Vivid Memories of Childhood and Beyond

Gary O'

Well-known member

this became rather lengthy....

Ever so often, I'd drive up to the ol' place for, well, old time's sake.
I always enjoyed the rush of memories, driving the old lane, and around the corner, up the hill onto the flat where most the kid population was, and where gramma's house, my 2nd home, crowned the hill.
Our place and gramma's place was one property, adjoined by five or so acres of strawberry patch, making the patch a short cut between houses.

Not long ago I hired a new engineer, he was a whip.
Ate up everything I could hand him.
Became our I.T.
Made tedious, complex projects his fun little game.
Interfaced quite well with our clients.
We became friends, even though he was in his late 20's, and I in my mid 50's.
Come to find out, his dad lived at and owned the property out there in the hills of Scappoose.
I had to make the trip one more time.

Our little converted broom factory house was ready for razing. The doors were off, the garage my dad and grandpa built (with a hand saw and hammer) were gone.
We stopped. I boosted myself thru the doorless, and stepless porch entry, the closed in porch was our laundry room.
Wringer washer, clothes line, wicker baskets, sweet smells of Fels-Naptha, my place to take off my day's clothes and grab the tub off the wall.
Rooms, once huge, were now so tiny.

The kitchen, remodeled with the rest of the house, still had the red fire alarm above the sink.
Dad would proudly demonstrate to friends how loud it was, putting a glass of hot water up near it.
The wood cook stove was gone, but the pipe coming outta the ceiling, with the ornate metal ring, bore testament of many a meal.
Meals I learned to prepare, taking a few times to learn how to not break an egg yolk, how to get pancakes to turn out like mom's and gramma's, snacks dad showed how he ate when young, tater slices scorched on the cook top, then lightly salted. Tasted horrible, but really good, cookin' with Dad, good.
The table was gone of course. The curvy steel legged one that replaced the solid wood one, well not so solid, as we lost a meal or two due to the one wobbly leg. But that steel one with the gray Formica (?) top was up town.
There I'd sit, waiting out the meal, spreadin' my peas around to make it look like I ate some.
'If you don't at least take a bite of your peas you won't get any cake!'
Eventually, I'd be sittin' at the table alone, studying the gray swirly pattern of the table top, malnourished head propped up on my arm.
Dad, Mom, and sis would be in the living room watchin' Howdy Doody on the Hoffman, or something just as wonderful.
Eventually, I ate cake...then did the dishes.

One Sunday morning I sat at an empty table, but for a glass of milk and the One-a-Day pill bottle. Dad and Mom were exasperated... 'Your throat is this big, the pill is this big'..minutes-hours passed, shadows on the table shortened...'OK, just drink your milk'
I drained the glass between pursed lips.
The little brown pill remained at the bottom.
Nice try, parents from satan.

We had a lot of beans, navy, pinto, brown.
Beans on bread was quite regular. Got to like'n it..not much choice really.
Had chocolate cake with white icing for dessert. No dessert plates. Cake just plopped on the bean juice.
To this day, I still have a craving for cake soaked in bean juice.

The house was designed so's I could ride my trike around and around, kitchen, living, bed, bath, bed rooms.
They were my Daytona, straight away was the bed, bath and bed rooms.
We had large windows in the front corners of the house from the remodel, 'so we can look out, for godsake'.
Now we could watch log trucks barrelin' down Pisgah Home Rd, and my sis and I could have a bird's eye vantage from the kitchen when Dad backed the Bel Air outta the garage over three of the four kittens puss had had weeks earlier under the porch.
Took my sis quite awhile to get over that, as she'd just named 'em a few hours earlier. I was just enamored with the scene; romp-play-mew-look up-smat.
Dad didn't know until he got home.
Actually, it saved him an' I a trip, as when he thought we had too many cats around, we'd toss a bunch into a gunny sack and once down the road, hurl 'em out the window of our speeding chevy.
I haven't maintained the sack-o-cats legacy, but there have been times....

The living room still had the oil stove that warmed the living room.
A flash of memory recalled the two end tables and lamps, aerodynamic, tables sharp, cutcha, lamps with flying saucer shapes, one had butterfly like images formed into its material, and when lit, enhanced their appearance.
A sectional couch, we were up town.
Before the sectional, we had one that kinda placed you in the middle, no matter where you started. It was my favorite, as sis and I spent many a day on it when sick.
Mom would lay out the sheets and blankets, administering doses of tea, crackers, and toast, peaches if we felt up to it.
Waste basket stationed at the tail end of that couch, since we were in such a weakened state we could never make it to the bathroom.
Mom loved it, our own personal Mother Teresa.
Yeah, we milked it for work piling up.
Recovery would finally occur once bed sores emerged.
When we were actually sick, Doctor Day would visit. Fascinating, black bag, weird tools, gauzes, pill bottles, the smell of disinfectant and tobacco. Then the shot.
It was all almost worth it.

Asian flu was a bit serious, but chicken pox was horrific for me.
It was Christmas, fever, pox forming.
Presents! Guns! Six shooters!...only there was this pock right on my trigger finger. It was like free ham for a practicing orthodox Jew.

Dad, always the entrepreneur, would use the living room as the media center, inviting salesmen with projectors and actual reel to reel set ups, showing us how to become a thousandaire overnight.
Nutri-bio was one, to take the place of one-a-days I guess.
The Chinchilla movie was fascinating, and we even took a trip to a guy's garage to see how they were raised. Turns out they need an even controlled temp to get a good coat, and actually keep 'em alive.
The Geiger counter became something to show company, and become an antique.
Dad and Mom's bedroom held few memories for me except for the time Mom found a nest of baby mice in the bottom dresser drawer...and a hammer.
There was that other brief time, but seems we were all pretty shocked.
My bedroom was actually our bedroom, sis and me.
After the remodel, we got twin beds, new ones.
Recall my first migraine in my new bed, pressing my head into the pillow. Teddy no consolation, but then I didn't really give it an honest try to fix his dented plastic nose either.
Dad was the bedtime story teller, Goldie/bears, red/the wolf, pigs/wolf..pretty standard stuff....but did the job.
Had a framed picture of a collie baying over a lamb in a snow storm hanging over my bed. It hangs over my light stand table today, found in some of my mother's stuff.

