When I was in the 5th grade I lived with my best friend Johan and his parents Eva and Gary for the school year. My mom was living in Hermosa Beach with my younger brother James while going to Dental Hygiene school and my sister Summer was living with her best friend. I have a lot of fond memories of this year but I want to share one particular story that will stay with me forever.
Eva was from Sweden and it was customary to take our shoes off at the front door and leave them on the porch. No shoes inside policy. Gary or "Mr." as he used to make us call him was one of those dads that liked working on stuff out in the garage and always had lots of toys like bb guns and sling shots. Eva was a nurse and Mr. was an abalone diver. I loved their house up in the hills above the Mesa in Santa Barbara and I loved their family. We used to have Mr. chase us around the house as we would call out "Gary, Gary, Gary, etc..."
Anyhow, we started to notice that some of our shoes were missing from time to time. But the strange thing was that it was not the pair of shoes but maybe one shoe from each pair. For about a week we kept noticing that our shoes were going missing so Mr. decided to set a trap. He made a buzzer that would sound off if the pressure was removed from it. We laid the buzzer underneath a shoe and if it was picked up the alarm would go off.
Now Johan and I shared a room with the window facing the porch. We armed our selves with bats near the front door as Mr. had one of his guns. Needles to say in the 5th grade, 10 years old, thinking that we were going to stop a person from stealing stuff off our porch was pretty scary. After Johan and I were sound asleep we were woken by the alarm. We heard Mr. run down the hallway to the front door so we followed with our bats in hand.
With all the lights turned on and the 3 of us standing their in the front drive way looking for the thief but baffled of how we could of lost him. We searched the side of the house, the ivy in the neighbors yard, with still no sign of anybody. Mr. piled us in their truck and started driving through the neighborhood looking for any suspicious people...really any people at that time of the morning.
Up the street we saw a figure running down the middle of the road with two beady eye's. As we closed in on it we noticed it was a fox and it had a shoe in its mouth! We found the culprit!!! We followed the fox as far as we could but it tailed off into the open fields behind their house. Mr. Told us we would come back the next day and search the field.
The following morning Johan, Mr. and I raided the open area where we chased the fox. We new the area pretty well because we used to ride our bikes in there all the time. Turns out there were lots of fox families living here and Mr. noticed a lot of fox holes that could act as a fox den. Sure enough we found some shoes. But they weren't our shoes! We probably scavenged the field for a week and found over 1000 shoes including our own eventually.
Now, I didn't know this many people left their shoes out on the porch but it turns out people from the entire neighborhood were missing shoes and some of them were pretty expensive as they had pricey custom insoles. We gathered all the shoes and put them on the drive way so people could come and get their belongings. Some of them were pretty torn up however.
The news paper got whiff of the story and came and took a picture of Johan and I in front of all the shoes. I have the picture somewhere and will have to scan it but it was one of my first times in the paper. I tell this story to Brett as a bed time story and each time it brings a smile to my face. Thought I'd share it with all of you!
(I was thinking of making this story into a children's book and have Brett draw the animation part of it for our future children)