childhood tales II

STORY #9 "HEY, I DIDN'T KNOW ANY BETTER...OK!"

It was nearly four years, and I was getting over my English racer bike! It was a three speed, and I never went fast enough to change to a higher gear. The headlight didn't work anymore, and besides, the light got brighter the faster you went with the generator on, and was out every time you stopped. For Christmas 1962 I got a Sears(Dad loved Sears) J.C. Higgins 26" bike....red and white. It was really 
plain looking. I wanted some kind of accessory? My money was short, so I invented a few bike items from hardly nothing. I took an empty toilet tissue roll and made me an exhaust pipe....really! I closed it off on both ends with scotch tape, and taped it to the rear frame on my bike. I put a small opening on the top so I could pour Mom's baby power in it. Every time I hit a bump my pipes would smoke! I wrapped foil around them so they would shine. All the kids would remember the clothes pin and a playing card positioned so they would make noise on the spokes of the wheel. Mine was different....I had a string on one side so I could pull it while riding. On the other side, I had a rubber band to pull back the card when you let go of the string. While riding, it would sound like you were shifting gears with the card back and forth in the spokes. I think Mattel stole my idea when they came out with the 'vroom bike motor? I thought that a flag blowing in the wind would look real good! I went to G.C. Murphys and got a pretty flag to put on the rear of my bike! It was pretty....black and white stars in an X pattern. There were stars up and down the X pattern that I figured would look slick on my bike! I took it to the cashier to pay for it. She looked at me...looked at the flag....looked at me.....looked at the flag and said "little boy, are you sure you want to buy this?" She said "you don't want to buy this flag" but I was insistent....I want that flag! She said "ok" and sold it to me! Here I am going down the street with the flag blowing in the wind! Everyone was pointing...looking....checking me out, and I was eating up all this attention! Everyone was pointing everywhere I went! One of my Dad's friends said, "you won't believe what that boy of yours is doing now!" One of my teachers saw me and stopped me...."Why do you have that flag on your bike?" I said that "It's pretty, and everyone points to it!" She gave me a quick History lesson right there about black & white, and what the flag meant!! I quietly took the flag off my bike, put it in my desk drawer, and never took it out again! Hey.....I didn't know...ok?? Could you imagine the conversation around the dinner table at the Murphy's cashiers house....It would start..."honey, you are not going to believe this! Guess who came in the store today, and guess what he bought..............???
 

  
STORY #10 "SHEP!"

We rode bikes on the weekend everywhere! Ronald, Elmer, Reggie, Ronnie, a few more would all get together and ride with us all over town! We rode to Boonsboro, Fort Hill Village, Horseshoe Bend(Concord Turnpike), and all the way to the airport! We would ride on the unbuilt expressway from Candlers Mt. Rd, before it connected to Kemper St. We would go through Fort Ave, then ride the expressway back home! We went with heads down speeding past where C.B Fleet is now...moving it! Suddenly up ahead, there was a section where the road was unfinished, and there was a large gap there! Each of us did an Evel Knieval across the space which wasn't there last week! We rode the expressway all the time, till they opened it up to traffic! We got chased by dogs, stopped by a gang of people for riding in their area, and stopped by the police. We got ambushed by rocks while riding on Mayflower Dr, near where the DMV is today! Luckily, some fast pedaling, ducking and dodging, no one got hit! We would go down "thrill hill"(Monroe St. 4th to Hollins St.)! Hollins Mill Rd, Fillmore St, down 19th St. hill, (they were connected by a steep hill)! Dog's...dogs, yes we were chased by dogs! Elmer got bit once on his leg, we think it was a certain collie? Lets hit 19th St. hill....ok....19th street went to Taylor, and then back home! Here we go! We all took off down 15th, turn down Fillmore.....heads down....speeding a pack of ten bikes... suddenly we heard a big bark a ways down Fillmore St...the most feared dog in the neighborhood..... Here comes "Shep" a full grown collie looking dog the size of Lassie! Yes I said "Oh no" again! The pack passed before Shep got out, and he was chasing us on the bike! I was always slow, so I was about a block behind, Shep didn't see me.... The bike pack sped down the street, Shep gave up and slowed down. I hit Shep dead in the butt! There was a bundle of bike, dog, street all bundled together! I hardly remembered a thing, only that I was hurting! My bike with twisted handlebars and a bent wheel was over there. I was lying on the ground over there, and Shep was whimpering loudly over there! I was yelling, Shep was yelling, when the big White lady ran down the front steps...."Oh my God....Oh my God....Shep, my baby" She picked Shep up in her arms and ran into the house! She didn't pay any attention to me, I had cuts and bruises everywhere! I limped home with my broken bike, and Dad got out the alcohol! and the band-aids! I guess when the pack got to Taylor St, head count, we're missing one...where's Goins? Oh Oh...No??
 
