When he was four, my brother tried to dress up as an old woman to escape the nursery section of a bowling alley.
If you’ve been following my shenanigans, you’ll recall that I had a babysitter growing up who believed herself to be the reincarnate of Michelangelo. Well, she also loved bowling. A lot. An avid bowler, if you will.
She routinely convened with fellow senior citizens at the local establishment near our house. Since kid-ginger wasn’t in school yet, he had to pass the time in the day-care center of this particular ball-heaving, pin-knocking venue. She bowled twice a week, which is a lot of sock-odor and cigarette stained walls for a child (same child twenty years later has no problem frequenting dive bars-but this was different-this was involuntary).
So it was one day after a fifteen minute car ride in which he was forced to listen to Sammy Davis Jr sing Candy Man on repeat (her favorite-and by repeat I mean press-on nails rewinding the cassette tape each time the song ended); that my brother plotted a revolution.
I’m not quite sure how he managed it, but somehow the little creature rounded a gang of comrades (fellow four year-olds, willing to take action). As he explained later that afternoon (from behind his bedroom door where he had been banished like most felons of his era), a group of them distracted the ‘warden’ by engaging in a massive peanut-butter and saltine cracker battle. This diversion allowed one small red-headed brother of mine to escape out the door of the nursery, and don himself in various pieces of grandmother attire.
When they found him in the parking lot, he was wearing a flower-print jacket and some sort of hat he has forever been unable to identify. He was upset at the lack of available eye-wear, as this clearly would have perfected the disguise. Never mind the height problem, nor the cherub-faced child gazing up from underneath the moth-ball soaked garments. No, for him the glasses would have ensured safe-passage through the parking lot to freedom.
Freedom by the way, was a pancake house across the street.
I never told him this but the day his attempted escape failed, he gained the respect of one very proud, very impressed older sister.