The Time Penny Was Attacked by The Killer Bees
When I was a delinquent young teenager in Capitola, I had some friends with whom I regularly got into trouble had adventures. (See: My First Brush With The Law). One of the places we would regularly go to find trouble was the colloquially named ‘monastery’, formally know as The Rispin Mansion.
(Side note: If you view the more recent photos, note we did NOT spray paint the place, or destroy the statues, and were quick to lecture those who did. We loved that place. I would like to see it restored but it’s going to be torn down and turned into a Bed & Breakfast or something.)
The monestary/Rispin Mansion was once a beautiful mansion built in 1922 by a wealthy man, reported to have transported liquor during the Prohibition.
It seemed only fitting we should go there to drink illegally.
The place once had beautiful parquet floors and statues. It still had secret hidden rooms, and a sliding bookcase. People, I couldn’t make this shit up – I’m not that imaginative. IT WAS AWESOME!
The place was abandoned around 1958, and it’s considered trespassing to be on the grounds.
Yet another good reason for us to go there. Regularly.
One day Sonja, Penny and I were there for our usual smoking festival. (We smoked clove cigarettes, but weren’t old enough so we had to find less conspicuous places to do this.) Three considerably younger boys happened to already be there, throwing rocks from the balcony at a beehive (correction: yellow jackets) just down the slight slope between the mansion and adjacent Soquel Creek.
The yellow jackets were swarming around the hive. Understandably. You’d be pissed, too, if some kids were throwing rocks at your house.
While those boys continued annoying the yellow jackets, we wandered around a while looking for some new trouble we hadn’t yet discovered and smoking our cloves. I wandered outside and looked up one of the short staircases leading to the mansion and spotted a cop at the top of the stairs.
I was always the one to see the cops first. It’s like I have a built in cop radar. A Cop-dar. (You heard it hear first, peeps!)
So, once again, I find myself yelling “COPS!” at the top of my lungs while running back into the mansion to warn the others.
I don’t know where the boys went, but they got away. Sonja and I ran along the slope between the mansion and the creek.
Penny forgot about the hive. She ran straight through it and into the small creek.
She was being stung by a couple hundred really pissed-off yellow jackets. She was calling to us to come help her, but we couldn’t get near her without suffering the same painful fate. We convinced her to make her way down the creek a bit and away from the yellow jackets.
She had tried to get under the shallow water to deter them, but she said they kept stinging her – even under water. These were serious killer yellow jackets – they were out to get her.
The cops must have decided this was way more trouble than it was worth and they just disappeared. Nice, huh?
We were about 14 years old and none too bright. She was in a lot of pain. Red welts were popping up all over her. Somehow we decided she needed to go to the hospital – no doubt the first brilliant thought we’d had in a while.
Having already had our one brilliant thought for the day, iInstead of going to a neighbor or the nearby restaurant (no cell phones back then), we decided to take her to the hospital ON. THE. BUS.
Yes, people, we took her to the hospital ON THE MUNI BUS! Granted, we didn’t realize she was moments away from DYING.
Note to my readers: Lots of bee stings = anaphylactic shock. Get to the hospital AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. DON’T TAKE THE BUS.
It’s a wonder we all survived our childhood fairly unscathed.
All three of us were sitting in the back of the bus (’cause that’s where the delinquents usually sit), and poor Penny was pulling bees out of her hair as we just watched, dumbfounded. We felt so bad for our friend, but were at a loss for how to help her.
She was barely conscious when we arrived. The doctor said if she had come two minutes later, she would have been in a coma or dead. She had been stung over two-hundred times.
She was eventually released with an epi-kit. When you’re stung so many times, you develop a life-long allergic reaction. Even a single bee sting becomes deadly.
I’m happy to say Penny is alive and well and writes her own blog. She considers herself to be conservative (correction: ‘square’) these days. She turned out really normal, probably because she went to boarding school. Me? Not so much. No boarding school, not much of high school, either. Heh.