 

STORY #11 "HE HAS A WHAT IN HIS WHERE??"
 I'll bet you are going to read this story!? Well...here goes! I had this fascination with auto dashboards when I was small! The standard round speedometer, some were slide-rule looking that go from left to right. The Edsel's speedometer showed the speed on a wheel with turning digits. There were gas, oil temperature, dials. A friend of my Dad's had an Oldsmobile who's speedometer dial changed color! It was green till the speed was 35, then it changes to yellow....at 75, it changed to red! I asked Dad to let us ride in the car to watch the dial change color. We got to 35, it changed to yellow....this was so cool! I asked could I see it turn red.....he said no! My Uncle had a Imperial, with dials that were clear with a brown halo. Dad also had a friend that didn't ever have too much gas in his car, so the low gas light stayed on. I wanted him to put a small amount of gas in the car to cut off the gas light so I could watch it come on! Ok...here's another. Dad's car odometer said 9999.5 when he got in from work one day. I wanted to watch it change to 10000.0. It would do it on his way to work, so I asked him to ride around town till it changed so I could watch it! Yea....they say I was strange right? I'm in the second grade, playing car! 
Ok....here is the story.... I cut out a dashboard from cardboard, gas gauges, speedometer, temperature, and more! I was keeling down in front of the TV set watching Perry Mason with Mom, on my knees. I had her sewing needles holding the hands on the dials I had made. I would make a sound of a car as I moved the speedometer dial faster and faster. I put the gas gauge on E and made sounds like the car ran out of gas. I got thirsty, and went to the kitchen for a drink of water....then it happened!! I went to kneel down to continue my imaginary car driving when I mis-calculated the dials as I kneeled down. I felt a pinch, then a snap, and the gas gauge was hanging on the end of my knee by the sewing needle. When I went to move it, it broke!! I said .....you know "oh no!" Mom, I had an accident....the needle is in my knee!! Dad said "Sit down and don't move, it might work it's way somewhere else in your leg!" Dad called Dr. Wesley who told him to bring him right over! Dad picked me up in his arms put me in the car, and rushed me to his office.  Dr. Wesley pushed and prodded with a pair of tweezers, trying to find the end of the needle in order to pull it out to no avail!! He gave us the bad news.....I would have to go to the hospital and get an x ray to see exactly where it was. The x-ray showed it in my leg, but the end had slid down a very small distance under my skin. The Dr. at the hospital numbed my knee and made a small cut.....I was told he got it on the first try, I was too busy yelling and screaming! This was a Saturday, and my knee with a big band-aid on it made it to school on Monday! Ok at the Dr's house...."guess what honey, this boy came in today with a needle in his leg!! By the way, my entire collection of homemade car gauges was sitting in the garbage can when I got home....I didn't complain! Could you imagine me with todays gauges, navigation, miles till empty, GPS....man I would have died and gone to heaven!  

  

STORY #12  MY FAVORITE ELECTRONICS TEACHERS!
Mr. Stroud was one of my favorite teachers, seventh grade! He was into electronics, not so much radio, but basic electricity! He introduced me to fellow teacher at Payne School Mr. Alfred Jones! Mr. Jones taught the sixth grade, but he was into radio, amplifiers, and circuits. Ironically, I ran into Mr. Jones again in the ninth grade at our new Dunbar Jr. High School teaching electric Shop! Sometimes he would let me teach the class stuff that he didn't know! Mr. Jones helped me bulid my transmitter for my radio station, and thought that it would be his fault if I got in trouble with it! Mr. Jones, and Mr. George Evans, my woodshop teacher, did come by my house! I told Mr. Evans thank you for teaching me how to measure evenly, and it helped me to succesfully install my medicine cabinet in my bathroom. Mr. Jones taught me wiring so I got the lights right in the cabinet! They were both glad to see something they had taught somebody worked for them! Mr. Stroud was supposed to be coming to my house and see my radio collection in the late nineties! We hemied and hawed back and forth for months, and never could get together! I was busy, he wasn't, he was busy I wasn't.... I was very sad when he passed away, and he never saw my collection! This is why I say, visit our seniors while they are still with us, and find the time! Mr. Stroud is below on the left, 
   
(click here) To go back and read Childhood Tails part #1 


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