First Friends

The first day we moved our trailer to Hazel Avenue, I remember watching my Dad shake hands with, Ed Cottrell, our next door neighbor. His son, Barry or “Bud,” and I shook hands, initiating a friendship that continued until we moved. The Cottrells had a bunch of girls and Barry, the only boy. Soon afterwards, I met Mike Moore, a other good pal through the rest of my Lima years. He sang on the Authur Godfrey TV Show when he was only 5-years old. This made him quite a local celebrity for a while. Mike, Bud, and I attended the same neighborhood church, Calvary United Church of Christ.

A group of neighborhood guys gathered to watch the Long Ranger and Howdy Doody on black & white televisions,  though few had them before the late 50s, and the screens were small. I recall being astounded by the first color TV show I ever saw: Bonanza. Color television still amazes me. I am still amazed by the miraculous technology that beamed color videos instantaneously across the world.

We spent much of our time in trees. The empty lot across the street had four huge old oak tress. We claimed one for our tree fort. Watching us scramble around in the tall oak tree particularly made my dad nervous. He’d never say anything to us, but sometimes would call mom and tell her to order us down from the tree. We never stayed down for long though.

I did have one near-death tree experience. Hundreds of acres of woods sat between our neighborhood and the railroad. We roamed it for hours, playing cowboys and Indians, or just exploring. One day we climbed a couple tall flexible trees. I don’t know the variety, but it was very springy and we could sway way back and spring forward like a pole-vaulter. I was enjoyed on that must have been about 30 feet tall, when it snapped dropping me strait on my back. The air was totally pushed form my lungs, and I laid on the ground gasping for air. After a few minutes my friends helped me to me feet and escorted me home. I was gasping all the way, thinking this was the big one. I don’t think I was ever so scared. Luckily, nothing was broken, and by the time I reached home, I could again breath normally. Never tried that again!

A Broken Collarbone

When I was five, I fell off our picnic table and broke my collar bone. Dad drove us downtown to the doctor’s office. He put my shoulder in some kind of wrap, so that I couldn’t lower my arm. It stuck straight up in the air.

Mom & I had to take a bus home. I remember sitting on the bus, crying. As we passed the Montgomery Ward store, mom pointed out at a swing in their display window, I shook my head and sobbed, “I never be able to swing again!”