1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

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Midnight Dunk

www.space.com Strange happenings under the moonlight.

Strange happenings under the moonlight.

Waking up to a shrill scream outside my bedroom window was not an everyday occurrence. The scream’s source surprised me. The cause (if I’d been enlightened) would have shocked me.

My light-blue corner-bedroom was worth the wait. Dad designed and constructed a built-in makeup vanity with shelves on each side.

The best items filling my vanity shelves came from Aunt Annis one Christmas; Avon triple sets of lip stick, coordinating nail polish, and cologne. My favorite shade of lip stick and polish was Warm Toast, and favorite scent was Cotillion, followed closely by To a Wild Rose.

To the right of my vanity, Dad built a romantic window seat with storage underneath. Mom made a blue seat cushion with blue and purple throw-pillows, creating a perfect reading nook. To the right of my window seat, Dad boxed in a dresser and built storage space above. These three areas spanned an entire wall.

My tan carpet had a thread count of 50 and no padding, but who cared? I lived in a dream room. No canning jars, camping gear, or giant spiders.

Mom and Dad should have remembered I was a light sleeper. A scream coming through my open side-window woke me up from a mid-summer night dream.

Background: That spring, Dad bulldozed us a swimming pool. He covered the hole with a black tarp silo liner, anchored around the edges by cement blocks.

www.james-and-jamie.tumblr.com Our pool hole was larger with a black tarp, surrounded by cement blocks.

Our pool hole was larger with a black tarp, surrounded by cement blocks.

Without a filter or pump, the water should have been siphoned out and changed more often than it was. A chicken-wire fence attached to fence posts surrounded our pool. We loved it, and so did the frogs.

The shallow end had no flat area. It sloped steeply down to the deepest part, which barely covered my knees. Too shallow to swim, we pulled ourselves around with our hands touching the bottom and our legs dragging behind.

The night of the scream was exceptionally hot and muggy, with stifling air and no breeze. Mom and Dad decided to do something totally out of character, or so I prefer to think; they went skinny dipping.

www.prodivers.com It wasn't a shark that made Mom scream.

It wasn’t a shark that made Mom scream.

The evening dew settled on the tarp, turning it into a slip-and-slide. Mom gingerly stepped on the tarp, planning to dip one foot in the water to check the temperature. She immediately sailed down the slippery slope with one leg in the air, issued the scream that woke me up, and splashed into the water.

“It looked like she was water skiing,” Dad later said, laughing at the picture running through his head.

www.hickmet.com Mom did this in the moonlight.

Mom did this in the moonlight.

Dad rushed to make sure she was okay, repeated Mom’s performance, and landed beside her. I reached my window at this point.

“What’s going on?”

“Nothing, go back to sleep,” they yelled in unison.

“Why’d Mom scream?”

“Dad splashed me, now get back in bed.”

I turned my light on, but luckily the beam didn’t reach our pool. “What’re you guys doing?”

www.masterfile.com Just what kind of fun stuff were they doing out there?

Just what kind of fun stuff were they doing out there?

“Swimming! Now turn the light off and get back into bed before you wake the others,” Dad ordered.

I lay in bed wondering how long this bit of monkey business, swimming after hours, had been going on.

Mom and Dad appeared in extraordinarily good moods the following morning, giggling like teenagers. Who knew elderly people in their mid-thirties played games under the midnight moon?

Uncle Mike T. paid close attention when I reported that my parents went swimming at night after I fell asleep.

Lesson learned: Let your children keep their radios on all night to muffle any outside sounds.

Now it’s your turn: Did you ever get a surprising wake up call?

© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. Elle Knowles says:

    I can’t think of one, but give me time. I’m sure it won’t out-do your story! LOL! 🙂

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Oh, Elle, if only I’d known the whole story at the time. I was flabbergasted just thinking that they went swimming alone at night! There’s no telling what shenanigans ‘old’ people are up to.

  2. Maddy says:

    I had a literal wake up call in the middle of the night.Some gossipy news from an anonymous caller -some teenager co-ed who said she knew my boyfriend at the time when he was away at college.
    Oh the things college girls will do.
    We don’t want to talk about that one. Not exactly Katie Perrys teenage dream it was more a teenage nightmare LOL
    I prefer your story much more!!

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Maddy, that girl was probably after him and wanted you out of the way. It didn’t mean that your boyfriend was interested in her. At least, not if he was smart!
      Oh, the drama of teenagers. Some things never change.

  3. mikesteeden says:

    Yet another gem of social history told with panache!

  4. Glynis Jolly says:

    My parents were way too serious to do anything like that. However, I had an aunt and uncle who had a definite fun streak in them. Luckily, they let me in on some of their times of laughter and games.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Glynis, although my parents were fun loving, I never would have known they were this fun loving without my midnight awakening. They shouldn’t have built our ‘pool’ outside my window.

  5. Ralph says:

    Hi Mary 😀 That was a fun post !! I sleep deeply, nothing wakes me. Even a thunderstorm has no chance 😀 Ralph xox 😀

  6. e m bahnsen says:

    I can’t remember at my age….ha! But, the thought of parents skinny dippy? I thought only cool people (Hollywood types) did that back then. Not suburban parents, because we were all born through immaculate conception. Right?

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      That’s right, E.M. Makes you wonder what else those ‘old’ people were up to when we were kids.
      Actually I don’t blame any women at the time for wanting to skinny dip. I recall the rubber girdle-type bathing suit my Mom had. It took her fifteen minutes to pull it all the way up. Very uncomfortable.

  7. spunkybong says:

    That sure was such a delight, Skinny!

  8. My god! Mary that was so funny 🙂

  9. Morguie says:

    That’s a pretty wild story..lol! And I thought I came from a nutty family!

  10. kriskkaria says:

    Funny story, I enjoyed it!

  11. Sunni Morris says:

    Oh my! What a funny story! I guess people in their thrities did seem old way back then. Skinny dipping. Woo-hoo! I don’t think my parents would have ever done that even if we had a pool.

  12. This is great! I’m glad there are still so many years left for this blog to document!

  13. Mimmy Jain says:

    When I was a child, we used to live in an old-fashioned bungalow, which had all the rooms opening on to a central open verandah. One night, we were woken up to the sound of a knock on our bedroom door. When my mum opened the door, she screamed the loudest I’ve ever heard her. Our surprise visitor was a giant monkey. Needless to say, we remained safely locked up till morning was well under way. Even my bladder behaved on that momentous occasion.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Sorry I missed your comment until now, Mimmy.
      Wow, talk about a different world! If your visitor was a gorilla I would have been justified with my fear of the basement (Basement Gorilla). But if it was a monkey, even a really big one, I’d be out trying to catch it the next day.

  14. blogsam20 says:

    OMG this post is brilliant! Not least because of the way you have written it and the comedy value, but the way it took me back to my childhood. I felt like you had described my bedroom. My Dad built me a cabin bed which sat underneath my bedroom window. One night I was awoken by my older brother tap, tap, tapping on my window to let me in because he’d been out with his girlfriend when he should have been in bed! So funny. Thanks for sharing!

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, bloggy. Memories of the simpler times are the best. And father’s with carpentry skills are even better.
      Did you tattle on your brother or blackmail him with the threat of telling?

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