I first became interested in Bill Taylor when I met one of his younger sisters at a slumber party. She was adorable and told us she had seven brothers and sisters. The oldest boy in the family was my age. I hadn’t met him or even seen him yet but I was already in love with him because Joanie was so adorable. I guess that’s as good or bad a reason as I ever had for choosing a boyfriend. I had a lot of fun with Bill, or Wild Will as we sometimes called him. Bill was always with Peter and usually with Bob (Bubba) and sometimes with George. So when Bill came over he brought a houseful of boys with him. They came over almost every day. I had a bunch of cute girlfriends who hung out there too.
They all called me “Tish” because that’s what my mother called me. My mom was really popular with my friends. She really was amazingly tolerant. I remember one time I was making candles and everyone found out how outside the box my mother could be. I used to buy “Gulf wax” from the gas station and melt it in a pot on the stove. I added crayons for color and poured the melted wax into various molds. One of the most popular molds was the Coke bottle. It was simple enough to pour the wax into the bottle with a funnel. The problem was getting the bottle off the candle without damaging the candle. We figured out that you had to wait for the wax to cool almost completely and then you could shoot the bottle with a BB gun to shatter the bottle off of the candle. The aim had to be perfect so you would hit the bottom rim of the bottle and not damage the wax. We all had to practice. Except for probably Peter, who most likely couldn’t be bothered. He really deserves his own story.
So, Bill was out in my carport shooting at the coke bottles and I guess he decided to shoot some other stuff for whatever reason. I suppose it looked like the neighbors who live behind us and to the right weren’t home when he shot at their sliding glass door. He didn’t even get a chance to run inside or put the gun down when the neighbor came out and started yelling at him. Bill just stood there holding the BB gun and kept saying “I didn’t do it” which was absurd because he was literally holding a smoking gun. My mom came outside and the neighbor came over and dragged my mom over to his glass door to show her where the BB had hit the door and put a chip in the glass. Bill was still holding the gun when my mom asked him “Billy, did you shoot this nice man’s window?” and Bill answered “No, ma’am”. I’m sure calling her “ma’am” was inspired and brilliant because it actually worked. My mother put her arm around Bill and turned to the neighbor and said “If he says he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it”. Amazing. He was still holding the gun and smiling from ear to ear. The rest of us just watched in amazement. Peter could imitate my mother perfectly saying those words. It still makes me laugh when I think about it.