The yard was not spectacular, but when sequestered from the woods, was plenty for me. I'd play in the dirt. Mom, in her no-remote-thought-of-divorce-happiest-I'll-ever-be-but-don't-know-it days, would be cleaning the house, wiping something on the windows that would become a swirly fog, then wiping that off. Cleaning the floor was sweep, mop, wax. Linoleum was the rage.
Lunch would be a great, but simple sandwich, with lettuce, and soup.

The icebox held short stemmed dessert glasses of homemade chocolate pudding, each centered with a half maraschino cherry. For the longest time I thought cherries came that way straight from the tree.
Cross over the Bridge, or Sunny Side of the Street played on the radio. Then it was a Paul Harvey segment.

Nobody close died, there were no wars I was aware of, and folks were generally at ease during that eight year era of fond memories, just fragrant recollections.

This aging cynic, years of crust giving way to a soft spot, down deep, had a hard moment of holding back visual emotion, as we drove away from the last tangible vision ever to be seen of the house of a sweet early life.


Well-known member
London England
WoW. fantastic...thank you...I really enjoyed that Gary...

I read it to my o/h and he said.. ''I was there. I could see it all''....


Well-known member
Connecticut USA
Ohhh, nice Meanderer!

Gary, I remember the puddings, Paul Harvey and Patti Page (Cross Over The Bridge).
Liked your memories a lot.

Gary O'

Well-known member
Original Poster
Thank you for the comments, nice people

Writing, for me, has developed into a passion

I enjoy penning things of ordinary events, ordinary people



everything, everyone

is so much more than that

Gary O'

Well-known member
Original Poster
something I writ while still employed;


I feel as though I
m on the set of the last half hour of Papillion, or the movie Life.
Just said g
mornin to Henry for the gazillionth time.
s been an employee at this fine establishment since the doors opened, before even me, of which Im regarded as the furniture.
We are both a bit slower of foot and noticeably grayer since we first met.
We have light conversation
about gardening, the weather, our offspring.

s a bit short on words.
Been thru a gaggle of engineer regimes.
Been in charge of what we call the process room forever.
s where we encapsulate, vacuum varnish, mold, and do all the dirty work....the dirty work that takes a mad scientist to coordinate all the tanks, racks, and ovens to yield product (as our brochure says) in a timely manner.
For him, it
s a symphony, and hes the conductor.
Patience his not his strong point.
hard to work with.
Whenever an upstart engineering manager approaches him about a certain process (more like begging for an answer, so he can document the procedure in the build book), his usual reply is,
Youre the engineer, you tell me.ah...hahahahahaha.

He can be seen on any given day, meticulously scraping out the last drop of epoxy in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket
.Its expensive.

About ten years ago I had to take him in to counsel.
d made a production worker upset, to the point of tears.
We all knew he was just being Henry, harsh words were how he communicated.

I sat with him and the production manager, and explained to him about how he represented our company, and therefore an example, blather blah, blah, blather.
I guess he took every one of my words to heart.
I guess I dressed him down, took him to his inner core, because he began to weep.
It really took me off stride, as I was just building momentum, not even getting off my final salvo.
It confirmed what I
d learned sometime before.
Gruff crusty people, folks with chips on their shoulders, that once the armor of their defense is removed, will just fall apart.
I guess he was more than motivated that day, because motivation lasts only a short time, but he has yet to come off so harsh, as he
d been so many times before.

He is not articulate in the English language.
Someone once mentioned to me that
Henry sure speaks funny
‘Yeah, he speaks funny like that in seven languages.

He was a man without a country for around twenty years.
I was one of the privileged few from our company that he
d invited to the celebration of his citizenship.
A lot of his people were there, and they all revered him as a god.
He looked good in his uniform.
That day he became
Henry, and we shared a sixpack of Private Reserve. He still mentions our little celebration, and has the Henrys Private Reserve cap, I’d given him that day, hanging above his desk.

Henry has several distinct scars all over himself.
Holes the size of machine gun rounds.
Holes that remind him of the death march, of hiding under the body of the guy that became him when he took his identity papers because he
d lost his.
Holes that should have killed him more than once.
Holes that remind him of the loss of his entire family.
Holes that cause him to be even less verbal when someone inquires as to
whatd you do to get that?

Holes that remind him of the price of freedom.

He still eats his lunch with sticks, sometimes sitting on the picnic bench cross legged.
It was a year or so after I
d hired on that Henry learned it was more acceptable to sit on the toilet instead of stand on it then squat.
I was glad to see that
hated always having to wipe those freaking footprints off the lid every damn time.

Yeah, him and I are on the other side of the hill now.

But it
s still really great to say gmornin to my fellow countryman every day

.its actually quite an honor.

