Harriet the Spy and her acolytes

My best friend and I read Harriet the Spy obsessively. We took to spying on our friends. Then, she took to spying on me.

My house was very very long, an old English Tudor style with a fragile slate roof.  One afternoon I glanced out my bedroom window. She was crouching out there on the slanted slate roof, which she could only have accessed by climbing up onto a porch, then onto a garage roof, then onto the main roof, and crawling about 80 feet.

Our house had a panel in the wall, really a secret panel, that opened onto a shaft about 30 inches square.  It went from the basement to the first floor. Looked like it might have been a dumbwaiter.

One day my mother was walking by and heard a noise. She opened up the door and there was Scuz, holding on to the wall, with a notebook.

“SHHH. Don’t tell her I’m in here.”

My mother shrugged and shut the panel. She didn’t even tell me about it for about ten years.

Don’t try this at home. Professionals only.

Speaking of things that no one found out about — my best friend, Scuz and I (Scuz was a shortened and pejorative form of her real  name) grew up on HARRIET THE SPY.  If you haven’t read this book, go buy it and read it immediately. So what if you’re thirty five? Pretend it’s a gift.

Anyway, the two of us spent time thinking up creative ways to torture various people of our acquaintance. One of these victims was The Mop.

The Mop sat in front of me in homeroom and had a lot of hair. I suppose I must have liked him and that’s why he was a target, but that’s beside the point.

We  had the brilliant idea of putting a pink bunny decal on his locker.  A permanent decal.  You bought them in paint stores. They were for baby furniture. You  put them on furniture by rubbing a wet sponge over them and they stayed forever.

We bought a really really big, really really pink bunny rabbit. We stayed after school one day and did a really really wonderful job of applying it to his locker.

It would never ever come off.

The Mop went to Burke and told her what we had done. He knew that the only teacher who would know for an absolute fact that we would do this to him was Burke, and that she was  the only teacher we were afraid of. She called us on the carpet.

“Get rid of the bunny.  Now.”

We tried to deny all knowledge.

“What? What are you talking about?”

She gave us The Look.  “Don’t even try.  Go.”

The problem was that it was a permanent decal.   You couldn’t remove it.  That was the point.

Eventually we had to scrape the paint right off the locker to get it off.  It stayed scraped up like that for years.

Um…is the statute of limitations up yet?  When I reflect on this now, I recall that not a single adult stopped to ask what we were doing, and that nowadays we would be arrested for vandalism.