#6 – Oscar, The Doorman – Paul Warshauer

I was 6 years old and lived in a tall apartment building in the Hyde Park section of Chicago.  I called my friend Mark and his parents dropped him off.  We were bored and Mark was a troublemaker.  I, of course, was an angel.

My parents (Mort and Jeanne) went off with Mark’s parents (Martha and Eddie) to get some groceries, leaving us alone.  After routine play with trucks and cars, Mark and I ate some cookies and milk in the dining room.  He looked out the window and his suggestion was to toss things out onto the asphalt parking lot below to see what it would look like.  The building had just put fresh tar on the lot it so there were no cars down below.  I protested but the thrill was too much for me.

We started with eggs tossing them one at a time, and screamed with delight as they hit the hot, black surface.  We moved up and tossed a glass bottle of milk, a lamp, and a toy fire truck.  More screaming!  Although I protested at first my little toy cash register went next.  The doorman, a great big man named Oscar, heard the crash and looked up from the debris and saw two little heads pop out of the window nine stories above.  He shook his fists, and we knew he was coming up.

Mark and I ran like madmen around the apartment looking for a safe place to hide.  We hid in the front closet under some coats.  Oscar knocked on the door and he used his pass key to come in.  Although we tried to be quiet, we kept telling each other, “Shussh, quiet he will hear us!”  Oscar walked up and down the apartment calling out for us.   He must have heard us trying to be quiet and stopped in front of the closet door.  Our hearts stopped.

Oscar slowly opened the door.  I remember that light ceased to exist as his big frame moved in.  He gently grabbed us both and although we were convinced that he would kill us with his bare hands, surprisingly he was more upset that we could have fallen out of the window.  He was scary but actually gentle at that moment.

Time stopped but I remember our parents both arrived shortly thereafter.  Mark and I cried but I heard Mark tell them that “It was his fault!”   What a liar!  I countered that it was his idea.  No matter.  There was an adult discussion of a word we didn’t know, “consequences.”  We were forced to go down and clean up our mess!  The eggs and milk had spoiled in the midday sun so we both got a little sick.  Mark never came over again.

~ Paul Warshauer, New Ulm, Minnesota

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