Gary O'

Well-known member
Original Poster
It does this ol’ soul’s heart good to get these nice comments.
Thank you.
(Meanderer, I’ll be PMing you with a shipping address to send me that gorgeous case of I can get it to Henry of course)

Moving along

I’ve received a cordial request to refrain from certain scenarios I’ve depicted in a humorous slant.
I’ll give it a shot to be more cognizant of offending some folks,
Even though admittedly fractured, my outlook on things is very much the sum of the greater content of my writing
I won’t be curbing that
I write from vivid recall
It comes fast, so fast I can’t keep up with the keystrokes
It’s very much like traveling a winding country road with the throttle stuck to the floorboard
There are twists, sharp turns
There are no warning signs

It’s certainly not required reading
....and not for everyone


Gary O'

Well-known member
Original Poster
now, where was I...

ah yes

reading for those having difficulty in getting to sleep

Kids of the Hill

We moved

When I was about 10, we sold the place and moved down the road a bit.
It was at least close enough to town to be able to ride my bike to the hardware store and replenish my stock pile of BBs, and there were more kids, kids a couple three years older than me, kids that had a bit more savvy about important things, things like guns, cigarettes, and wimin.
Man we terrorized that little neighborhood.
There was only six of us, but seems it was more like twenty at times.
Life was pretty good.
We commandeered a little lean-to shed across the gravel road from our house, and there we’d meet, sharin’ whatever we brought. Actually, I couldn’t wait to wake up every summer morning…and sometimes I didn’t.
Both folks worked, and my sister was supposed watch me, so there were long stretches of times, times we just stayed out. If I scheduled things just right, I could technically have just been company droppin’ by.
Then things got different.
I was makin’ a rare appearance at home….hunger, and noticed Mom’s car was in the drive.
Then Dad’s car pulled up.
I was fiddlin’ with some meat and bread when Dad came in the door.
He smiled, looked around, then just busted out bawlin’.
My mind did a little WTF? As I’d never seen him cry before.

Grampa had died.

Well Geez, he’d been wasting away in the nursing home for months…no surprise. But seems that was my Dad’s only link to some sorta ethereal security.
Next thing I know, a few weeks later he’s goin’ off on how this orphan kid was such a great little guy.

So here comes this kid.
Dad shows him around, then he’s gone.
Dad was like that. Not around much. It worked for me, but now this damn kid. Nice kid to boot.
A little too nice. Like the replacement kid on Lassie.
Yeah, the first kid, Jeff, was great, then they replaced him with a kid appropriately named Timmy. Then the show went south, all sappy and effed up. But, right here most of you readers are going ‘What?’
So this kid is my shadow, Dad’s fair haired boy, and I’m guessin’ I’m his guardian.
One of the things us neighborhood kids loved to do was play king of the trees.
Douglas fir trees are plentiful in NW Oregon, and huge. They can reach 300 ft in height, and these were not the exception.
Three or four of us would pick our tree and race each other to the top. Whoever would first get to the point of being able to bend the top over and touch the tip was king. The best part, however, was not being king, but just camping there in the limbs, letting the wind blow us back and forth.
Folks woulda crapped their pants if they’d known what we were doin’.
Well, little Brady (my personal Timmy) wanted to climb.
I became a bit evil right there, and cautioned him that climbing those trees were not the same as yer everyday apple tree…but in the tone of lure and enticement.
The little guy was doin’ quite well, as doug fir limbs are rather close together…hell you could almost walk up them. Then he musta made a misstep. I heard some yelling, and some thumping sounds. Then I caught sight of him flopping from one bough to the next.
Kathumping all the way to the bottom.
Seemed like he took forever.

Thing is, there’s about 20 feet of no limbs at the bottom, and he was in no way gonna grab wunna those boards we used to start our climbs. So he landed in a little Timmy heap, on his shoulder, in the bed of fir needles.

For another evil moment I sat at my treetop, kinda hoping he’d not move, at all, ever.

But the little [censored] just got a dislocated shoulder and some bruises….and a new guardian.

Things sometimes just have a way of workin’ themselves out.


I was ten or eleven.
Bart was eleven or twelve…or thirteen.
Same grade, but held back a year.
He wasn’t dumb, just a tad distracted when it came to book learnin’.

And he had a stutter.

He was 6 foot 3 inches in the fifth grade.

He wasn’t one of us tree climbers, but boy could he mechanic.
His place was up at the end of the gravel road, and literally filled with junk. At least half a dozen old cars, and scads of parts all strewn throughout the front and back yard.
It was heaven.

So, yeah, Bart didn’t do most things the rest of us did, but he was one of us.

One time we’d all ran out of BBs at the same time. So we went on the hunt for the perfect pebbles.
Once we each had about a dozen of them, we decided to play ‘who’s the man’.
This time Andy was to come up with the rite of passage.
His gem constituted in getting shot in the [censored] with a BB.
If you took it like a man, well, you were a man.
It was Bart’s turn to take it like a man, and mine to administer the pebble.
I gave my air gun a few extra pumps, and placed the roundest pebble I had in the tube.
‘OK Bart, bend over.’
Bart had these bib overalls, and they were a bit tight on him.
Up to this time, all our loose denim pants had absorbed the shots.
But when Bart bent over, his pants became quite taut, straining threads, you could bounce a quarter.
I considered the angle….
Bart didn’t yell out, but as he turned toward me, I noticed his huge face had become rather crimson, and his eyes were on fire.
Right then I decided someone was callin’ me for supper, so I took off on the dead run.
Bart, like a bear, took after me…I could hear him right behind me, huffing and puffing, cursing me and stuttering things about my lineage……’y-y-you, g-g-g-goddamn son of a b-b-b-[censored]’, which made me laugh so damn hard I could hardly keep ahead.

Ever do something wrong, or dastardly, and break into a run, laughin’ yer [censored] off?

I headed thru the barn, around the corner, and up to the house.

Bart waited for me in our front yard til way after dark.

But the most remarkable thing I remember about Bart was his swing.

Just a simple rope hung from a beam between two huge fir trees.
We built a platform.
We swung way out over a deep ravine, and back to the platform.

Then we put our heads together and figured we’d rake in vast amounts of money by charging admission to our ‘swing of death’.
We made a huge sign.

Only thing is, Bart lived at the end of the road, so the only potential customer would be Mr Harlon.
It was my first lesson in business.

