Tuesday 27 March 2012

The Dunkles

When I was a kid, I had a neighbour two doors down and their name was Dunkle. I am pretty sure they were German, or at least eastern European and they were the kind of neighbours that you would want to have. They were a little older than my mom and dad, with a son that was about ten years older than us. I guess for my parents it was like having a surrogate grandparent just two doors down.

Mrs. Dunkle didn't work and so was available to help in an emergency. If we ever got into a jam and mom and dad weren't home then we would go to the Dunkle's. If one of us got sick and needed to come home from school, Mrs. Dunkle was there. I would imagine that if mom or dad needed help from an older couple, the Dunkle's were there.

One time I did a header over my handle bars and slid along the road on my bare chest, ripping the skin right off. Yes, it hurt like a whirling bastard, thank you very much! I called my mom at work and told her that I had hurt myself and minutes later, in walked Mrs. Dunkle. I was lying on my mom and dad's bed in what can only be described as the greatest amount of pain anyone has ever suffered in the history of the world. Mrs. Dunkle tsk..tsked me in that accent of hers and had a look at my chest. More tsk...ing. She then took out a bottle of Bactine and sprayed my open wound.

Remember how I said that I was in the greatest amount of pain that anyone had ever suffered? I stand corrected! It was like that scene in The Exorcist where the little girl is screaming and floating above the bed, only worse! Mrs. Dunkle smiled and said "There now, doesn't you feel bester now?" Well, I did actually feel better, but that was because she stopped spraying me with Bactine.

I decided then and there, that the Dunkles were Germans, not eastern europeans and if they weren't on a first name basis with Doctor Mengela they should have been.

You know, over the years I had lost track of the Dunkles and I never did ask mom and dad if they had kept in touch. I would like to think they are still out there, being good neighbours and helping out whenever they can. There is a reason I mention the Dunkles.

The Dunkles had a son, Charles, who was as I said about 10 years older than us and he would often spend time playing with us. I imagine that there were no other kids his age in the neighbourhood and even if there were, WWII was still pretty fresh in everyone's memory. One of my earliest memories was of Charles and his bike. It was one of those Cruiser type single speed (of course) with coaster brakes. He had a huge basket on the front and a rack on the back. In those days, the bikes were made of solid steel and weighed a ton. He would pile all of the kids in the neighbourhood on and around the bike and we would ride up and down the street. Two or three kids in the basket, two on the rear rack, one on the crossbar and a couple hanging off the bike in various places. It was a real hoot.

There are a couple of cruiser bikes at this place we are renting for our use, and today I decided to go for a longish ride. I had a little trouble steering and braking, and when I tried to shoulder check, the seat would turn with me. All in all, it was a lot of fun. Of course I didn't realize just how sore my ass would be after the ride. I am trying to take my sore ass like a man. Not a man in prison, but a man with a sore ass.

One thing is sure, there is no way in the world I am going to let anyone named Dunkle, holding a bottle of Bactine anywhere near me.

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