New Story

As a kid, I am not sure of the reason why, but I felt I could do about anything I wanted, or at least needed to do.  We weren't too destructive, just busy.  Being a baby boomer, we were born before TV or computers took over our lives.  We could honestly find things to do and there was no shortage of things to do it with.  I'm sure that some of the other parents worried about their children but mine just didn't seem to notice as much.  I think they probably wore themselves out worrying about my sisters and by the time I got there they were too tired to care.

A typical summer day started out with cereal and a dash outside.  Eugene was waiting on his porch as he wasn't allowed in the house except for meals and bathroom breaks.  I don't remember ever being in his house and he probably doesn't either.  Once we had escaped to the outside (or been thrown out in Eugene's case) that's when things happened. 

One of our main past times was baseball.  We had an open field up at the end of Byrd street and it was the scene of more major ballgames than anywhere else.  Seems like we could almost always find a base ball and equipment to play.  In a lot of cases, you had to share you ball glove with someone else when your team batted.  We would choose up sides and most of the little kids just played outfield.  Seems like there would always be five or six out there.  They mostly didn't have ball gloves as they probably couldn't catch a ball even if they did.  They would chase down well hit baseballs and throw it as near to the infield as they could. 

One day right in the middle of one of these epic games,  the baseball we were playing with just lost it's cover.  We wore that ball completely out.  At the time, Mrs. Bandy has some baseballs in her freezer.  I think that was the only place she could lock them up.  We went on a pop bottle raid and somehow collected up a dollar.  We went to the Bandy's house and she sold us one of those frozen baseballs.  I am not sure other than Christmas that any of us ever had a brand new baseball.  It was no stretch to say that we used that ball for weeks until it too was lost or fell apart.  The only hard part was who was the keeper of the ball between games?  I am not sure but because I was generally the one to start gathering up people to play, I think I took it home that night.   Do you know the difference between a home run and a run home?  The sound of broken glass. 

When we were kids, there was no such thing as air conditioning.  Outside was our playground and it mattered little who had been in the bath lately.  I think that Mrs. Sawyer started to take some of us to the swimming pool to help get rid of the stink.   I thought it was funny that her son Ronny was the poorest swimmer and when we broke down in to class groups Ron was a Tadpole most of the time.  I started swimming in lakes and rivers and think it would have been tough to drown me.  I could swim almost as fast under water as most people could swim on the surface. 

 544 Byrd Street
Byrd Street there on the east side of Wichita ran parallel to the parking lot for Beech Aircraft.  They ran their lights most nights until well after the second shift go off.  We played some great hide and go seek games and "Kick the Can" was one of my favorite games.  The person(s) who was it would hunt for us and then run back to the can to capture those found.  If someone else kicked over the can, everyone would be free and we would start over.  It was a lot like Monopoly as some games just ended without a winner or looser.  I did learn that Mrs. Browner had prickly pear cactus in her front garden -The hard way.  I jumped in the garden to hide as someone ran by and it was a real pain to have my mother pick all those little brown cactus splinters out.   I think I itched for a week.

Did I mention Firecrackers?  For at least a week prior to the 4th of July there was an eruption of Black Cat firecrackers all the time.  We tried our best to blow up things and make as much noise as we could.  It was really cool to take one of those little tomato sauce cans and see how high we blow one up.  I seem to remember that baby food came in cans prior to the glass bottles.  I am sure that the mailman would have to reach in and kind of sweep out the paper from all of the firecrackers set off in them.  My sisters seemed to always have one or two of their boyfriends over and they were the one's that brought the big stuff.  My favorite was the time that one of them brought over a 4 dollar string of black cats and set the whole string off.  I picked up at least a hundred duds and I was in tall cotton.  I sat down with a razor blade and disassembled those crackers into the flash powder that made them go band and the fuses that had black powder in them.  We were into making those model cars and there was no shortage of those little bumpy glass paint bottles from Testor's paint.  No, I wasn't smart about the idea of shrapnel.  I filled a bottle with all the gun powder I could get I there.  I took at least three fuses from another pack of firecrackers and taped them together.  I poked a hole in the lid and put that fuse in the hole.  I put it on a fence post and tried to outrun the glass pieces.  It was almost dark when I got it ready and it turned into daylight when it went off.  My sister thought it was funny when she had to pick the glass out of a bunch of places on my back.  It was kind of cool, but I was damned lucky to have been able to get out of the real beaten zone.  That bottle  just broke into about 1/4 inch pieces and must have been a couple of hundred of them. 

Oh well, in spite of my misadventures I managed to survive and have all my fingers and toes.  I won't brag about my hearing but I think the howitzers and rifles in the Army did more to hurt than an occasional explosions. 

Better see if Barb needs any help.


No comments:

Post a Comment