Anyway, we got bored with the swing of death, and decided a taller platform…..the swing of the afterlife, was needed.

Bart, since it was his place, was first.

What we hadn’t considered was the wear of the rope on the beam.
Bart did his customary salutation ‘G-G-G-Geronimo-o-o-o’, and off and away he went….only he didn’t make the return trip.
In an elongated flash of a second or two, Bart remained suspended, twirling to face me, the rope descending into a heap on his shoulders.
His open mouth and furrowed brow held the expression of bewilderment and fear. Then he twirled toward oblivion, floating down the ravine.
The last thing I saw was the little knot between his ankles still clutching the rope, while he filled the ravine with stuttering cries of anguish……sh-sh-sh-shiiiiiiiiiiit.

The blackberry patch was his salvation, sorta.


Andy was the neighborhood tough guy.
He didn’t brag about it, or even use it to his advantage.
But we all knew, even Bart.
Andy was the eldest of our little gang, and the strongest.
I guess he was around fourteen when I was ten, and he became my mentor.
He kinda took the place of Mickey Mantle, who had taken Joe Louis’s place, who had taken Dad’s place, even though I wasn’t really conscious of having idols. Guess every kid has one.

Andy was kinda hard to look at, and had a huge gut with a gigantic belly button that eternally hung out from under his sweatshirt. It rivaled the Skocjan caves.
He even let me go spelunking into it with my finger after catching me sneaking a look.
‘Care to explore?’ said the hand formed belly button lips.
Never found the end.
Kinda scared me. Thought it’d eat my whole arm.
I did yield some warm lint, however.

But he had a friendly countenance about him that reminded me of a happy frog, or Brian Keith, and he loved a good joke or prank.
I remember once he squeezed the [censored] outta my dog’s paw, and my ol’ dog just sat there.
‘Go ahead, try it. Dogs have no feelings in their paws.’
So I reefed down on Tag’s paw.
That was the 2nd time my own dog bit me.
I learned a little sumpm about being playfully sadistic that day, and that you could look like you were doin’ sumpm even though it wasn’t really happnin’.
A day or so later, my sister was mysteriously bitten the same way.

Andy had the coolest bedroom, filled with stuff, and he even had his own gun cabinet…with shotguns, and a Winchester 30/30. Man I loved lookin’ at that carbine.

He’d taken a shine to me, and showed me his crystal set.
If we tuned it right, we could pick up Russia (in our imagination).
So, after picking up Russia, and listening to things like ‘Этот борщ - все, что мы собираемся есть сегодня вечером?’ for 10-15 minutes, we moved on to things like his pen collection. Two coffee cans and three cigar boxes filled with pens of all shapes and sizes. His collection was massive compared to my weeny oatmeal can half filled with dripping fountain pens.

Andy had a way about him that made you want whatever he had.
Whatever it was, he’d build it up in a way that made it superior. Not in a way like bragging, but sorta matter of fact statements.

He had this ol’ beat up BB gun. It was a veteran of many a war, and he’d painted it red.
I knew my gun was better, and Eddie’s was better, but Andy touted that piece of [censored] in such a way that made you envious.
‘Yeah, it’s got a 22 spring in it for extra distance.’
‘Really? Wow!’

I learned that he genrly did this right before a trade.
Eddie learned this too, and after trading, discovered the non-existence of a ’22 spring’.

I lived about 500 yards up the hill from Andy, but it didn’t stop him from stringin’ two way radio line, thru the trees, into both our bedrooms.
Every night he’d call me, and we’d talk mostly about how neat it was to have a two way radio in our bedrooms.
Chhhhhhht, ‘this is so cool’
Chhhhhhht, ‘it sure is’
Chhhhhhht, ‘whataya doi…chhhht now?’
Chhhhhhht, ‘what?’
Chhhhhhht, ‘see ya tomor……chhhhhhhhhht’

I met up with Andy several years later.
He’d slimmed down, and got all handsome on me.
He was the head mechanic at a huge food processing plant in Portland.
Still had really cool stuff in his den.
His woman was rather gaunt and all skinny.
Couldn’t find a curve on her, but yet looked rather fetching, and fit well on his Harley.

I learned not long ago that he was eaten up with cancer all thru his body.
I s’pose I should have visited him, but couldn’t.
He was my idol, and he knew it.
He wouldn’t have wanted me to see him like that.

Chhhhhhhht, ‘See ya tomorrow Andy’


The Eisner’s place was at the bottom of the hill.
Ike was the runt of our little mob. Thus he did some suffering….nature’s process of natural selection.
The Eisners were a tidy bunch. Mrs Eisner kept Ike in new clothes. He always looked like he’d just stepped outta the Wards catalogue.
There was no man around the house.
Mrs Eisner was quite fetching, a bit thin, but quite fetching indeed. She kept herself up, and I gotta hand it to her, maintained things pretty darn well. Remarkably, those were the days before mandated child support.
However, they all seemed to be missing a screw to their well oiled machine.
Ike’s sisters were prime examples.
Seems like they were about 13 and 15 and had been around, having the minds of 47 year old hookers.
Ike was their experimentation lab.
Andy was practice.
I was a curiosity.
Bart was their personal ‘Lennie Small’.
Eddie stayed home.
Brad damn near lived at the Eisner’s place…Brad liked to narrate his experiences…I took notes.

Ike was pretty much our gofer.
One summer day we were just sittin’ behind Andy’s place, considering tossing Ike down the hill again, when Andy developed the brilliant idea of gathering up some junk and setting it all on the blind corner of the paved road below.

A broken bat, a rusted wagon, some leaf springs and other junk, in a wash tub, set smack dab in the road, by Ike.
‘Ike won’t get in trouble as much as we will, since they already know us (the fire cracker incident, the beehive fiasco, and a few other things that enabled us to see the inside of the police station).

