When we moved to Cascade I was about 9, I was starting the third grade. Dad had worked really hard fixing the place up for Mom, working every evening and on the weekends to make the upgrades for her. It even had a chimney and a hearth in the living room but it was a fake one. But it looked homey. Except Mom insisted on putting plants in the fireplace hearth which took away from the look in my opinion. That house became the place I always thought of as my childhood home.
That block and the whole neighborhood was filled with kids and interesting characters. The Church we attended was only a three block walk from home so that made it easy for Sunday church. It was a true neighborhood church, small and all locals. My Sunday school teacher for the next several years was a man who had been in the war like so many. He had been shot by a Jap machine gun that stitched across his belly and chest. Of course, we guys thought that was really something. You tend to listen to a man who has been through something like that. We lived in that house for about 6 years. That was where I finished elementary school and started to jr. high.
Next door was the Windoms. The brothers were a lot older and quite nerdy but they did interesting things and had fun stuff. They were both very active in Scouts and the outdoors. They had their garage walls covered with old license plates. In those days you got a new license plate every year and some folks would take the old ones and nail them to the garage wall as a memento. They had them going back to the early ’30’s. They made their own bow and arrows from scratch. They caught an injured owl one time and nursed it back to health. It bit the devil out of the older brother. He had a big bandage on his hand for a couple of weeks. Then they let it go. Their grandfather was very old school. He wore a white Panama hat with bolo tie and shirt every day and spent lots of time sitting on the front porch. Sometimes he would tell us kids stories of the old west and Dallas from the pioneer days. He was very old then, in his nineties. We loved hearing the story of how his dad and some others had a gun battle with Comanches just outside Dallas after the War Between The States. Lots of shots but only a wound from and arrow and an Indian wounded by gunfire. Then each side went its separate way. It was fascinating to hear him tell about the first time he heard someone had flown in a machine and that cars would be replacing horses and buggies.
Next door was the neighbor with the boy who was retarded. It was sad. I remember being sad every time I would think about him. He had a sister who went to school with one of my cousins. Across the street was a fellow named Perry. He was also quite a bit older but he had lots of memorabilia his older brother brought back from the War. He would show us occasionally some of the things. A German helmet, a knife, some German insignia, belt and other things. Naturally all us guys thought that was pretty cool. Billy lived two house down. He was smallish for his age but a good athlete. He ended up playing tailback for Sunset which was a pretty big deal at the time. Next was Jimmy, who was member of the DeMolay, the youth group for Masons. My dad became a Mason while we were living on Cascade. Jimmy was also pretty nerdy but he tried hard to be one of the guys. He just wasn’t much of an athlete. But he played pretty good chess. I played with him often and the Windom brothers next door. I have no idea why I was interested at such a young age. I beat the younger Windom brother regularly which bugged him no end. He gave me a book on Chess strategy which I actually did read. Guess I was pretty nerdy too.
Up and the corner of Cascade and Pioneer was my best childhood friend, David. He was always tall and gangly. He was a good egg. Not very agile but he did play football with me and continued to play until his junior year in high school. We spent hours together goofing around and being guys. When the weather was nice we would always be outside doing lord only knows what. Late in the day when Dad was home and it was time for dinner my Dad would come to our front porch and whistle. He could whistle really loud. That was the signal for me to come home and eat. There were no excuses. I was expected to be close enough to hear it. You could hear it easy if the wind wasn’t blowing a block away. Of course I often said it didn’t hear it right away.
We played lots of stick hockey in the street with old tree limbs and tin cans for a puck. Hours were spent throwing and kicking the football in the street. This is where we lived when I got my first car and began working in the summers at the water plant. This is where I learned to drive and was allowed to drive to the 7/11 by myself when I was only 13 but I had to park without crossing Edgefield which was considered a busy street by Mom. I was really young and had no license of course but they trusted me. I even got to drive the car to the school dance when I was in the 7th grade that spring. It wasn’t very far but man did I feel like a big shot. To be continued…..
If total government control and central planning of the economy is the best formula for success one wonder why the Soviets aren’t King of the Mountain, with their people living off the fat of the land and happy as clams. We know how that story ended though don’t we. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com