I grew up on a quiet street in Ottawa Hills, a village surrounded by the City of Toledo, Ohio. Orchard Road was mainly populated by families, so there were always kids riding their bikes and playing jacks on the sidewalk. Our two-story home had a neighbor on each side. On the corner was a single mom with two teenage boys named Ellen (I always thought that's where my middle name came from until my other advised me otherwise). To the right of our house lived an older couple whose last name was Fisher.
Mrs. Fisher (I don't think we ever knew her first name) had glow-in-the-dark bleached blond hair and wore cotton house dresses and slippers all day long, usually with a cigarette dangling from her mouth. They didn't have children or grandchildren and I never saw any visitors there. Once in a while, she would invite us kids over to her kitchen and give us Tom Collins mix (without alcohol) in paper cups. Mother put a stop to that, deeming it kind of suspicious.
Frank was a balding man who was consumed by attaining perfection on his back and front lawns. He would appear on the front lawn wearing a pith helmet, sleeveless undershirt and boxer shorts, as well as dark socks and sandals. Us kids would laugh hysterically when we spotted him from our window. Frank would survey the lawn and meticulously pull any weeds he might discover. His driveway consisted of two cement strips with grass in the middle. Frank apparently hated it when delivery trucks or visitors parked in the driveway, possibly dripping oil or other fluids on his carefully maintained lawn. He painted a small sawhorse silver, put a small "NO PARKING" plate on it and placed it over the two cement strips, hoping to discourage possible offenders. In our backyard, there was a large tree. In the fall, it would drop its leaves on the ground, including on Frank's yard. He would rake the leaves into a basket and dump them in our yard since they came from our tree. This made my mother crazy.
One night, my mom Barbara, who was a generally quiet and modest person not given to displays of anger, waited until very late and crept over to the Fisher's driveway. She grabbed the aforementioned silver sawhorse, plopped it in her station wagon and drove it to the nearby University of Toledo campus, where she deposited it in a parking lot. The following Halloween, she actually egged Frank's house from a second-story window, amazing us with her throwing arm and daring.
I grew up and left home. As far as I know, my mom never again pulled these pranks on anyone else. The Fishers moved away, never to be heard from again.
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.