Saturday, April 11, 2009

Heavener Memories

Some time ago John asked for more memories of life in Heavener.  Here is a set of some of my memories--not written in an eloquent style but just simple and short paragraphs.
I Remember---

 --getting up before daylight in the winter to lie in front of a gas stove to read by the light of its blue blaze when I was about ten.  It was there that I read John Fennimore Cooper’s book, “Deerslayer”.

 --dreading to go out of the house to the outdoor toilet early in the morning when I woke up on cold, wintry days, particularly if there was snow on the ground.

 --trying to walk home from school one day when there was about an inch of ice on the ground from freezing rain.  John Gartner (Bob’s father) met us at Campbell’s corner and picked us up in his 1953 Ford (I must have been in about the fifth grade then).  While we were riding the rest of the way he remarked that he had four new tires on the car for which he had paid $40 each.  That was a very large price for that period of time and I remember thinking that Daddy usually paid only about $50 for a whole set of four.

 --playing Tarzan in the maple tree in the southeast corner of our yard.  We would jump out and grab a limb and swing before dropping to the ground.  Bob Gartner missed the limb and landed on his hands after falling about ten feet.  He broke both arms just above the wrist and when we went into our house he pleaded with Mama, “Please don’t tell my folks.”  Of course she did but Daddy took him to see Dr. Hogaboom and helped set the bones.  Dr. Hogaboom pulled on one arm and Daddy on the other until the bones were back in line.  Daddy said that Bob never whimpered or let on in any way—just got white-lipped with sweat on his upper lip.

 --playing rubber guns.  We made them out of wood and used clothespins and inner tubes.  My pride and joy was a “six-shooter” I made that had six separate release mechanisms.  We would run all over the neighborhood shooting each other at distances from five to twenty-five feet.

 --going fishing when I was about ten at the large ponds that had been formed when the new highway was surfaced south of town.  I think I caught only one fish for all the times I went down there with my rod and reel and casting lures.  The times I used live bait I was more successful and I caught and released a lot of what seemed to be big fish (but were probably no more than six or eight inches long).  One day while I was there at the smaller of the two ponds I saw a surface wave about three inches high race from one end to the other at a speed I estimated to be more than ten miles per hour.  I don’t know what caused that wave to this day but always speculated that it was that “big ole catfish” that we all knew lived in the pond.

 --playing on the clay banks above the Davis home from the time I was about five until I was a teenager.  One time when I was about eight Jimmy Fred and I were running up the path and a snake struck at me.  It hit my pants leg and didn’t touch my skin.  I don’t know what kind of snake it was but I do remember that Jimmy and I also caught a small (~18 inches long) rattlesnake up there one day and hung it on a barb in a barbed wire fence.  This happened when I was less than six years old (I hadn’t started to school).

 --seeing tires piled up in the closet when I was about four or five.  WWII rationing may have still been in effect and, if it was, these were probably black market tires.  If it wasn’t, it was just after rationing went away and Daddy was squirreling tires away just in case it came back, I guess.

 --coming home from school at lunch time on cold days and entering a house full of clothes drying over the fire in the living and dining rooms.  Lunch was usually a generous supply of vegetable soup that had lots of potatoes and other vegetables in a tomato base with some hamburger thrown in.  The clothes gave the house a unique smell and raised the low humidity of the outside air to a much higher level.

 --leaving my job as the "swamper" of the Coffee Shop at 5:00 AM to drive south of town to Hodgens and back in the folks’ 1955 Chevrolet.  Some times I got up to 100 miles per hour on the straight stretch between Hodgens and the Poteau River bridge.  One time I was entering town at about 60 miles per hour and tried to turn at the Apostolic Church corner on what is now Avenue I.  I slid up almost to the church itself before I regained control.

 --going to the Poteau hospital in 1958 the morning my niece Lynn was born.  The windshield wipers on the car wouldn’t turn off so we (Doris, Mama, and I) went all the way with them on.  Then, when Lynn was in the viewing room Lee (Doris' husband) and I were standing side by side and the nurse asked me if my daughter was something great and asked Lee if he liked being an uncle.  Since both Lee and Doris are blond and have blue eyes it was an honest mistake on her part.


At April 11, 2009 at 9:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice memories, Glen. I don't remember back when I was just a little fella, for some reason, I remember climbing on the side of the FBC, slipping off and falling into the church basement; Mike Mattison's uncle Donnie had to come rescue me. I wasn't very big, nad I don't know how old I was. Don't have any idea how I did it, but we sure get into messes somehow when we were little, huh?

Maybe some revelation will come to me, and I'll remember some of the things when I was a little kid.

Thanks again for being able to remember that sort of stuff. I enjoyed it.


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