Mean old neighbor causes problems for the children in the neighborhood.
English 11AP (7)
21 December 2018
The Neighborly Conflict
I grew up on a street where about twenty young athletes would gather and play any sport you can think of. We were all friends, but there was a smaller group of us who would play roller hockey regularly. The spot where we played was at our cul-de-sac. We called it the "Big Circle". It is a large circle at the end of my street, surrounded by woods. The pavement is flat all around and there is a line of tar on the far end that marked off a small zone of about a quarter of the circle. We used this as the "take back area": the area to which the player has to take the ball back before scoring when there is only one net. It was a perfect sized rink for a group of young kids to play roller hockey. It is four houses past mine. I was the closest out of the bunch. That meant I was in charge of the net. I was in charge of the goalie pads. I was in charge of getting food or water when needed. I was essentially in charge of everything. But there was always one big problem, Mrs. Smith.
Mrs. Smith is beyond ridiculous. She lives across from me, right next to the Big Circle. Ever since we were young, she has always started problems with us kids. We didn't really get along with the Smith children, they liked to do different things than my friends and I. But because we are around the same age as them, Mrs. Smith would not have any of our sporting activities. For some reason I would always feel her watching me from her house. Her wrinkled, restless face was always covered by a white foam visor from the dollar store, even if it wasn't sunny out. She wore the same shirt every single day, an old pink polo shirt. I would always feel her harsh glare through the window of her tan "Town and Country" minivan as she drove by me every day. I remember this so well because she scared the living daylights out of my young self, and the images in my head still haunt me. It felt as if I was being bullied by a grown woman, and I still do not understand exactly why. No one does.
One day, we were minding our own business, playing our game of roller hockey, when Mrs. Smith came out to her car. Though, she didn't get in her car. She stared at us. We couldn't tell if she was glaring or she just wanted to watch. We continued to play as Jim took a slap shot and went top right corner on Bob in goal. After a few minutes we stopped and looked at her and the oldest of our group, Bill, said, "What do you want?" She walked over with her back hunched looking like an elderly gorilla who wanted trouble.
"You aren't allowed to play here", she said. Even as young kids, we knew that this cul-de-sac was public property and she was out of her mind. But also, we were young kids, which meant we were still going to listen to adults. We were there for a while and she effectively killed the competitive mood, so we decided to just leave anyways.
It was our annual Stanley Cup playoffs of roller hockey. We were ecstatic. It was during winter, our favorite time to play because the weather was cold, everyone was around, and it was in the midst of hockey season. We all had our new jerseys, new sticks, new roller blades, and new hats from Christmas. We played about half a game and then Mrs. Smith decided to interfere. She was very angry. She came out of hiding and said, "Uh-uh! Not today! You are not playing today!"
We looked at her as if she was from a different planet. We ignored her and kept playing as she yelled, "Are you kidding me? You are just going to ignore me? This is part of our property." She was crazy. She stood on the grass and just watched us play.
At her first opportunity, when the ball came into her range, she grabbed it. She then, hunched over, stormed into her house with our only hockey ball. We then knocked on her door, demanding our ball back from her husband who wanted no part of this. He said, "Guys, I don't want involvement in this, but she did throw your ball deep into the woods. I'm sorry guys." We couldn't believe this. Who did she think she was deciding what to with our own property? We were done for the day, very upset as our parents began to contact this witch about her actions. She got a few angry phone calls and maybe a few pranks from various members of the neighborhood, but we wills still never know who did it.
Another day, not too long after, we were playing our game in the evening and she came out again. This time, instead of staring, Mrs. Smith looked in our direction and quickly turned around to go back in her house. About 15 minutes later, a police car came to the Big Circle. We thought it was doing a routine pass through our neighborhood but he stopped and rolled down the window. He told us that he got a complaint from someone nearby about us playing. He saw how young we were and he saw that we were just innocently playing street hockey. He then told us out of kindness, "Don't hit any houses. Don't cause any problems". I recall him also saying, "Yeah, I'm not really sure why I got sent here". We could see the frustration on his face, having to waste his time, driving out to a cul-de-sac to find kids playing. That was the first experience I've ever had with a police officer.
It was a cold winter day. There was snow rimming the curb of the Big Circle. We had a large shoveling team and it took no time at all. We were playing with two nets this time. Also, there was more people this time, usually we only have around four or five players and a goalie, but this time we had five players and a goalie on each team. It was one of the most fun games we have had in a while. Everyone was scoring and hitting. Then, out of nowhere, Jim suddenly stopped. He was looking right at the Smith's window that directly faced the Big Circle. "Hey look at that," Jim said, "Mrs. Smith set up some cameras". We could see it. There was a faint blinking light coming from that window, exactly as a camera would. We also noticed a human shadow continuously appear at the window frame. If it wasn't actually a camera, we had a creepy stalker watching us play street hockey from their window.
We decided it did not matter and continued with our game as if no one was filming us. It was a long game, we had been playing for hours. Then, Bob yelled, "Next goal wins!" It became a frenzy, everyone who had no gas suddenly had a full tank and it turned into a highly competitive finish. I noticed that Bill had the puck behind our own net. I snuck behind the defense and he flipped it high in the air. I had a breakaway. Me against Luke, the goalie. I faked the shot, went to the backhand and scored. That was that. We were all done for the day so we sat on the curb, talking and doing various things on our phone.
As we were preparing to go home, a realization hit me. I was tired of lugging my hockey net back and forth between the cul-de-sac and my house. So I thought, what would be the harm in leaving the net at circle? It's public property but there was a basketball hoop that lasted a couple years there. I left the net and went home to get some warmth.
The next day, I came home from school and my net was gone. I was outraged! At first, I couldn't believe someone really stole my net. How would they have done that? Brought a pickup truck and decided that this beat up hockey net was worth taking? My dad called the township to see if they had any idea where it was. It turned out that they had it. Who gave it to them? Mrs. Smith did. She called the township and made them take it. So we had went to the township building to get it back.
Once we got the net back, we were ready to play. We went up to the cul-de-sac with a smaller group composed of only 4 of us. We started playing and not too far into the game, Mrs. Smith came out and instead of stalking us, she wanted to talk. She said, "I am willing to talk this out and compromise. Bill you are the oldest, so you can be the spokesman." She was a weirdo. She went on and said, "You guys can play on the weekdays after school until five".
Bill's response was, "Yeah you're crazy. This is not your property. We can play here as we please." She then angrily shook her head and walked back inside.
About a day later, we got a letter in the mail from the township inviting the parents of the roller hockey kids to a meeting to discuss these issues. My dad attended the meeting. Mrs. Smith was there. My dad thought it was the most stupid, waste of time. So he immediately chimed in and said, "A cul-de-sac is a public property. If you try to keep kids from playing there, you won't be able to enforce it. This is the dumbest waste of time."
After that, Mrs. Smith and the township staff were quiet. It was as though there was no purpose in being there after that. From then on, we did not have further problems with her. Though, whenever we see her now, we'll get dirty looks and ignorance from her as her sour self continues to live across from me.