First car.
The guy just stopped, took the wagon, and kicked the tub off the road.
Ike set it back out.

Second car.
An ol’ gal got out, looked up the hill, right into the brush we were hiding in and yammered in her high pitched ol’ lady voice ‘I see you boys. I’m going to turn you in. Get down here right now and clean this up.’
Then she sped off, leaving the tub in the middle of the road.

It began to dawn on us that maybe this wasn’t one of our brightest of ideas when car number three, an ol’ pickup, came whippin’ by. Only he didn’t stop. Not right away anyway. Seems the handle of the wash tub hooked onto the undercarriage of his truck, and made quite a gawdawful racket for about a hundred yards, just clangin’ and bangin’ down the road.
I think the ol’ guy thought he’d lost his differential, ‘cause he seemed quite relieved to find that ol’ tub…as he unhooked it, threw it into the truck and sped off.
Another inventive event for us to laugh our asses off, and celebrate by tossing Ike down the hill.

One rainy fall day Bart and I were goofing around with the mud bank at the bottom of the road.
Bart had these huge, man sized high top leather boot shoes, of which he was quite proud of being able to stand in a mud puddle and not get his gargantuan feet wet.
‘See that? M-M-M-M-Mink oil.’

Andy came out and suggested we build a dam, and make a lake. Eddie, Ike, and Brad appeared.
Soon we had six shovels and two wheel barrows employed.
We learned about the dos and don’ts of dam building in short order.
A sheet of ply would be our water gate.
The lake got to be about three and a half feet deep once we built the side gates for overflow.
The red clay bank we were excavating developed a huge gap in it.
Next, the dazzling idea of flooding the road when cars came.


Andy and Bart lifted the sheet of ply. There was a rush of muddy water.
Something the dimension of a mid-sized dog went whooshing onto the road.

It was Ike!!

The car came close, r-e-a-l close to Ike’s head.
The driver didn’t see a thing, just kept goin’.
Andy and I picked up little Ike, squeezed out his shirt and cap, and commenced to shake him, scolding him for being on the wrong side of the dam at such a critical moment.
He loved the attention, smiling his happy dog Ike smile, then giggling his little Ike [censored] off.

In spite of everything we and his sisters put him through, he maintained a pretty happy heart, and kept a kind of innocence about him.
He was beyond likable.
None of us would say it, but we all loved the little guy.
And even though he was our projectile alotta times, if anyone out of our realm gave him grief, we'd all take turns beatin' the [censored] outta that matter how big she was.

Years later, I heard he’d become a structural engineer.
I’d like to think we had an influence on him that rainy fall day.

Last I heard, he was in Honduras, improving some villages in the outback, rerouting waters of floodplains, and teaching building techniques, but that was long ago now.
His frustration was the unions wouldn’t let him get his hands dirty with anything more than a pencil.

The lad had a remarkable resilience about him in mind and spirit. I’d like to think he’s doin’ well……hell, I may search him out on face book or something, since a lot of folk have died off, and the web is so damn handy these days….’course then I’d have to join face book….last time I did that, I learned I had more than 10,000 friends I didn’t even know. ‘sides, I’m not sure of his first name….but then, right now I’m not sure of my own first name…..

Naw, I’d rather just think my thoughts. Gettin’ tired of learnin’ how folks are ending up….but then learning of yer enemies taking a dirt nap is rather uplifting at times.


Brad lived down the paved road about a mile toward town, so when he appeared he made it count.
He was closer to Andy’s age, so they’d pal around quite a bit.
He was bigger than me, and always challenged me, right up to the time I lost it and beat the daylights outta him with a baseball bat.
I remember his incredulous look of terror and surprise. He never really stopped challenging me, but his taunts had lost a ton of sincerity after that.
Andy always got a kick out of it all, and looked on with great interest as to how things would play out between me and Brad, or me and Eddie, or me and Bart…never stepping in, but quite interested….guess alpha members of a pack like to keep score for future reference….

Brad’s mom was a nervous sort, not hard to look at, but nuthin’ memorable either, just his mom.
She too was divorced, but kept a tidy place.
Thinking about it, all the single moms in that area kept a damn tight ship. Maybe they channelled all that pent up nervousness toward dusting and mopping.
Thinking about it some more, all the households that had neat, well maintained places either was kept up by a single mom, or kept up by a married mom that might as well have been single….
On the flip side, there was the Hansens.
Seems they would get it on as regular as breakfast lunch and dinner, not counting the afternooner, and the night cap, and the morning paper……..
Bart’s mom must have been well tapped too, as she wasn’t the neatest of housekeepers…but always had a smile on her face and always hummed a happy little song.
Our place was kept up, but not as fastidious as those single moms, so I guess things were OK with mom and dad.

When Brad came around, things happened.
Not the best things, but really fun things.

He’d joined our BB gun wars a few times, but he was one to always want something more.
One afternoon we were contemplating what we could do with Ike when Brad thought shooting at the passing cars on the road below would perk things up.

It did.

Our marksmanship was lacking, as most our shots just pinged off fenders and bumpers and the back of an occasional window, but this one time Andy’s shot rang true. Right at the back of this passenger’s gigantic ear.
It was an amazing spectacle to watch take place.
He commenced fanning is skunk cabbage sized ear like it was on fire, and I gotta say it wasn’t that great of a shot, ‘cause that gentleman’s humongous ear was a huge target, flappin’ in the wind at 40 mph.

The car came to a screeching halt and he hopped out, dancin’ around batting at the side of his head.

Well, one of his gargantuan ears musta picked up on our rolling on the ground laughter, as he looked right in our direction and started cussing us up and down.
We just flipped him off and invited him up for a chat.

