Yesterday, we heard from Martha (Mattson) Johnson. Today, her friend Ted Brouillette takes a turn, revealing the scrapes he got into with Martha's brother Peter. "Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit" opens this Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Edina History Museum.
By Ted Brouillette
In spring 1944, my parents bought 4804 Sunnyside when I was finishing fifth grade at Breck. That fall I started sixth grade at Edina Morningside because Wooddale had reached its enrollment limit. After a few weeks, I convinced Peter Mattson, who lived at 4912 Sunnyside and attended Wooddale, to skip school with me. Pete usually toted a glass-bottomed bucket so he could peer down at bugs, leeches, toads, and frogs in Minnehaha Creek. I preferred to hunt ducks and geese with my shotgun and .22 rifle which we wrapped in oilcloths and hid nightly under the canoe that been put up for the winter. But we would paddle the canoe up Minnehaha Creek to Skunk Hollow for our shore lunch. Pete was the much better cook.
Our adventure lasted for six to eight weeks, until my grades slipped so badly that my parents finally discovered my truancy. My sixth grade teacher was also busy as the school principal, and she had no administrative assistant to track errant students. Smarter than I, Peter ditched school only about two days a week, always turned in his homework, and took tests. As far I know, his parents never found out about his part in our escapade. When my parents found out, I had a very lean Christmas that year.
On Saturday afternoons, our mothers would give us 11 cents (later 12) to see the matinee at the Edina Theater. I usually went with Peter Mattson and the Kelby boys from next door. If we didn’t have enough money, we would pool our resources and send one guy in who would open the side exit doors for the rest of us. We had to save some money for popcorn (a dime) or thin mints, Chuckles, or Good & Plenty (a nickel each). The movies were a series of 15-minute shorts, such as: The Green Hornet, Lone Ranger, Jack Armstrong the All-American Boy (a fictitious athlete and adventurer from Hudson High), Bobby Benson of the B-Bar-B Ranch, Terry and the Pirates, and Our Gang. We also learned about current events from newsreels about WW II put on by Pathe News.
One early summer day in 1946, when I was 12, the Simpson boys and the Meyers boys, and I had asked the day before to borrow James Leck’s canoe. But the canoe was gone by the time we came to pick it up. Searching along Minnehaha Creek, Evan Meyer saw Karin Mattson and Mary Johnson using the canoe in the creek. We yelled at them, but they didn’t hear us
We got to the Highway 100 bridge over the creek before they did. The bridge had been widened and chunks of cement from the old guardrail were lying on the shoulder of the road. Our plan to fix them for taking “our” canoe was to drench the girls in their crisp white blouses by tossing these cement chunks (five to fifteen pounds each) either in front or behind the canoe. The younger boys hauled them over, and we older guys did the throwing. Midway through, I realized that we could really hurt these girls if we weren’t careful. As soon as the girls were completely sopped, we let them escape.
Later that day, I went over to see Peter. Mrs. Mattson met me at the door and said, “Teddy, what you did was socially unacceptable.” I was foolish enough to go home and ask my mother what “socially unacceptable” meant. I found out. I got a licking and ate my dinner standing up to the mantel.
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