From: Mama’s Little Firecracker – Memoir
I remember being a fencewalker around 1960:
”Meet me after dark over by the fence. Bring toilet paper, ’cuz you know how we always have to pee once we get on the other side.” My ten year-old girlfriend Jalena planned our nighttime journeys across the tops of neighbors fences. I jumped out my window barefooted into the backyard. Snails crunched under my feet. I padded my way down to where two fences met. I hoped Jalena didn’t invite Larry, our dorky neighbor from down the street, to come with us. Loud and clumsy, he would wreck everything.
I remember thinking, I’m stupid for coming, she’s a jerk for inviting him to tag along. This was our game, not his. We’re gonna get caught. The two of us huddled and I looked at her in her two piece beige pajamas with no slippers, blonde, spunky, smarter and braver than me. I didn’t want to share our game of peeking through patios and spying on people.
”Come on, let’s go, forget Larry,” I urged. ”He’s not coming.”
”I’m here.” Freckle-faced Larry with a lisp jogged down the street in his fire truck pajamas. So I made a foothold and hiked her up to the top of the six foot fence, and we crawled catlike on top of horizontal two by fours. We own the whole neighborhood! Larry, the stooge, kicked the fence trying to get onto the top board. Get a move on, or else go home. In the second yard, she whispered, ”There’s that old lady, sitting in a chair, shhhh…!” Larry knocked his slippers off dragging himself inch by inch behind us. ”I’m afraid of heights,” he stage whispered and I thought, I’m not helping you, idiot.
I made it to the third house, saw a woman in her kitchen look up through her window as if she saw me outside. By that time I’d crept into an overhanging tree. ”She heard us! Let me outta here! My mom will kill me if I get caught.” The woman opened her back door, silhouetted in her kitchen light, walked out and pointed a flashlight. ”I’m invisible, I’m invisible, you can’t see me. I’m just one of the dead leaves in this tree. I’m not even here. You don’t see me.” She scanned a beam up and down and shined on me. I held my breath for what seemed like a year, but she kept moving the light. I thought, ”This is what it feels like sneaking out of a Nazi concentration camp. She’s the guard and she’ll shoot me if I move. I’m not here.” She scanned light across the yard and Larry laid flat on the top fenceboard with his head down.”Maybe she doesn’t see him? We’ll all die.” She turned around and went back inside. ”I’m free!! I’m free! I’m gonna live, lemme outta here!”
”I’m backing up and going home.”
”I don’t know how to back up!” Larry squealed in a pig-like whisper. I hate you, and you can die on this fence for all I care. Larry flattened out and I steamrolled over him.
”I almost got caught. Did you see that lady?” I centipeded back. Forget the whole thing. I catapulted off and landed on wet grass, tore back up the street, vaulted through my bedroom window using the water spigot as a foothold. I always knew I was invisible.