The Natural Adventure!
by Edward Stypulkoski
“GERONIMOoooo!!” I think everyone knows of the Natural. That swimming hole just south of Beacon off of 9D. I wonder how many years people have been jumping into that ice cold water pocket?
This story takes place late 60s. I think I was all of 10 years old, if that. I know it was after the Stone St. escapade. One scorching summer day Tim Kelliher thought it would be a good idea for us to ride our bikes down to that refuge from the summer heat. I believe this was my first time there. Tim was always coming up with good ideas like that. A forward thinker if ever there was one. I told him, my Mom would never let me ride my bike that far down 9D. He suggested I tell her Mrs. Cring was going to drive us there.
Sounded reasonable. How could she object to that. Hey Mom, Mrs. Cring said she would drive me, Tim, Jeff and Greg Cring to the Natural, to go swimming…is it okay? She voiced no objection! Wow, that was easy. A little white lie, what could that hurt? So Tim and I jumped on our bikes and started pedaling. We had big smiles on our faces as if we had just gotten away with something….but did we? When we arrived, there must have been about a dozen or so kids who had the same idea we had. There was a lot of shouting and jumping off the falls going on. I guess we were there about half an hour when someone said.. Hey Eddie, someone is calling you! Now anyone who has been down there knows it is kinda like an echo chamber. With everyone yelling and having a good time how could anyone hear anything.
I listened…and might have heard my name being called..but I couldn’t be sure even to this day. Besides, it was my turn to jump, so I just shrugged it off, I didn’t want to lose my spot in line! I think we were there for about an hour. I can’t be exact on that. Some details escape me after 50 years or so. But not the important ones. We dried off best we could, straddled our stingray bikes and headed for home. When I got home and walked in the kitchen, Mom was there. How was your trip to the Natural, Ed? Did you thank Mrs. Cring for taking you? Ma was like a prosecuting attorney…never asking a question she didn’t already have the answer to. Oh…it was great Ma! Of course I thanked Mrs. Cring for driving us! Lie # 2…or #3? She replied…that’s funny I called Mary and she had no idea about any oF THIS! She came over and picked me up with Greg and Jeff in tow and we drove down to the Natural looking for you! Didn’t you hear me calling you?
Now, do you remember that feeling of being caught in a lie when you were a kid? All the blood runs out of your face and you get a knot in the pit of your stomach. That primordial instinct to flee kicks in but your feet feel like they are planted in quicksand. Even if you could run…where to? You know you are in deep and there is no way out. Needless to say Mom opened a can of Whoop-Ass on me that day! But I survived. I learned a valuable lesson. From then on, whenever I was going to do something I knew Mom wouldn’t approve of, I just didn’t tell her anything. I would come home at the end of the day and she would ask..Hi Ed ..where have you been ? What have you been up to? Nowhere Ma…nothing! Being the first born it seemed She was always tougher on me than my younger siblings. She kept a tight reign on me that I was only able to slip a few times. I have 3 siblings, my youngest sister is 13 years my junior. When she was about 16 she would tell Mom she was going to the city on the train with her girlfriend and their boyfriends. They would be back the next day. Mom would be like…OK dear ..have a good time. Seriously…are you kidding me? That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but sometimes it felt like that!
Mom raised 4 of us. Not one, ended up in jail….for very long. Overprotective at times, sure. Especially with me. Your first kid doesn’t come with an instruction manual. I don’t care how many child rearing books you read before hand. Until you actually raise one, you don’t know “Jack”…or Jill, whichever the case may be. I was raised according to the gospel of Spock! Not the Vulcan. The other guy, Dr. Benjamin Spock. Along with 50 million other kids. That’s how many copies of his book he sold on the subject. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I hope you enjoyed reading it, more then I did living it, that day!