The Way It Was – Between the sheets


Editor’s note: This is another column in Bill Boyd’s new series, “The Way It Was,” about growing up in Marysville. Bill continues to work with the Union County Historical Society to obtain information for his stories. With Marysville and Union County celebrating Bicentennial anniversaries in 2019 and 2020, respectively, these articles help depict what life was like in those early years.

It was the end of Marysville’s 1949-50 basketball season, and we finished with a season record of 19 wins and 1 loss. That one loss was a squeaker to Westerville High School. But now it was time to prepare for the Central District Tournament, which was played at Otterbein College.
We practiced hard to prepare for the tournament, and our pregame procedures were changed. We would eat our pregame meal at the home of our coach, Warren Widener. He wanted to make sure we ate properly and got some rest before each tournament game.
Warren’s wife, Polly, cooked dinner for all of us. We ate early, long before game time, and then we played cards for a short time. Then, Coach Widner sent some of us upstairs to lie down and get some rest. He knew we wouldn’t sleep, but we could lie on the beds and relax.
Before each game, Bud Hoffman and I used Warren and Polly’s bedroom. We talked some about the game we would play that night, but we spent most of the time just talking about the kind of things kids talk about. This worked well throughout the tournament, right up to the final game with Asheville High School.
The procedure for that final game was the same. But as Bud and I lay there talking, we thought it would be fun to play some kind of joke on Warren and Polly. We talked about it for a while, and I suggested that we short-sheet their bed. My bed had been short-sheeted a few times when I was at Boy Scout camp. Bud wasn’t in the Boy Scouts, so he didn’t know what it was. I explained it to him, and he thought it was a great idea. So we went to work on it.
We removed the bedspread, blanket and pillows. We then took the head of the top sheet and tucked it under the mattress as if it were the bottom sheet. Next we took the foot of that sheet and folded it up to within about six inches of the top of the bed, so the top sheet appeared to be two sheets, one on top and one on the bottom. Then we replaced the blanket, bedspread and pillows. It looked perfect.
While we were doing all this, Bud couldn’t stop laughing. This was going to be great. When Warren and Polly went to bed that night, they would find that their feet could only go down into the sheet maybe two or three feet. We both had a good laugh. It was a great joke to play on them.
While we were in the locker room, dressing for the game, I told Bud, “You know, after short-sheeting that bed, we better win this game. Otherwise they may not think it is funny.”
We did win the game, so Bud and I couldn’t wait to get to practice the next day. We wanted to hear Warren talk about trying to get his feet down between the sheets the night before. Then, Bud and I would laugh like crazy.
But when we got to practice the next day, Coach Widner didn’t say a word about it … not a single word. And when we saw Polly, she didn’t say a word about it either. What in the world could have gone wrong? Maybe their room was so hot that they slept on top of the bedspread. Or maybe they slept somewhere else … on the sofa or someplace like that.
Bud and I both thought about it for a few days, and I’ll tell you what I think happened. I think the trick worked fine, and they couldn’t get their feet down between the sheets. So they got up and remade the bed.
If it had been up to Warren, I’m sure he would have said something to us the next day. But knowing Polly the way I did, I think she wanted to turn our prank upside down. They would both pretend it never happened.
Yes, I would bet the farm on it. And none of us ever mentioned it again. They didn’t want to admit that we had put one over on them. And we didn’t want to admit that they had put one over on us. And that’s the way it stayed for the rest of our lives.
Both Warren and Polly played a big part in my life as a teenager in Marysville. I have many memories of both of them. And none of those memories is clearer then the day Bud Hoffman and I short-sheeted their bed. If I had a chance to do the same thing again tonight, I would do it in a heartbeat … even though I know they wouldn’t admit it tomorrow morning.
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