In elementary school we were asked to sell Barton’s Kosher for Passover Chocolate. The incentive to sell was the more you sold, the better the prizes you could earn. I never sold the most. I sold just enough to win the same toy every year. I have no idea what it was called. It has two metal arms and wheel in between. (apparently it had no cool name – Kinetic Wheel Light…).
Here it is.I loved playing with this toy for hours, whipping it around the arms, flexing my wrists just so. Miraculously it seemed that from year to year however that toy either must have broken or gotten lost since I never had a surplus. My best friend, Aliza lived 3 doors down and we basically did everything together. Every year Aliza, and I would take our bikes around the neighborhood and take turns trying to make a sale. Now, there was also a set of twins that lived on the other side of the neighborhood.
Where I grew up, each neighborhood was broken down into what we called sections. We all lived in the ‘D’ section. Every street name began with the letter ‘D’. Aliza and I lived on Deerfield Lane, which wrapped all the way around and had a lot of real selling potential. One year however, The twins decided to try to sell on our block! As we were innocently riding up to a house not far from our own, in came the male twin on his bike, faster than the speed of light to try to get to the house before me. He was going too fast to make a decent break, and slammed into me, knocking me down, all scratched and bloody making a real ruckus as I came crashing down into the neighbor’s metal screen door. Crying and feeling broken, Aliza tried to help me untangle myself from the bike. Male twin freaked out and rode away so as not to get caught. Sure enough, Mrs. Neighbor opened the door pretty angry and demanded to know what all that noise was? She took one look at me and of course her heart softened at the chubby kid with pig-tails and tears streaking down her face. She led me into her home, cleaned up my elbows and knees and gave me band-aids, because we all know that makes everything all better. Well that, and a really high pity sale.
Another time I was at the Mesucci’s house selling some chocolate for NCSY. These were the super-sized Kit-Kats and Resees Peanut Butter Cups. Yumdiddlydum! Anyway, they owned an archaic screen door that had a really tight spring that would swing back really quickly and if you were not fast enough it may literally hit you on the way out. So here I was 2 doors down and ready to make a sale. They loved me. I used to play with the 2 boys and I knew it was a sure thing. I squeezed myself between the screen door and the main door in order to knock. I knocked 3 times. No answer. I knocked again a bit harder. Nothing. I realized that they weren’t home so I turned but my finger stayed behind and SLAM! You got it my poor nail. Purple before I even got back to my house.
Now here is the disgusting part. My mom, I don’t know how she knew or had the guts to do what she did, but took a sewing needle every night, and after sterilizing it would screw a little bit into the nail bed. Every single night she’d sterilize and spin in the same spot creating a well until there was some air (oxygen?) being released. This was supposed to help the healing process. Eventually the nail fell off and I was good as new. Super Gross. No chocolate.
One year around sukkot, Aliza and I were in the car and my mom needed to stop in to the market for a few things and asked us if we wanted to go in with her. We were old enough to stay alone in the car ourselves so naturally we chose the “mature” option and stayed. My mother gave us explicit directions that if we were to leave the car we must lock the door. After a few minutes of course we got bored and decided to go in. We jumped out and at the last minute I remembered to lock the door, BUT did.not.remove.my.finger.on.time! Aliza tugging me and me stuck there. My little itty bitty pinky, stuck in the locked door. Aliza panicking, ran in to find my mom to get the keys to free me. Our local SHOPRITE had speakers that played music and announcements to those in the parking lot. All of a sudden, I hear, “Will the mother who left her daughter and friend in the car please come to the service desk immediately.” Um hello??? Wouldn’t it have been easier to ask for Jan Berg? I imagine Aliza was just as traumatized as I was and forgot our names in her nervous rush.
Meanwhile, I am standing there attached to the car when a car full of high-school kids drive by ever so slowly. The big guy closest to me rolls down the window and asks me if I want some candy…HOLYMACANOLY! This was it. My parents warned me early on NEVER TAKE CANDY FROM STRANGERS! My pulse skyrocketed and I started to cry. I had flashes of warnings from ABC After School Specials and kidnapper alerts from PSA’s on TV running through my head. He asked me if I was ok, and then rephrased his proposition. He said, “Are you sure you don’t want to buy some candy? It’ll make you happier…we’re raising money for our football team”. I thought that was the end of me, this was his line. And then, it dawned on me. They could not kidnap me. I was locked to the car! Aaah silver lining.
My mom came rushing out, the second she unlocked that door though, Yowza! That hurt beyond imagination. We went to the hospital, I got splinted up and then she dropped me off at the Rabbi’s house to help decorate their sukkah. Yeah, that was fun, I sat there watching my friends while I raised my hand every time I felt throbbing. I did get out a lot of chores though and if I remember correctly, this chubby kid was given lots of chocolate at the end of the day 🙂