Alban Perras ,who owned the block of houses on the south side of Third St which was home base for our Third Street Gang , and who was also Mayor 1947-49 was according to my best recollection a very cheerful and happy person and a doting parent. His wife ,on the other hand ,was ,to be kind , very high-strung , subject to very broad mood swings and not too fond of children.
When Alban's daughter Yvette indicated an interest in horses Alban proceeded to make it happen. He already had a garage across the street from his property which was easily converted into a stable for Yvette''s horse Lady Grey. The bigger task however was to create a riding ring for Yvette to practice in.
The property next to the house was big enough but had one impediment , a duck pond,which had earlier been the foundation hole for a building that was never built, so Alban began to have the pond filled in. The stuff he put in that hole would have been rejected by today's environmentalists especially a very black sooty material that was so sticky that only sunlight soap and a very strong scrubbing brush could remove it from one's skin basically by removing the first layer of epidermis. It was equally impervious to removal from clothing and other textiles.
Well the day before Halloween Madame Perras was in a particularly bad mood and banned us Third Street kids from her yard where we were playing and even tried to chase us away from the street in front of the Perras house. We decided that night that we had had enough of her ranting and raving for even the most minor of transgressions so we would play a Halloween prank a day early.
When it got dark enough we carefully gathered a bag of the aforementioned soot , emptied the bag across the front door step, and piled some against the door, and while the rest of us hid across the street in the long grass, Stanley Charles-- our chief daredevil-- rang the doorbell and then hid under the stairs. The inevitable screaming which came from the Perras doorway when Madame opened the door and having this wretched black stuff blow onto the carpet in the foyer was music to our ears and in our young minds a significant example of retributive justice.
Let's hope we can get some more stories like this..