Otto , Freida and their three boys were the first neighbours we had at the section house in Mattawa .
For some of that time , her father came to live with them , no longer able to care for himself alone . Being unfamiliar with German names , I thought his name was Mr. Kenny Geezer .
Thinking back , it was an appropriate interpretation despite being an approximation . He was very old and not at all sociable . He had only sporadic wisps of white hair on his head . His hooked nose and large ears stuck out in such a way as to make his skull appear smaller , on the top of his tall ,slightly hunched body .
The eldest grandson , when responding to questions from curious children , simply said , " You had better stay away from him ! He doesn't LIKE kids ." With a very serious direct stare transferring things unsaid . That was all my timid soul and active imagination needed to create the unforgettable character I did- fear and fascination . The stage was set .
Mr. K-Geezer's behaviours did nothing to allay my fears...just enhance them . If he even moved around outside , I would run inside to safety . From what , I couldn't really say . My friend , Tudy , and I would spy on him at every opportunity . After a very short time living next door , we began to notice peculiar behaviour .
Once in a while the old man walked into the bush , always turning back at the edge of the forest for a look behind . Inevitably , he saw us staring back. After an hour or so , he returned with his large burlap sack full of something we didn't know , hidden from view . After he deposited it into the shed , he scanned the outside again and locked the door securely.
Every midday , the old man would release the shed padlock , swing his gaze from side to side , then open the door just wide enough to slip inside . At once , he closed the door and threw the bolt on the inside . At five o'clock , he slid silently out , padlocked the door behind him and went inside the house .
Such actions immediately raised hair on my arms . That shed was never locked until he came . In fact , we had no interest in it at all , until the lock went on the outside . What was he hiding .
Tudy and I tried to glean as much information as possible : Tudy , by the direct frontal approach ; I by stealth because I was too scared to do it any other way .
First , we tried several methods to get a look at the inside of the shed . We snuck to the edge of the house and hoped that he would swing the door open far enough to see . Not a chance . He always slid sideways through the narrow opening .
Next , we hid among the willows and tall grass , a little closer , at a better angle to look through the door during the short opportunity presented when he came out . Still no info .
Finally , we decided to try and peek through the window at the top of the wall. I held Tudy up to look inside . After a moment , she tumbled down from my arms , weak with fear ( my arms that is ) , and announced that the window was too dirty and the shed too dark to see much . Just the firewood against the far wall .
My methods obviously were not working . Time for Tudy's approach . When Freida came out with her laundry , Tudy started up a conversation . Eventually , she asked " What does that old man do in the shed all day ?"
" Oh , he just putters with axes and such ."
This was not enough to quieten the thoughts in our heads . Neither was the form of Mr. K standing inside the house watching us through the kitchen window as we scurried next door .