Monday, March 25, 2013

The Tire Pits

    Probably all boys at some time find themselves a place where they can go to hang out and get out of everyone's way. In the suburbs, or the country, or wherever there's somewhere to build it, kids erect tree houses.  Being there aren't many places to build those things in the city, we look to other places to get off the block.  You see, just about everyone remembers having a place to disappear to.

    For us, it was behind the Goodyear tire store on Oregon Avenue between 18th & 19th. There's an area back there where they dumped old tires before trucking them off to wherever old tires go, and there were enough tires when we were younger to build a club house, climb all over, to do whatever we wanted to have our own fun. We usually hung out there in the evening or on Sunday when the guys from the store were away and wouldn't chase us. Probably the only resistance we had were those neighbors at the Oregon Arms Apartments who would once in a while yell that we shouldn't be there. They were right, but the way we saw it, what did they know?  In our minds, they were probably sheltered as kids and never crawled all over tires, or anything for that matter, and got dirty.  And if so, their moms were probably happy about that, not coming home with oil stains and scuff marks on their jeans and shirts, but that's what kids do.  Moms today have Spray & Wash or whatever their choice of stain remover, so the kids can be more free to do things like this.  We got dirty in another way while at the pits.  There were metal posts around the upper-perimeter of the pits, presumably to keep the residents of the apartments from driving off the lot and into a pit full of tires.  Someone had the bright idea to slather grease on those posts to deter us from climbing in and out of the pits and go somewhere else.  Someone thought it was cooking grease, but it seemed pretty thick, so it was probably auto lube, meaning an employee and not an apartment resident had the idea.  Whoever thought to do it, it didn't work.  We just didn't grab the posts!

    You know, there's always someone who just knows how to screw up a good thing.  We probably hung out at the pits on and off for more than two of our pre-teen years, and probably would have stayed a while longer until other interests take over and boys don't want to climb in tires anymore.  During the pits era, along came a young girl who had a fetish for fire, and that ended it all. There was a company called Pesco just to the rear of the tire pits, a warehouse where they sold pipes for all kinds of industrial use. Twice on Sundays that place went up in smoke, the first fire not too bad, but the second was really heavy.  One of the guys who hung with us was accused of setting the blazes.  He saw who did one of them, but wouldn't say anything. It just so happens that she saw him too, and told the police he set the fire. The investigators figured out who really did it, and she didn't help herself by setting a fire in her school bathroom and getting caught while doing so. Whether she did time or not, we don't know.  All we knew is that she screwed up a good thing as boys see it, and our days at the pit came to an end.

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