Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tales from an apartment ... (Ohio #1) ...

My husband had just accepted his first job (PPG) after graduating from Michigan Tech. The year was 1960. We were living in an apartment complex in Barberton, just outside of Akron, Ohio. I was teaching 1st grade (natch!) and life was good.

We were living on the 2nd floor. Access to the apartment was from an outside balcony-type dealie that went all around the building. There must have been an inner courtyard of some sort, but I don't remember anything about it.

About the only complaints we had about our neighbors were that, every once in a while, the bachelors living directly above us would host a pretty good-sized party and play really neat music whose bass resonated and amplified off of our ceiling. Sometimes we couldn't hear each other speak! We'd hit the ceiling with a broom handle. They'd tone it down for a little bit, but then gradually the decibels would increase. Other than that, they were really considerate guys.

Sundays were usually devoted to car-washing. We could look down from our balcony on any given Sunday afternoon and see at least 2 or 3 cars in the process of being cleaned. We probably did that ourselves more than once. All that stopped, however, when the owners brought in an amphibious tank.

No, it wasn't brought in to demolish the cars. It was purchased in hopes of ridding the artificial lake of weeds. The owners advertised the apartment complex as being waterfront property. Immediately a prospective renter's mind has thoughts of laying on the beach, swimming, volleyball games, and such.

Well, that didn't happen on this property. There were all sorts of weeds with accompanying algae, scum, etc., that made access to the water not only improbable but gunky and yukky! The owners had tried various chemicals and poisons to try and kill the weeds. Nothing seemed to work. Then they got the idea of an amphibious tank, whose treads would dredge up the offending flora.

The ugly beast was purchased as salvage from the Army. And, I do mean to tell you that it was indeed a monstrosity. A real rust bucket. When it wasn't being used, it was parked in our common car-washing area.

When it appeared that it was actually working, that the cruddy weeds were being destroyed, little by little, the owners decided to spiff it up a little bit. The owners had a lot of relatives who helped scrape off all the rust, sand it smooth, and then paint the beast green. It wasn't a loud or obnoxious green, or anything like that. Actually, it was kind of pretty. We all watched with great interest from our balconies while all of this was going on and had visions of shortly being able to lay on the beach, swim, play volleyball games, and such.

However, our eager anticipation soon turned to some disgust, deteriorating into anger, and then -- finally, rage. What happened was, now that the owners had a vehicle that was somewhat worthy of being shown off, they showed it off.

All of the relatives who had participated in the beast's restoration showed up, on various Sundays, to revel in its beauty. One relative in particular, 'Adonis', was ALWAYS there with his golden locks, his bare chest, and magnificently-tanned body.

At 7am every Sunday morning, its engines would rev up (waking everyone from what had been a very sound sleep), Adonis would take his position at its 'helm', and the beast would make its stately but very loud and clattering way to the water, various relatives strewn about its top 'deck' with their beach umbrellas, coolers, and containers of food. My husband decided to name it 'Orgadon'.*

Well, we ALL had had enough! A bunch of us (including the bachelors from above) decided that something had to be done. One Saturday night we all met in the bachelors' apartment with our cardboard boxes and cans of pink paint (along with brushes, of course).

We cut out varying sizes of circles, opened the cans of paint, and then proceeded to the orgadon fully armed with our stencils and brushes and giggling like mad. Not very many in the complex were aware of what was going on, so we tried to keep our giggles down to just about the sound of a murmur. It was hard, tho, because -- truly, this was just a TON of fun!!

We clambered in, around, under, and over the darned thing, plastering it with pink polkadots. (We were no doubt drinking at the time, as well.) When the dirty deed had been accomplished, we all went for a swim in the almost fully cleared of weeds lake. We decided to end the evening when it became apparent that we were not going to be able to keep quiet and would eventually be caught.

We swore ourselves to eternal silence, covered up telltale tracks as best we could, retired to our individual apartments, and laughed ourselves to sleep. We wondered if we would hear those horrendous revs just a couple (by now) of hours later.

No revs. Instead, we could hear voices raised in consternation as to how/when it had happened. Who was responsible? Tentatively, we peeked out through the drapes. There were a bunch of relatives, including Adonis (of course), just wandering around the orgadon and talking to each other.

We glanced down at the balcony floor. Telltale drips of pink paint led RIGHT to our apartment!! There was no way we were going to get away with this. We waited for the gendarmes to come and take us away. We were guilty as you know what!

Nothing ever came of it. (?!?) I have no answer as to why not. As a PS, however, I will say that never again were we rudely awakened early on any Sunday morning by engines revving up.

*Orgadon. I have just spent several minutes on the various Wiki-sites. The only reference to the word 'orgadon' comes from a world-wide organ donor site, where donors are registered ... makes sense, certainly, but this site was not established until 1986!! You know what? I think my husband just made the name up out of his very fertile imagination.


Tammy said...

Oh my gosh, good for you. :) That was hilarious! The images in my mind now...... hee hee

Chuck said...

Very funny (and well written!) Any photos to show your final artistic product?

Goldenrod said...

Chuck, I think a photograph would only limit your (and anyone else's) imagination! :)

Seriously tho, I don't think there ARE any photographs of the 'final artistic product'. Probably just as well.

I thank you for your compliment on my writing skills. I try.