When I attended friend Tucker’s birthday party, just as I had predicted in the letter that I presented him with at his party and reprinted here last week, there were many other stories being told, and a lot of “Do you remember the time. . . .?” queries being exchanged.
Some of us remembered parts of certain happenings, someone else mentioned something else. We were a little shaky on some of the names, but together, and given a little time, we were able to come up with most of them.
Now, a week later, I am still searching for names to go with a couple of the faces. We all remembered most of what I mentioned in my letter to Tuck as well as several other occasions.
We all remembered the time that in an organized line we ran across the steps to the Kimmeys house, stomping all the way. We all recalled that one of us broke through the steps, becoming temporarily stuck.
But from that point we remembered differently.
I always thought that it was John Fero who went through the step. John says that it was Tucker, and Tucker remembered that it was David Sincebaugh, who lived next door to the Feros.
However, John and Tucker agreed that it was Tuck who was chased with a broom by the Kimmeys “Aunt Bert.”
Did they ever buy the girdle?
Then there is the famous downtown bus trip. Several neighborhood kids got on a bus and traveled the several miles to downtown where they paraded around behind our friend and neighbor Jimmy Smith, who apparently assumed the leadership role of one of our mothers while wearing some of his mother’s clothes.
I didn’t go because I decided I should ask my mother first. That explanation always seems to get some snickers from the group when we discuss the adventure these days.
John and Tucker both remember that the object of the trip was to buy Jimmy’s mother a new girdle. Tuck said that one of the bus drivers questioned the travelers as to who they were with, but the trip went on. Don’t ask me for further details; remember, I wasn’t there.
I do know that the adventure ended abruptly when several mothers of the voyagers became angry and upset and met their children at the bus stop after I, as the only dissenter to the trip, told them where their children might be.
At one point the afternoon’s discussion focused on “the dump,” which was located between the backyards at the end of Wiman Avenue, where at one point we could walk on to the roof of an eight-foot-tall garage on one street and jump to the ground on the other.
(Could that be why a couple of us suffer from chronic backaches, we wondered).
We spent hours playing in the “dump,” digging tunnels and forts into the piles of ashes that had been piled there years ago –and getting very dusty and dirty – or, in the winter, sliding down the hill between the streets.
As we usually do when we talk about playing touch football in the street in front of our house, someone mentioned Mrs. Galanis, who always came out on her front porch and threatened to call the police when one of our errant kicks or passes hit the power lines in front of her house.
At least some of the relationships which began on Wiman Avenue have been long-lasting. Being among friends who grew up on the street attending a birthday party for one of the clan 75 years later must be testimonial to that fact.
A new little neighbor
The long wait is over for our little neighbor friends, Andrew and Nathan (and for their Mommy and Daddy).
Their little sister, Darcy Joy, was born on July 9. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces.
The boys’ father was trying to get them used to the idea of having an addition to the family. For a couple of weeks, a third seat had joined the ones in the back of the family car used by Andrew and Nathan – that would be for the baby.
While waiting for the baby’s arrival, I heard through Oma, Andrew’s grandma, that he was saying that the newcomer was going to be a brother named Sean. Nathan was expecting to play with the new baby right away.
After baby Darcy’s arrival, I asked Andrew about his new little sister and got a double “thumbs up,” so I guess everything is OK.
Valley Field Days
When I was a kid growing up, one of the highlights of summer for us kids was the Valley Field Days.
We looked forward to it as soon as summer vacation started and trekked the mile or so from our house every day to spend our allowance and savings on games, rides and food.
As I wrote in 2009, “I am sure I visited the Valley Field Days every year from when I was less than a year old and rode there in my baby buggy, until well more than 30 years later when we took our own kids there.”
The Valley Field Days was started in 1933 by the Valley Men’s Club, in the middle of the depression, to “give people something fun to do.” Thousands of special needs children are helped every year by the event.
I don’t get to the Field Days every year any more – I have less of a need to be hammered by “The Hammer,” whirled around by the “Tilt-a-Whirl;” I have no desire to bring a stuffed Teddy Bear home; or stuff a cone of “candy cotton” into my mouth.
But I do feel a special kind of nostalgia when the colorful posters advertising that annual event start appearing on telephone poles – as they did recently in the neighborhoods surrounding our home.
. . . Roy Hodge