This is the 14th post in a series written by Frieda, my mother. These are her memories of Sara her first rambunctious child and their adventures on the mission field. Click this link to start at the beginning.
When we moved to Guadalajara, we rented a house in what was considered a “high class” part of the city. We chose the location because it was in walking distance of the English school where Sara would be starting first grade. We lived there for two years while Hal found property we could buy on the outskirts of town and built us a house. After we moved, we had our own Accelerated Christian Education home school with some other missionary families.
The house we rented was on a beautiful avenue. The houses were all contiguous, each house sharing a wall with those on either side. The yards were small. The clothes lines were on the flat roofs, accessed by wrought iron spiral staircases that didn’t take up much room. (This was the house where Sara tried to fly like Superman off the roof.) There was quite a large grass plot between the sidewalk in front of the houses and the street. The occupants were responsible to keep their part of the grass clean, mowed, and in good condition, or they would be fined.
Our neighbors on one side had five children and as many servants, including a cook, a nanny, a washing and ironing lady, a chauffer/yard man and a cleaning lady. Their children ranged in age from a four-year-old to teen agers. The teen-aged boys would play soccer on the grass in front of our house because their parents forbid them to play in front of theirs so as not to damage the grass. When we asked them please not to play on our grass, they would retort impudently, “What do you care—you don’t even own the house.” Our children played with their youngest child, but were not allowed to touch any of her toys. On the other hand, their big kids would ride our little tricycle. One of the big boys shot Miriam, our second daughter, who was four when we moved there, with a b-b gun. She wasn’t seriously hurt, just traumatized. The worst thing was when the big boys would use our front yard for a latrine when our little girls were playing there.
Sara recently told me (forty-something years later) how she and her cousin got even with those neighbors. From our roof they could look down into the neighbors’ back yard, where there was a small swimming pool. Sara’s boy cousin peed in a can and tossed it into the pool. We had a telephone that was already in the house when we rented it. It didn’t do us a lot of good since nobody we knew had a phone. But Sara saw beer commercials on the television and got a bright idea. She would call the number on the commercial and order several cases of beer to be delivered to the next door neighbors, then stand in the front yard and watch innocently as the truck made the delivery and the neighbors insisted they hadn’t ordered anything. I don’t know how many times she did this before somebody realized it was a hoax. Caller ID did not exist then, and I hope they never knew who the perpetrator was.