We shoot birds from its rooftop with a bb-gun. Bored, Joe, Mike and I scan the vacant yard and street. We creep the front yard past the chestnut tree and overgrown laurel. Up dilapidated steps, we encounter a locked entrance.
The mansion dwarfs all neighborhood homes. Rumors abound that a wealthy tycoon built it for his wife. After he died, she abandoned it. The wooden roof and south wall collapsed, leaving the pigeons to tenant the upper floor.
Sixth graders from Immaculate, Mike challenges us to break in. Joe and I suck up our courage, slam our shoulders against the door forcing it open. Flashlights in hand, we enter to an audience of spiderwebs, dust and rats. We forge ahead through spooked halls into a large dining room. I imagine gala parties and ballroom dances.
Maryknoll Church sponsored Troop 7, comprised mostly of Japanese and Filipino boys. Tommy Kobayashi, our scoutmaster, demonstrates how to tie knots and cook over an open fire. He organizes camping trips. On one outing, we overnight at American Lake. He fashions bamboo pools and illustrates how to fish with chamois. From a dock, I cast my line and troll the water. I catch my first crappie.
Fred Takahashi’s dad, Gentaro, also fishes. He rents a boat and rows us into Green Lake. We could barely see through the early fog. He baits our lines with salmon row and worms. Calls it “ham and eggs.” We limit.
Edrie Beltran takes Joe and me fishing on the Snoqualmie River near Fall City. His Uncle Modesto owns a farm along the banks. We carry fine poles with reels. For bait we gather periwinkles from a nearby creek. The rainbow strike hard.
Dad and I salmon fish Elliott Bay near the Duwamish Head. We motor in a small boat among the swarm of others. We bob and toss the cool salt water but don’t catch a thing. It was okay. He showed me how to tie a leader.