Within 30-40 minutes the town cruiser came barrelling up the road.
We started passing the football around in Andy’s yard, and when they pulled up, we became sincerely helpful as to ‘keep a lookout for those hooligans for sure, officer.’

Brad was a rather intense fellow.
If he wanted something, it consumed him.
He wanted a model car of mine.
Andy watched with great interest as Brad hauled out prized possession after prized possession to trade, riding his bike back and forth from his house, a mile away.
I feigned interest, then backed off.
The lad was beside himself.
Finally I ended up with three of his model cars, two model planes and three tubes of BBs.
It taught me an early lesson in supply and demand.

The thing I remember most about Brad was he was the one that explained things to me about the opposite sex, in great graphic detail.
So, at the ripe ol’ age of 11, I had all the mechanics down, to a tee.
A couple years later in health class, I’d be the first to raise my hand and answer any question, and even offered other facts for extra credit.
I was rather proud of that.

Funny, nobody really cared for Brad.
He could come or go, it didn’t matter.

He wasn’t dislikeable, just a bit over the top.


Eddie was a year or two older than me, and seemed to have a one-up-man-ship problem with most of us.
And if we ever got the best of him, he’d just end up saying ‘What’s the point?’
He had really curly hair, and was actually pretty cool.
He was the city kid of our gang of six.
Never wore anything that looked worn, or even had any dirt on his ‘dungarees’ as his mom would say.
I remember the first time I heard her call Levi’s ‘dungarees’. It became my ammo.
‘Hey Eddie. Better not climb that tree and soil yer dungarees.’
Everyone chimed in…’Dungarees???!!’
Yeah, she was Mrs Cleaver incarnate.
A neat lady though, and they had wunna those places that was always kept tidy, not antiseptic tidy, but warm tidy. Made ya jus’ wanna sit in the living room and take it all in. An old cuckoo clock, drapes with silk liners, doilies on the couch and chairs, handsomely framed pictures of folks, richly colored rugs on dark stained shiny hardwood floors.
Now my mom kept a clean house, but, try as she might, just didn’t have the knack in interior decor.
If I rated our place, it was somewhere between Eddie’s place and Bart’s place. Then there was the Hansens. Only, when Mrs Hansen opened the door, it kinda took yer breath away, and in the summer could actually bring tears to yer eyes…more about the Hansens later.

As far as Eddie’s place, I always felt like I should maybe take my shoes off when I stepped inside, only my socks were well into their 2nd week of a possible three week tour, and would’ve caused his mom to scurry for the aerosol can and hose down the area I occupied. As a matter of fact, I preferred to just stay outside until Eddie got refitted with his afternoon outfit, all color coordinated and pressed.
I remember getting a glimpse of his socks. They matched his shirt! I thought, ‘dang, that’s pretty cool’, and logged it for my teen years.
He was the first to introduce Converse Chuck Taylor Allstars, and The Three Stooges, and playing army, so he had a purpose and heavily contributed to our rag tag outfit.
As a matter of fact, he was the instigator of our BB gun wars.
One time I’d accidently shot Eddie in the neck and the BB had stuck under the skin.
When his mom called him in for lunch and saw that little spot, she ‘bout came unglued.
She called us all in, and gave us the shoot yer eye out sermon. I had the brilliant idea of explaining that we knew about the dangers of head shots, and just aimed at each other’s balls, and if Eddie hadn’t been all bent over takin’ a [censored] in the Hansen’s yard, well we wouldn’t be havin’ this conversation.
Eddie never got to bring out his gun after that, and his visits became limited, and timed.
Funny, a few years ago I was on a ladder starting a first course of shingles. My Lady was holding the ladder, gingerly poking me in the hind end (helping) when she noticed a bump on my calf. She commenced to fiddle with that bump and remarked that something was rolling around inside it. I handed her my knife and she cut out a rather gnarly BB.

Eddie loved playing army, and always had an invisible machine gun, making machine gun and hand grenade sounds, blowing things up, like the family sedan, or the Hansens.

Years later Andy updated me on him and a couple others.
Eddie did three hitches in nam, then came home and became an armoured car guard, then a private detective. His shiny pate had taken the place of his curls, and he developed a huge beer gut, just like the one he always kidded Andy about.
Andy had met up with him in a bar. Eddie was wearing a wrinkled suit, tie undone, lookin’ pretty darn frumpled and raggedy.
Funny how things kinda turn on ya.
A decade or so ago I heard about his heart failure. Never made it to the funeral.

What’s the point?

Still awake?
you better make a Dr's appointment

Gary O'

Well-known member
Original Poster
First Jobs

My very first ‘job’ was hoeing roses for an ol’ guy at the end of the mountain road up from our place.
He was a prize winning grower, lots of entries and ribbons and medals and plaques from all over and of course Portland, the City of Roses.

As a teacher, the crotchety ol’ fart was not the gracious diplomat he was when accepting an award.

‘Quit pickin’ at it like a goddamm woman, goddammit.’
‘Gimme that hook.’
He’d jerk the ‘hook’ outta my hand and commence to beat the holy krap outta those roses.
Apparently the ones that survived became resilient and hardy....and beautiful.

The hook was not much more than a smallish three prong pitchfork bent 90°.

‘You don’t stop till it’s rainin’ like a cow peein’ on a flat rock.’

That was the work schedule.

And off he’d go in his dilapidated ’49 ford sedan.
The engine sounded like it would blow apart any minute, pistons rattling around, tappets tapping a beat, zero oil.
Only drove it a few hundred yards, just to harass us.

One of the old hands said, ‘just hoe like mad until you get over the hill, then you can take a little break’.
The old gent seemed to know what he was talkin’ about, he’d been there a long time.
Back permanently stuck at 45°.
Kinda bugged me...cause when it was rainin’ like a cow peein’ on a flat rock, we’d all beat feet over to the walnut he’d trudge...and there he’d stand....bent.
His hands were stuck in a hoe holding position.
Not big on talkin’.

