Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Memories of my childhood

Glen did such an outstanding job of his childhood memories one day last week, I commented if I had a revelation, I would try to blog on some of my memories. Well, I tried to think of something the next two nights and not a great deal came to mind. But I liked the format he used, so with that in mind, I remember …

• my first “date.” Actually, it was a sweetheart banquet. I went with Nancy Jane Gilstrap, we must have been 5 or 6 years old. How can I remember that far back? Well, when we visited Nancy in Purcell , OK several years ago, Nancy said something about it. She explained to her husband Lee that she and I used to be “sweethearts.” I barely remember it, but I suppose we knew each other from Sunday school and our folks, being matchmakers like all good parents, tried to set us up. Yep, I started dating really young.

• a very early birthday party. The only reason I remember it is because my mother had a picture of me, Nancy (the same girl I was with at the sweetheart banquet, Janis Franklin, Mike Mattison, Russell Walker (my next-door neighbor) and other little kids. We must have been around 6 or 7.

• when Paul Albert Riggins (we used to call him P.A., but I suppose now that he’s older, he goes by Paul) and I went riding on his motorcycle. We both had on Heavener Wolves shirts and thought we were really stylin’. Tate’s had some shirts which were gold with purple stripes on the shoulders (like jerseys). I don’t know how old we were, but I guess there was a minimum age to even own a motorcycle. Maybe we were 14 or 15?

• me and my cowboy hat. I must have been about 3 or 4, because my mother had a picture of me wearing it in the front yard and my dad said I used to wear it everywhere, except to bed, and that I probably would have then if I could have gotten away with it.

• jumping off the roof on to the ground. I must have been 4 or 5. There’s no way I would try that now. I’m so afraid of heights now that Cynthia has to get to get on the roof to blow off the limbs or leaves from the gutters.

• playing football in the back yard at night. The lights from the old Phillips’s 66 station were bright enough for me to see. I would toss the ball on the ground and catch it on the bounce and run through the hedge, to simulate tacklers. My dad made me stop because I was wearing all the leaves and limbs out in the hedge running through them so often. I was probably 9 or 10.

• bouncing the baseball off the concrete blocks under the carport. I would play my simulated games, but the shingles above the bricks kept getting in the way, for some reason. After I broke so many shingles, dad made me stop. That’s when I was 10 or 11, I guess.

• practicing switch-hitting by swatting gravel rocks across the fence into Mrs. Eaton’s yard or Mr. Parker’s next door. Again, dad forced me to stop because I hit enough rocks, making the yards difficult to mow. Especially, since I mowed Mrs. Eaton’s yard, too.

• doing the same thing at my grandparent’s house in Stilwell during the summers when I was between 10 and 14-years-old. There were no yards next door, just a wide-open field at the end of the street and I was swinging an olf broom handle or something. I finally gave up on the switch-hitting idea. I figured I could strike out just as easily swinging from just the right side when I started playing organized baseball.

• my cousin, Clifton Crawford, from Marble City , OK , and I slept on an old bed outside my grandparents house in the country. No mattress, just some old bed springs, covered by a quilt when we were just 8 or 9. Or we slept in the bed of grandpa’s old truck. It didn’t matter how uncomfortable we were because it was out under the stars. Yipee!

3 Comments:

At April 14, 2009 at 8:42 AM , Blogger Chuck Hudlow said...

Your description of your "first date", John, brought back memories of mine. I wouldn't have remembered it if my Mom hadn't taken pictures of us with her old Kodak box camera.

I didn't start as young as you, though. I'm guessing I was in the 4th or 5th grade...but not sure. Like yours, though, mine was a 'sweetheart banquet' at the First Baptist Church. As I recall, they had those annually on Valentine's Day back then.

My first date was with Linda Norwood, a classmate in school. The picture Mom took, has us standing at attention, side-by-side, in the living room of my home. Linda was a good 6" taller than me and we were both dressed in our finest. Linda had a "formal" on with the flower my Mom had bought me to give her, pinned on near her shoulder-blade. I had what appeared to be a tweed suit on with a bow tie.

I don't remember much about our evening except for the grand finale. Can you imagine this: After the banquet, my Mom drove us to the Rock Cafe, located on the highway near the Wister turn-off, and waited outside in the car while I took Ms. Norwood inside the cafe and ordered us soft-drinks. We sat in a booth, drinking our soft drinks, while every truck driver in the cafe gave us the once-over. I'm sure we looked cute in our fancy outfits. I still remember how uncomfortable I was in that place. I often wondered what Linda thought about that stop-off, but she never said anything, that I remember. After we drank our soft drinks, I paid, and we returned to the waiting car outside and then on our respective homes.

 
At April 14, 2009 at 2:20 PM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...

John, what do you mean--you have no memories? Those were excellent. I am blessed (or maybe cursed) with a full set of memories from my early days in Heavener. I am pulling together a some of them to leave to my kids when I am gone so they will know how the old man lived. I wish my folks and grandparents had done the same. As it is, I have only my memories of their early lives.

 
At April 15, 2009 at 8:08 PM , Blogger colin said...

I'm on board with what Glen said. Us old guys ought to record whats worth telling as best we can so those that follow after us can know who we were. I say that and I have not done much about it though. However a few years ago I did put together a pretty thorough biography of my Mother based on stories that she has told to me and interviews I had done with her brothers and sisters. She is the only one of her family still living and I am glad that I have the record of her life. Who knows someone might enjoy knowing a liitle bit about what I was like some day. Probably not! colin

 

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