Sunday, April 12, 2009


My Dad had a next door neighbor in Simsbury, Connecticut growing up on Hopmeadow Street in the early 1930's across the street from the Ensign Bickford Company. Ensign Bickford made fuses for dynamite and also blasting caps. This neighbor, I'll call him "Bill Roberts", which may or may not be his real name, was about forty-five to fifty years old and not a candidate to be a brain surgeon or rocket scientist. My Dad at the time was about five years old.
"Bill" had a habit of chasing the neighborhood kids around with a knife. On one occasion Bill went into my Dad's yard with a knife in his hand shouting "I'm gonna cut your toes off, I'm gonna cut your toes off". "Bill"got closer and closer to my Dad until he was about seven feet away and closing in with his knife just about to liberate the toes from my Dad's bare feet when my Dad spotted a wagon handle grip on the ground in front of him. As he leaned forward to cut off the toes my Dad picked up the wagon handle grip and threw this grip right into "Bill's"face slicing up his forehead. This act stopped "Bill"in his tracks as blood poured down his forehead into his eyes.
My Dad's sister Muriel who was nine or ten at the time comforted my Dad by saying, "You are going to jail, you are going to jail". My five year old Dad was crying as he didn't want to go to jail.
My Dad's father John Shaw took "Bill"to the doctor to get his forehead stitched up.Later "Ärthur", one of the neighbors, said to John," your awful son Ernie did a bad thing to "Bill" and almost killed him." John replied, "Ärthur" get back in your own damn yard and mind your own damn business."
The moral of this story is that if you are a 45-50 year old man chasing around five year old boys with a knife on their property and threatening to cut of their toes; don't be surprised if you get whacked in the head with a wagon handle grip. That is wagon handle justice.