‘How long you been doin’ this?’

‘Some time now.’


It was $.60 an hour...10 hours a day.

I’d been there just a few days, and hoein’ like mad.
The hill just a half hour of back breaking hacks away.
Once over the hill, outta view from the ol’ guy’s shack, I straightened up and leaned on my hook.
Just stared into the sun.
Rolled a smoke.
A smoke never tasted so good.
I was just getting’ into a mind filled tryst with Sophia Loren when I heard, ‘That’s enough of that, git offa my property.’

I turned around and there he was, leanin’ on them crutches.
How in hell had he snuck up on me?
Had he crutched his way up the hill, knowing full well what I was doin’?
At first I was startled, and maybe a bit scared.
Then I got mad, and with the knowledge that several fields of hay bales were just waiting for me, I headed right for him.
His expression changed from sneering disgust to alarm.
‘Don’t worry ol’ man. I’m not gonna beatcha.
You’ve done enough of that yerself.
Here’s yer hook.’

So, yeah, I got fired from my first real job.

When we moved closer to town, I got an evening job at a rather posh restaurant.
The Hillvilla.
It worked well with my junior year schedule.
Work till 11pm…sleep through class..if I went.

Washing pots and pans.
My first day, I ran a sink full of water, hot and cold.
The owner, Ed Palaske, reminded me of Mr McGoo, kindly, gently turned off the cold water.
Hot water and steam came outta the tap.
‘We don’t use cold water. It’s not so sanitary.’
His hands and forearms looked like hair, red, much like a burn victim.
Lou, the cook, doing a great impression of Ed Asner, just leaned on the counter and grinned.
Damn, I’d never known hot water up till then.
The crab pots and pans, from making crab louie, did loosen up better.

Then I graduated to the salad bar.
Much like a bar tender.
The waitresses would come up, order, and I’d prep, sip a coke and munch on crackers.

This one waitress, guess she was in her late thirties, would tell me dirty jokes and chit chat when ordering.
She had blonde hair, all pulled back, like Kim Novak in Vertigo....rather my dad’s Police gazette gals.
I had fantasies about her while I was sleeping in class.

Sometimes a dignitary would call me over,
‘Hey sport, here’s a buck, get me a pack of Winstons outta the machine...keep the change.’

If a patron didn’t like their meal, one of us would get it.
Damn, it was good.

After my shift, and the upstairs was closing, I’d head downstairs and get another coke from the bar, and if lucky, I’d chat more with Kim Novak, and watch her sit there, undulating.

I think that was my best high school job.

I know it was.

Gary O'

Well-known member
Original Poster
Who dost thou think thou art?

Between oil field jobs, I worked at a private golf course.
River Oaks Country Club.
Quite the area, and a good example of how things once were.
River Oaks blvd had this huge entry gate.
More symbolic than functional.
It separated tiny houses outside the gate from the mansions within.
Pillared edifices with huge manicured grounds lined the boulevard, ending with the ‘club house’, pillars, fountains, white jacketed people of color opening doors, stepping, fetching. ‘Yah, suh’.

I was mowing tees one Saturday morning, and shut my equipment down to give the twosome a shot at the green on this par three.

These guys were owners of things, like NFL teams.

Before they got into their swing regimen I asked if any of them knew what time it was.

‘Is he talking to you?’

I didn’t realize that my ranking as a member of the human race did not rate higher than a third person, an entity to ignore, snub, or order to bring something.

‘They wouldn’t give me the time of day’ became a reality for me that morning.

I watched the dried up bitter old geezer twist his beef jerky torso and flail his pretzel arms, culminating in a feeble swing, sending yet another worm burner half way to the hole.
Sad, but this, among all atrocious, is what I hate most.

Yeah, there’s idiots that happen to drive, kids (18-28) that need a good spanking, and haters that in reality fear people that are not like them, and just downright mean people.

But, I so wish for the self-appointed royalty to be brought down, disrobed of their haughtiness, and abased in front of their subjects.

Gary O'

Well-known member
Original Poster
'nother recollection?

Oh, why not;

A Friend

I had a friend, last name of Greasser (of all the names), weighed around 360 lbs in high school and college...just did anything that would cause a stir...a perpetual grin on his ever so ugly mug.
Longish brown hair lying flat on his forehead, somewhat matted.
Always brushing it out of his eyes.
White, almost transparent skin.
Loose, ill fitting clothes.
Shoes, warn down in odd places from the inhibited stride of a fatso.
He was around 6’ 6” and had no hind end, just blubber around his middle, tapering to essentially nothing, and walked with a slump, the backs of his hands pointed forward, arms a friggin’ sasquatch.
Quite intelligent, however.
I learned to never strike up a conversation with him on the subject of political science.

Nobody talked about his appearance.

We loved him.

We tried to get him to join in in a scrub game of half court.
His feet never left the ground, and although quick wristed, has hands were like anvils when it came to handling a basketball.
Still, he got a kick out of it, and I knew he loved being included for once in something other than cerebral confabs.
Football was funny.
He just stood there, turning, like he was on a giant electric football field, vibrating nowhere.

He made Western Civ class a riot....even inspired me to crack a book....once.

Met up with him a few years after college (I’d dropped out long ago, he was degreed in several things).

But, selling LP albums out of the trunk of his ’68 Olds 98.

A real free spirit...looking back, reminds me now of Uncle Buck.

I was recently told of his fatal maladies..bunch of stuff, kidneys, liver, heart...all hooked up...hospice.

Damn he loved his gin, weed, fast garbage food, and all night parties.

I miss him right now....really miss him.

