A sad end to strange neighbors

When I was about 10 we had some strange neighbors move in three doors down from our house. One Halloween two of the men living there dressed up as scarecrows and sat on the walkway to the house. Not in chairs. Just kind of laying on the ground. To us kids they looked like dummies, not real people. As we went up to the door for candy, the “scarecrows” would grab our legs and almost pull us down. Kids ran screaming from that house.

A few years later something worse happened at that house.

I had gone to the movies with my parents and we all got home after my normal bed time. It was summertime, right before the Fourth of July. I went up to bed and not too long after there was a flash of light and a huge BOOM! It was a clear night, so we knew it wasn’t a lightening strike.

My brothers and I ran downstairs to see what had happened. All the neighborhood was out in the street yelling. The house three doors down had exploded!

My parents thought it might be a gas line explosion. We were all assigned a pet to grab and to get out of the house in case more houses went up.  My father, who had medical training, ran down to the house to see if anyone needed help. We were instructed to stay home.

My father came back not too long after to tell us that it was not a gas leak. There was black powder involved. I thought, maybe they were making some kind of fireworks. My father thought they were making a bomb.

The street was pandemonium. We kids went outside to see what was going on. The adults were all at the blown up house. I remember my father trying to keep everyone out of the back yard. Someone was hurt badly back there.

Houses near by had windows broken out and walls came apart on the house next door.It was pretty scary. No one really knew what was going on. The police and fire departments arrived and we were all sent home.

The next day we kids went around the block to see if we could sneak through the back  to see what happened. The whole back of the house was blown off! All the houses in this area are pretty much the same so we all pictured our kitchen, bathroom and back bedroom in the rubble. Aluminum siding was hanging from the trees. Someone found a piece of bloody blue jeans hanging from a branch.

I never did find out what really happened. One man and two dogs died in the explosion. Just three doors down.

It was a strange night that I will never forget. I live around the block from there now and when I pass the house I still think of that night.

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