By the time I hit the first grade, our family had moved one street over to Maple. In fact, it was the first home that my folks actually purchased (for all of $5800).
Our next door neighbor was Dutch Holter, the sheriff. So we were expected to be on our good behavior.
But no problem there. Our favorite spot to play in this neighborhood was the alley that began beside our house, and ran the length of the block. We never saw him back there.
This alley could have been right out of the Our Gang comedies. Tall wooden fences lined both sides of the dirt road, wide enough for only one vehicle at a time, usually the dump truck. In places you couldn’t see the fences for all of the lilac blossoms overflowing from all the properties behind them. Their aroma spread far and wide.
We would play in the back yard at one of the homes along the alley. I don’t remember if there was a gate or a hole in the fence that granted us access, I only know that we never entered through the house on that property. The kids there invited us in to play in the dirt with Tonka trucks etc. Come time to leave, we used whatever the mode of egress was, tiptoed warily around the abandoned refrigerator (we had been scared with stories about kids getting trapped inside them), and either headed for home, or stopped by our other favorite play site…
One of the neighbors had an old 1920-30s car set up on blocks. We liked to take turns at the wheel on the front bench seat, while those in back fired pretend guns through the window. It had suicide doors that we would pop out of as we came to a pretend screeching halt and fend off the bad guys with blazing tommy guns.
Dick Tracy rides again. And the sheriff never knew we were giving him a helping hand.