I began my sleepwalking career at age five. I slept downstairs, as did Mom and Dad. Brothers Jim, seventeen, and Jack, fifteen, slept upstairs; they were second story men. The “big boys” were out roller-skating the evening I took my first tour.
After a fresh snow that winter night, I walked out on our front porch and headed for downtown Hidalgo (POP. 100), which was closed.
I was making tracks, like a Man with a Mission, or a five year old with the midnight munchies. I was probably going to Meeker’s Grocery. Reba, the owner, was asleep along with the rest of Hidalgo. There was nothing else to do. Only three families in Hidalgo had TV, but they were tucked in as well.
Television was a still a great novelty, but only the test pattern was playing at that hour. The lucky three households stayed up to watch the test pattern at first, but gave it up after a few nights as, heck fire, they had to get up the next morning.
At age five I was having scary enough dreams without watching TV—bears seemed to be chasing me, for example. Sometimes I would smoke a few cigarettes to calm my nerves.
But this night was different, as I was on the prowl. Luckily Mom thought she heard something. Dad didn’t think so. Women were always hearing something, according to Dad.
Mom got up to look around and came back after checking my room: “Danny’s gone!”
Dad ran out on the snow-covered porch in his bare feet and Fruit-of-the-Looms. He banged his toes on a porch post and spoke loudly.
“Where’s Jack and Jim?”
“They’re not home yet”.
“For crying out loud. Who said they could stay out this late? They need to be looking after their little brother.”
“Dad, get some clothes on!”
“What in the crap for? Who’s going to see me?” Which was a good point as there wasn’t a single light on in town.
Dad raced to the corner and found that I had just turned the block. He caught up with me and asked, “You going someplace, Bub?”
Shortly after Dad delivered me to Mom, Jim and Jack got home separately just as he was getting ready to turn out the lights.
“It’s about time. Jack, why didn’t you ride home with Jim?”
“The Houser Girls dropped me off. Jim didn’t want to be bothered with me.”
“That’s not true. You just don’t like my friends”.
“You boys are brothers—act like it! Get to bed. Your Mom and I’ve had enough commotion for one night. Not to mention Danny.”
Dad looked around. “Where’s Danny?”
“He was just here”, Mom said.
Dad looked out the front door. “Well, what’s he doing on the porch?”
I had gone to sleep standing up and was getting ready to make the return trip downtown.
This time, after a little encouragement from Dad, Jack and Jim were in hot pursuit.