We lived in a poor part of town but we had the greatest entertainment. We had the goldfish ponds, we had Motorcycle Hill, we had the dump and Bicycle Jenny. We made rafts for the creek. We lived off the land.
Down the street was a family who’d moved off the reservation—grandfather and kids and grandkids. The grandkids were our age and we spent a lot of time with them. The grandfather liked to tell me about his religion, his beliefs. I loved his stories and his tales. I called him Grandpa.
The old man—he was very well loved but he liked to drink. His daughter and her husband locked him out of the house when he got drunk. I’d say, Grandpa can stay with us—I’ll sleep in my sister’s room so Grandpa can have mine. So the old man would stay in my room and he’d go home when he sobered up.
His daughter and her husband didn’t like Grandpa to drink but they drank, too. They’d drink and get into fights and their kids would come over and we’d call the police. We’d watch out the bedroom window when the police came and hauled them off in handcuffs. The husband was carted away on a stretcher once for stab wounds.
When I was six we got a big dog, but the dog kept wrapping his legs around me and taking my pants off in the front yard. It wasn’t his fault—he wasn’t fixed and I was the right height.
A week later my mom sent the dog back to the man who gave it to us. I cried like crazy when I came home and the dog was gone.
Then my uncle knew a man getting rid of a Shetland pony, but it was a stallion. Uncle borrowed a trailer anyway and brought the stallion pony to our house. We lived in a cheap rental with a rickety little white picket fence. We tied the pony to a concrete block in the front yard where there was plenty of grass to eat.
One day some girls rode by on their mares and the stallion pony started hollering his mating demand. I grabbed his halter but he kicked me against the side of the house. My mom picked up the concrete block to stop him but instead she went skidding down the road behind him—asphalt skiing. Finally a driver pulled over to help and they dragged the pony home together. My mom was scraped and bumped and black and blue all over.
The pony went away right after that.