Monday, October 11, 2010

Beanie Stein

I don't know if I spelled his name correctly, but this is a true story! It happened somewhere around 1962 - 1964.

It was another beautiful fall school day in Churchs Ferry, North Dakota. From time to time one of us grade-schoolers was lucky enough to bring a quarter or two to school. Why? Because during noon hour we would walk down to "Bert's" grocery store and purchase some candy. It was only a short walk, maybe 2-3 blocks. On this particular day, my friend, Lisa, had the money and she asked me to walk with her to Bert's. Enjoying the lovely weather, we skipped and hopped along the broken sidewalk. On an impulse, I hopped up onto the cement stoop of a little house that set right up against the sidewalk. Suddenly, the door flew open and I was confronted with ... a scraggly looking man ... with a shotgun! In shock, for a moment I was unable to move. I gaped at the whiskered man in the flannel shirt. He had his gun pointed at me. Lisa and I heard him say, "You stay off my property or I'll shoot you!" Like a human bullet, I shot off his stoop and Lisa and I ran the rest of the way to Bert's. We were shaking with fear.

My shaking lasted a long time. It may not have been visible on the outside, but it was weeks before my "insides" settled down. And you can be sure I never walked in front of Beanie Stein's house again; and I certainly never placed a foot on his stoop!

What is strange to me now is that we never told our teacher about this experience. No cops were called, the principal never found out. Eventually, I told my mother, but as far as I know, no one ever had a conversation with Beanie Stein about how he shouldn't threaten little girls with a gun. Maybe he was just another harmless old man ... but it sure didn't feel like it to me!

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