A Baby Boomer's Scrapbook
Out of Life's School and Into School Life.
was a good year. Suddenly, I was in
the arms of a beautiful women, surrounded by even more women, just waiting to
hold me in their arms (Grandma was probably there and I'm sure
of the way it happened, I hope to leave this life at least as well as I came
you might expect, there isn't much to remember at the beginning, but I do
remember a few things about my early childhood.
For some reason though, the scoldings and spankings seem to stand out
more than the more pleasant memories. I
suspect that childhood traumas, both small and large, have a way of sticking in
your head. One of the first memories
is when grandma scolded me for eating the earthworms that lived in the dark
black dirt under the porch. I
remember the scolding but, unfortunately, not how delicious the worms must have
maybe I'm getting ahead of myself and should say a little about how I got from
the hospital to that dark dirt underneath Grandma's porch.
Dad grew up in Bannister,
and Dad were married in September of 1945 and I arrived in July of '46.
few months after my brother Roger was born in February of '48, we moved to
have a very few vague memories of
remember my Dad and his friends making and flying big box kites in a strong
also remember getting my mouth washed out with soap. Mom says that I would sometimes bite
other kids when I didn't get my way so that was her solution. I don't remember the biting parts of my
life but I sure do remember the soap-in-the-mouth parts.
may remember some other things about the trailer park we lived in, but it could
be only memories from looking at the black and white pictures Mom has kept. Some photos are of several trailers that
were overturned by a tornado. I
guess we were lucky that ours wasn't one of them.
didn't work out as well as planned for Dad and, after about a year and a half in
went to work for a while at Trombley Motors, a Studebaker dealer, where he did
auto body work. When a friend of his
was fired, Dad quit too and went to work at a General Motors plant in
at GM, Dad was driving the 1946 Ford sedan that he bought new with his
“mustering out” pay when he got out of the Army. The seat covers were wearing thin so Dad
began to carry scraps of upholstery cloth home from the GM plant in his lunch
had built a home on
that gets me back to the worms under Grandma's front porch where, afterwards,
the memories start to pile up a little faster.
milk, the milkman also brought big blocks of ice for Grandma's icebox. He would set the ice on the back porch
along side the bottles of milk. The
quart bottles were clear glass and had no labels except for the words on the
white cardboard caps. You could
always see the yellowish cream floating at the top of the bottle.
also remember the big iron tongs that Grandpa and the milkman used to use when
they carried the ice blocks.
when he came home, Grandpa would use large iron tongs to pick up and put the new
block of ice in the icebox. Sometimes
Grandpa would let me try to lift the ice with the tongs, but was always too
small to lift those big ice blocks. It
was fun when we got to eat the large clear chunks of melting ice that were
removed from the icebox when the big new block of ice was put in.
was a small open field across the street between houses to the left and right. It was the width of an ordinary yard but
went all the way back to the dike that "helped" to keep the
back to the vacant lot. The lot was occasionally mowed but much of the time it
was overgrown with tall weeds that my brother and I would play in. There are a couple of vivid events that I
recall related to that vacant lot.
was an older girl with the last name of Wrathel who lived in the house just to
the right of the lot. When I say
older I mean maybe 7, 8 or 9, but I'm not sure.
I don't remember her first name either and, although Mom says it may have
been Betty, I'll call her Eve just for this story.
For propriety's sake and to protect the innocent I won't go into much
detail, but one nice summer day, Eve took me into the tall grass in that lot
beside her house and decided to show me, at the tender age of 4 or 5, some
things that she thought I ought to know. Apparently
the weeds weren't quite tall enough and my mother saw us and decided that I was
probably too young for that particular lesson and, with stick in hand, Mom cut
that phase of my education short. I
didn't understand at the time what I had done wrong, especially since Eve didn't
get a spanking like I did.
are probably lots of lessons in there about fairness and discipline and older
women and such but who knows? Of
course, I did eventually catch on about why my mother was upset but, by that
time, hormones had begun to take over and any potential lessons I got from the
experience were probably strategically ignored.
other event related to that empty lot had to do with two of Eve's older
brothers. They caught a large
snapping turtle in the river and had dragged it there to try and do it in. Using a machete, they took turns and
hacked and hacked at that poor turtle until it must have died a death of a
thousand cuts. They continued to
hack on the shell for a long time in an effort to get the meat out so they could
cook and eat it. Finally, after
giving up from exhaustion, they decided to wait until their Dad came home from
work to finish the job.
also remember learning to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in front of Wrathel's
house. At the time, the sidewalk
only ran on the other side of the street and sloped slightly downhill from Terry
Mashue's house on the right to just past the vacant lot on the left. Terry had a 20" bike that was just
right for a five year old. He was a
couple of years older and would hold the bike up while I got on at the top of
the hill and get me started until I fell on my trip down the hill. My falls began to occur further and
further down the hill and I finally got the hang of it. Terry was very patient for being so
young. I also remember some real fun
snowball fights with Terry and his younger brother.
Terry was a part of another, more serious, event later in my life. Both of our families moved away from
a brighter note, the elementary school near Grandpa's house where I went to
Kindergarten was only a couple of blocks away.
Mom would walk me there and back sometimes but most of the time I would
walk with several other kids in the neighborhood that went to the same school.
are three things that I remember clearly from that school.
was a cornfield just behind the school and one bright, cold, fall day I pulled
an ear off of a stalk and found that it was an ear of popcorn. I took it to the
teacher to show her and the other kids and instead of being happy to see it, she
scolded me for taking the farmer's corn and made me put it back in the
time, I discovered how tasty that white paper paste was and began eating more
than I put on the paper project I was working on.
The teacher didn't like that either.
last thing I remember from Kindergarten was when I raised my hand to ask the
teacher to go to the bathroom, she told me that it was almost time to go home
and that I could hold it until then.
couldn't and left a puddle under the chair when I left for home that day.
teacher never said a word to me and, after that, always let me go to the
bathroom when I asked.