by Steven Cupo, May 2023
I was a curious child. “Curious”, as in inquisitive, thank you.
Now, some people might want to call it obnoxious. BUT … you say obnoxious, I say inquisitive … “toMAto, toMAHto” …
Ooooo, but I remember the day my curiosity really put me in the doghouse.
My mother’s father was a devoted volunteer fireman. When the fire alarm, situated on top of the nearby firehouse, went off … you made sure you got out of his way. You see, in those days, one had to go to the firehouse in order to find out where the fire was. When he heard the firehouse siren, he became a WILDMAN! More than once, I was almost trampled to death in his mad dash to get out of the house.
Now, “Pa” (as we called him) was a carpenter. He had built my grandparents’ house and a detached garage using the wood from an old chicken coop that was about to be torn down.
The house was a small, three-bedroom bungalow with a porch on the side. The porch had a back door with steps descending down to a stone sidewalk that led to a glass-paned door into the garage. The garage itself only had two ways of getting in: that side, glass-paned door and a rolling garage door, which he kept locked from the inside.
There was this little lock on the side garage door that little Stevie was always fascinated with. It was almost like magic. In actuality, it was just one of those ordinary doorknob locks where the button in the middle of the knob gets pushed and turned. Voila! The door is locked.
However, the problem with this one was that it didn’t pop up when unlocked; it only turned. If you weren’t paying attention, you couldn’t really tell when it was locked or not. Which, of course, made it even MORE mesmerizing to my little inquiring brain.
I was scolded several times by my grandfather “not to touch that lock!”. My treasured Grammie also encouraged me to “do what Pa told me”.
But, no … I juuuust couldn’t do it. It was a siren song that regularly called out to me …
Soooooo … one day, I was playing with the doorknob, as I wasn’t supposed to … when my Grammie called me into lunch. The problem was, I had lost track of which position the lock was in. Grammie called again. I got flustered, so I left, HOPING I situated the thing correctly in the unlocked position. I closed the door behind me and went into the house to wash my hands.
We had just sat down when the fire alarm went off. My grandfather LEAPT to his feet, knocked a chair out of his way, grabbed his coat and car keys and ran out. The next thing we heard was cursing; a WHOLE lot of cursing. We got up to see what was happening.
Somebody had locked the garage door.
And with the rolling garage door being locked as well, Pa couldn’t get in … at all.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a human being’s face turn that color of red.
Then it almost became comical (but, of course, it wasn’t … but it was …). There was a lot of jumping around and yanking and pounding and running from window to door to door to window.
Finally, he ran full force back into the house.
I knew it wasn’t going to be good for me.
Yes, there was hollering and yelling and accusing … all the time frantically searching for the garage door key. My Grammie and I just stood there silently with our hands folded in front of us.
He tore back outside with a hammer and broke a window on the door in order to reach the doorknob lock. Yanking it open, he didn’t give me a backward glare.
I took that as a good sign.
My Grammie turned to me and quietly said, “Didn’t I say not to play with that lock?” And, with that, we sat back down to finish our lunch.
The next time I went to visit Grammie and Pa, the doorknob lock was gone and there was a key operated deadbolt on the door.
Even so, with that doorknob lock gone, I still wished I knew how it worked.
Such is life.
I am still a curious adult. Old habits die hard. As a matter of fact, my neighbors have given me the appellation of “Mrs. Kravitz”. You know the obnox … curious neighbor from across the street in the old sitcom “Bewitched”? And like Mrs. Kravitz, when I look out my window and see something out of the ordinary, I do find myself crying out in excitement, “Danny! Danny!”
I can’t help it if there are still intriguing things to discover.
Stevie “Curious George” Cupo
(If you would like to share an anecdote or a brief story from your life, please contact Dan Engeljohn from the Communications Ministry Team. We hope to have a new tale every month.)