BLADENSBURG, MARYLAND (1st Hometown)
Once again I’m back in my old neighborhood of Bladensburg, Maryland, however, this is not such a good story either. Believe me, we had good times while living there, but for some reason a lot of the not so good times I remember easier. Maybe we had more bad times than good, I don’t know, but I do remember some of the good times while being there. This is not only a not so good time in my life, a minor incident, but something that still kind of make me feel a little weak. I don’t think a lot of people know about this one, probably not even my mother, but nevertheless this one is a painful one.
At our house in Bladensburg, we had a pretty huge yard that was fenced in and pretty long. We had this one massive oak tree in the rear corner of our backyard where we kept one of our dogs chained up too. I’ll tell you more about that dog we called ‘Bruno’ in another story sometime in the future. I think you might find that pretty hilarious when I get to it. We had a neighbor to our left and to our right, if you are facing the house. To our left the neighbors were nice, but we think they had issues with drinking and not really giving their kids a jolly life, but when you are that young how do you know for sure what a jolly life is.
Anyway, the neighbor to our right was more of a loner and very anti-social. I remember speaking to him a few times, but he was definitely not an open person and by the look of his yard, you would get that. Along the fence that separated our properties, he had some wild bushes growing that appeared to be at least ten feet tall or higher. A few branches of these massive bushes would stick over into our yard and scratch the hell out of you. I soon became aware that the bushes he had growing near our yard were thorn bushes. I don’t think I have ever seen thorn bushes that tall or big before, until my mother planted one at old home in Largo, many years later. The bushes were so thick that you couldn’t peep through them easily to see what was going on in his yard.
I would soon become friends with these thorn bushes in a way that I hope to never experience again. While outside playing by myself I remember kicking around a soccer ball off the fence and tree on the side of the house. Well, one of my kicks was too hard and it went over the fence and right in the middle of the thorn bushes. My heart immediately sank when I knew that the mysterious neighbor would not be able help me like he did once before when I mistakenly knocked a ball over. The only thing that saved me some pain was that the soccer ball fell in a gap where I could climb over the fence and easily retrieve it. However, this would be anything but an easy rescue mission of my beloved soccer ball.
What I didn’t mention to you is that the fence that separated our properties didn’t have the metal bar that you would normally see lining the top of the fence. So that meant that the points of the linked fence were easily exposed and very sharp. Unable to get anyone to help me to retrieve the ball, I ultimately knew that I had to get it myself. That decision would nearly cause me more pain than what was needed. I finally gained the courage to climb over the fence without stabbing myself on the points, and without the neighbor knowing about it. With a quick motion towards the soccer ball, I grabbed it while getting scratched the hell up by these thorn bushes. Some of them got caught on my t-shirt and ripped a few small holes. However, I was able to grab the ball and quickly toss it over the fence back into our yard.
I looked back to see if the neighbor was looking or outside, but I couldn’t see anything. As I went to climb back over the fence, I slipped after I got halfway over and felt one of the chain link points penetrate the back of my left knee. Obviously, the pain was just nearly unbearable for a young kid, but what really frightened me more was the way I was positioned. I was still supporting myself with my hands, but I was partially upside down with only one leg back over the fence. I hung there for a few minutes in pain and thinking of how to get myself free from the situation. Deathly afraid of letting go and just knowing that the fence would dig deeper into my leg causing me more agony and grief. I take one more look behind me, upside down, and over to my mysterious neighbor’s house and still no one around. Finally, I was able to gain enough strength to pull myself up and release my leg from the top of the fence.
A great relief overcame me when I finally got all the way over, but not knowing how I was going to explain to my mother why I am bleeding behind my knee. I was wearing jeans, so hiding it was impossible with a huge hold ripped out partially stained with blood. I don’t remember what happened after I told my mom, but I think she scolded me for a minute of going over the fence into that man’s yard. We all knew he was weird and had this notion that he would hurt people for violating his personal space. Not sure how long it took me to recover from my wound, but it was pretty deep according to my mother. Needless to say I never attempted that move again, and if anything went over the fence, which many things did, either we would let it be or he would be nice enough to throw it back over. This weird petifile smile with his yellow teeth and bald head was just monstrous to me. I think it was mentioned to us that he was a cancer patient, but I can’t say for sure. Boy!