THE GRAPE TRELLIS INCIDENT OF 1956 by Jackie Villarreal Najera

In the summer of 1956 when I was 8 years old I remember having a grape trellis in our side yard. My older brother John, who everybody called Boy found dad’s spare tire under the house. Boy placed the tire under the trellis.

He said, “If you’re not a big chicken jump with me.” My younger siblings Linda, Frankie and I did not want to be chicken so we jumped into the tire. We jump a lease 20 times following Boy’s lead.

Suddenly my dad came home. My dad said to us

“Don’t jump any more you’re going to break your legs.”

My brother would say “O.K Dad.”

My father came back from work and caught us a second time.  He said “Stop jumping into the tire. You’re going to break your legs.”

Boy always say “O. K. Dad.”

As soon as my father left.

Boy would say “Let’s jump.”

My dad came back from work early one day and surprised us. Again he warned “Don’t jump into the tire. You’re going to break your legs.”

“Yes Dad.” Boy said.

My father was a very fair man. He had warned us three times not to jump into the tire. My dad had a habit of lecturing before the spanking us.

When my dad got to half the word punish…. I ran as fast I could and hid. My dad looked very surprised. All he could say was “Huh?”

Linda, Frankie and Boy got punished. They protested   “It’s not fair she ran away!”

Dad said to them. “Just you wait! She’s going to get double the punishment.”

Dad always knew where  I hid but he pretended not to know. As he headed toward the house I saw him smiling and holding his hand over mouth so not laugh,

I hid so long that I fell asleep. When I woke up I was on my bed.

I never got punished for running away.

Years later I heard my dad talking to my uncles. He would brag “You should have seen her she run! “She did a Jessie Owens. Can that girl run!”

All my uncles laughed as my dad told them about the Grape Trellis Incident of 1956.




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