1:19 pm 
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The best memories are easy to remember or hard to forget. One of the Halloween parties of my youth occurred during the year of 1966. It was held in the basement of the Methodist Church but kids from the other Churches were present. It was billed as a costume party and every kid got to wear the costume that they planned to wear on Halloween. The actual party was held on the evening prior to Halloween so it would not conflict with the usual festivities of trick or treating. I can remember that Phillip showed up wearing a Devil costume. It was bright red with a pointed tail. He was wearing a hooded mask complete with two pointed horns on top of his head. I can recall how excited and animated he appeared, hopping around and jabbing at kids with his pitchfork. One would think that Phillip was delighted to be the Devil. He even developed a hideous laugh to compliment the act. Though I can’t recall who all was present or what costume that my other friends wore, I can’t forget Phillip. Someone was dressed like Frankenstein and someone was dressed like the Wolf Man. There were numerous ghost and witches walking about.

The party was an overwhelming success. There must have been 30 kids present. We played games such as pin the tale on the donkey and bobbing for apples. There was even a haunted chamber to scare the doo doo out of us. There were pumpkins carved into Jack-O-lanterns and food and Kool Aid and sweets to eat. A prize was awarded for the best costume and my costume took first place. And how could I ever forget it? My mother had custom made the costume for me with her own hands. It was a Navy blue cape with a hooded black mask and pointed bat ears. She even fashioned the black bat logo against a yellow oval background. She made the gloves with winged gauntlets and somehow constructed a yellow utility belt. I wore black bikini shorts over a gray body suit. She even bought some black rubber boots and altered them a bit. Somewhere in our family photo album there is a photo that features a nine year old Batman.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2002 5:33 pm 
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It is now time to take a short walk down to the basement. There is a special closet down there that holds the cloak and daggers of the fourth Phantom. I open the closet to see that my accouterments are in order.

There is a vertical mirror on the wall that reflects my physical image. I see myself wearing a leather breastplate that bears the crest of the Scarlet Chaplet. It is fitted over my granite gray tunic. My leather weapons belt is secured at the waist. A brace of daggers hangs on my belt--one on each side of the silver buckle. They cross at my groin. I am wearing steel studded, leather gauntlets. My left hand is covered with an armored glove. My right hand is covered with a doe skin glove. I stand 5’10” in leather knee boots. My hooded cape is fastened at the neck and it is dark as coal. I am armed with a war bow, quiver, nine lethal arrows and a light sword. It is time to ride out on and meet some old friends. I expect they will be glad to see me and we shall tend to some unfinished business.


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