When I was about four we moved into town, which was the tiny city of Van about five miles away from where we had been out in the country. The little old house my parents rented sat on a corner across from the local high school football stadium. Across the street lived the Perrys and the vacant lot next door soon had a brand new brick home (with a garage!) occupied by the Monds family, whose daughter Lisa was my age.
Behind us lived a nice middle-aged lady in a mobile home which fascinated my brother and me, and once when we visited her with our mother, we got to see her fish aquarium, which was even more intriguing. We had never seen such a thing in someone’s home before. In fact, we had never seen a home made of metal with a tongue for pulling, either.
|My brother Allen in 1963 with his metal farm truck. The field house and high school football stadium are behind him.
Across the other street (we were on a corner), a pump jack seesawed up and down day and night pumping oil. Van experienced an oil boom back in 1929, attracting thousands of people. Only a couple of thousand people live in the city now, but pump jacks can still be seen doing their jobs. With the active imaginations of young children, my brother and I pretended the pump jack near us was an angry monster. I didn’t want to go anywhere near it. Allen, on the other hand, always showing off for his sisters, declared he could ride it if he could get on it somehow. I never knew if he was serious or just trying to get a rise out of his protective older sister.
We kids were fortunate that there was a sandbox, not just a sand pile, in our yard under some trees. We spent many an hour out there, playing in the gritty sand, never telling our mother about the moist little clumps of dirt we would find, which were probably cat feces (Ew!), because the sandbox was never covered. It’s a wonder we ever made it to adulthood.
Did you ever do anything you’d never let your kids or grandkids do now?
Stay tuned. . .next time: JFK.