The Wrong House
by George Chevalier

This is the story of an inevitable clash between two facets of Zone Life in the early 1940s with the Pacific Side the local for this near coronary nightmare. As Sophomores in BHS we began a long association with good beer. For most of that year our quaffing of the brew was done in secret with decorum. By our Junior year we were openly going to the Beer Gardens to down that golden Pan Liquido at 10c a glass. While not looked on with approval by parents it was tolerated as inevitable and we were advised to behave and not bring on disgrace to the family.

Having now arrived at what I felt to be the journeyman level in the art of beer consumption I played Liars dice too late and partook of too much one night in Atlas Garden and in that sorry state sought a ride home with an older boy who had a car. As we proceeded down Morgan Ave. heading for my #888 I told the driver which was my house and asked to be quietly let off in front. When the car halted I staggered forth and headed for the front steps. Blank Out! It is morning and I open my eyes to see I am in the small bedroom adjacent to the kitchen. But with horror and widening of eyes nothing in the room is mine. The realization of what has happened was a total shock to my system and I dashed a look out of the window to desperately determine where I might be and saw the back yard of the house next to mine.

Hearing no sounds of life I began my get away only to encounter the maid who of course recognized me but told me I had not been seen and she would keep it a secret. With both my parents gone to work I slunk home and died a thousand deaths waiting for confrontation when my Parents came home assuming they had been told by Mr. Holcomb, the barber, who was our neighbor. Nothing, silence as the days went by and I could not understand why no one was calling me to task. As the better part of a year went by I finally got up the courage to get a haircut in Mr. Holcombs Barbershop which I had been avoiding for months and having my hair cut anywhere there was another barber. My luck had run out for I drew Holcomb as my barber and I took to his chair with trembling knees. Without skipping a beat with the shears he tells me he understands I had spent a night in his house and hastens to say he had not minded but I should have said something to him about it. He had not been home himself but had been off hunting and his family with daughters were in the states on vacation but a small family that rented his back bedroom had complained that one of his hunting buddies had used the place and banged into all the furniture getting to the little bedroom.

He had queried all his buddies and they all denied that they had been the ones and so he had born this mystery until a classmate of mine ,who was going steady with his daughter, told him who the midnight boarder was. When the haircut was finished I could hardly get out of the chair and to this day I shudder to think what might have been if that whole family had been home and that bed occupied by one of his daughters. If it had I might not have lived to tell this story but in my defense it must be remembered that Pan Canal Housing must assume some of the blame for they made those cottages all alike. To this day I wonder if I was the only one to ever get the wrong house.