Mrs Smithenfdd was an old lady who had it in for us kids. Her overgrown house was between mine and my mate Johnny’s. It was a dark house, the shutters closed and the front door never opened unless Mrs Smithenfdd came out to yell at us.
Mum was always getting phone calls from Mrs Smithenfdd complaining about us and mum would tell us not to play near Mrs Smithenfdd’s.
Johnny and I loved to dream up stories about Mrs Smithenfdd.
We thought of her as a witch huddled over her cauldron, mixing in a rabbit’s foot, cow poo, cat’s whiskers, dead chook bones and boys underpants. That last one always cracked us up. But we both kept a count of how many pairs we each had.
One school holidays we built each other up to be brave and look through her window.
We had to be careful of her small brown fluff-ball dog, Please Louise, who always barked at us.
Johnny and I shimmied up to the back window. Through the window, we saw Mrs Smithenfdd reading the paper. She looked up, to our horror and saw us.
Immediately we ran. Over the fence and home to my place just as mum was answering the phone.
She hung up and turned to us, “You boys are to go over to Mrs Smithenfdd’s and apologise for frightening her as you did,” she said as we stood there frozen to the spot.
Would she yell at us and turn us into toads?
We knocked on her front door and waited.
Mrs Smithenfdd opened the door and invited us in. As we wandered in, Please Louise gave us a good sniffing.
She made us sit in her kitchen, and poured us a glass of water.
Then she placed a book on the table. It was a scrapbook and inside was the story of Mrs Smithenfdd.
She had been in the war. A spy who had been captured and tortured. She had survived horrific conditions, and near the end of the war, she escaped.
Our eyes were opened that morning. We changed our opinion of our neighbour, we learned about her, and we were humbled by our assumptions of her.
As she let us out, she invited us to drop by again for a chat as she missed the company of children.
I saw this week’s prompt as an opportunity to write a little more about the characters I wrote about last week. I thought they needed a little more exploring.