D. CHILD PSYCHOLOGY(392)

Billy’s lying was just accepted by us. He was always making things up. He listened to the radio and all the “green hornet” adventure programs of that day were great for his imagination. He introduced us to Jonathan Winters, the 9 cent movies at the Patovi Theatre, dirty jokes, but most of all to Uncle Louie. More in a moment.

Once Opal wouldn’t let him out of the house, saying he was grounded for ly- ing. Perhaps this was my first knowledge of a “child psychologist”, as we were told he was being counseled for lying.

Years later Billy admitted how this all unfolded, and this account was later told at his funeral, attended by his mom.

In those days there were “carnivals” and just the sort of thing Billy craved. He convinced his mom that if she’d let him attend he’d never lie again. Cautiously Opal gave him 25 cents. Fifteen cents got him in the gate. A peanut stand at the entrance got the dime. Today it would not be allowed but in 1948 a “monkey” (really a 70 pound baboon) was chained to an iron stake, right next to the peanuts. The baboon held out his hand. Billy gave him a peanut. One for Billy, one for the monkey. What fun! The problem arose at the bottom of the bag, when it was empty. Billy held out his hands to show the baboon it was empty. At that point Billy swears the baboon grabbed his hands and beat the living hell out of him. All of a sudden the carnival manager runs up to him and kicks him out for “disturbing his baboon”. The next scene has Billy only 20 minutes out of “time out” standing on his porch, bleeding, crying, dirty, and clothes ruined. Opal, hearing him, runs to the door: “Billy, what in the world happened to you?”. Momma, a monkey beat me up”. Opal: “You’re lying and get back in your room.”

Opal endeared herself to me when she shot- gunned Billy’s bicycle punctured inner tube, thinking it was a black snake.

***M

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