To you, Greasser, you magnificent yeti son of a bytch.

Gary O'

Well-known member
Original Poster
glad I jot things down
then put them...somewhere

found this'n

more observances

wrote over a year ago;

For the twelfth time

250 miles north
Grabbed a Motel 6 ‘for a couple days’.....
Two days turned into ten or eleven.
The room became a cell after day three.
But I kinda like Motel 6s
Not much chance of leaving anything behind upon check out since everthing that’s not nailed down is prolly yers.
And they have HBO
There’s still nothing actually on HBO, but the coming previews are exceptional.
Oh sure, there’s reglr cable TV.
But, the clientele is much more entertaining.
Think it may have been a tweaker convention.

For most our stay, I just thought these people had maybe one too many caffé Mochas until I was clued in as to their hobby.

Never seen so many folks in such a hurry..and forgetful.
Observed a slender young gentleman whip t’ward his car, then stop midstream, head back to his motel room, stop, feel his pockets, and turn right around, rushing to his car.

Hey, I been there.

‘Dad, they’re tweakers’


Oh sure, there’s other types of clientele;
The couple with a mess a’ kids...and dogs, an aging SUV full a’ wadded up clothes, crumpled nacho bags, puppy vomit, foaming pop cans falling out, and poop...somewhere.
The mother with an enormous hind end, requiring its own room
seems a bit harried, wrinkled moo moo, hair pinned back into an undefinable wad.
The father looks tired.
Very tired.

Happy times.

The out of steady work machinist, grabbing temp jobs.
The truck driver, sick to death of the thought of sleeping one more night in his cab.
The twenty-seven giggling college kids prepping for the beer consumption challenge.

And us.


The most entertaining is what I now know as the tweakers.
Went to the office to get more towels.
Ahead of me was a lean young lady checking in.
Seems her purse was a bit of a perplexing trial.
Thought she was gonna vibrate into the floor.

So, yeah, I’m thinking these ‘tweakers’ are nothing more than a real life version of The Walking Dead....only they’re in much more of a hurry.
New series; The Speed Walking Dead.

Anyway, the ten days were not totally misspent.
I’m not a cooing baby guy, but this kid
This ...AWESOME!

So glad to be back at the cabin

The happy birds are waking up right now

oh, I'll slip this in (1st birthday);

aaaand, of course, play time;

Gary O'

Well-known member
Original Poster

My first real girlfriend, other than dancer number three from the Jackie Gleason Show, was Patricia.
Fourth grade I think it was.
She had this smile, this beguiling smile, and if per chance she cast one your way, well, it turned all us guys into befuddled masses of profound stupidity.
I was no exception
and she knew it.

So every time she would come near, or I mysteriously found myself near her, I
d make sure and do something cool, like flip my fountain pen up in the air and nonchalantly catch it, writing side down.
Unknowing that I
d just sprayed myself with a unique pattern of Sheaffer traditional blue ....Boob, James Boob.

Oh, yeah, and her eyes
flashing, batting brown eyes.and some kinda smell too..better than, say, my catchers mitt, or even grammas rhubarb pie.

s all I remember about her looks.
t even consider the shape of her hind end, or if she even had one for that matter.

One blessed day her parents invited my parents to dinner.
I sat across the table from her, sipping my shaken not stirred fruit punch, creating a rather distinguished looking purple mustache.

These folks had lived outta the states for a few years, and rather proudly offered up their unusual cuisine.
There, on my plate, was a heaping festering mound of curry and rice. Not the spicy curry of the orient, no, this was some sorta green slimey slices of slugguts.

Patricia smiled at me.

I forked the slug slices, and moved them around my plate, mustering and encouraging my life long taste buds for fried potatoes, hamburger patties and ketchup.
I furtively went to the potatoes.
Only they were swimming in some sorta gawd awful milk sauce
...not fried, definitely not fried.
I think I had two bites, feigning nausea, gladly skipping dessert which looked much like mousse of dog vomit.

Patricia invited me up to her room (HER ROOM!!!), upstairs, legs of Patricia,leading the way
...huh, Patricia has legs..nice, really really nice legs (self; wimin my age have legs too. Take note.)

And there I was, in a girl
s room.

Puffy, fuzzy things.
Pink things.
Lacy, frilly things.
Some sorta awning of posts and frilly cloth over her bed.
Pillows, stuffed toys, more pillows, more toys.

So there we were.
Nice place ya got here (I almost said doll face, but somehow knew my Bogart wasnt working any better than my Bond).

You are in third place on my list.

what? Theres a list?)

If you kiss my locket, youll be at the top.

If I kiss her locket?)
what the heck is a locket?)

She pulled a dainty gold chain from where, I
d discover years later, cleavage came from.
Her locket was a little gold heart.
I felt really really stupid.
Here I was, in a gurl
s room, with all this claustrophobic crap, and even considering kissing her locket for cryin out lowd.
Get me the heck outta here!

(bat, bat, smile)

S-o-o-o-o after I kissed her locket, landing me solidly into first place, we went downstairs.

Funny thing. Next day at school, I took on a much different persona.
My once pitter patting heart went back to a normal beat.
Her smile took on a more sneer like function.
Her batting eyes became nothing more than a possible Tourette.
Her smell took on the odor of curry.
Basically, she disgusted me
, and less than 24 ago, I kissed her locket...damn.

My first fleeting relationship.

Not for locker room lore.

Gary O'

Well-known member
Original Poster
I just watched the movie 'Shine' last night

.....reminded me of my eldest son

was hard to hold emotion thru some parts

was much harder for my Lady

but we remained


My son
Excelled in academics
Skipped grades
Won awards
Became somewhat sought after
Artistic things hung in municipal halls
Life for him was just too slow apace
Stayed up for days at a time
He’d regurgitate all his thoughts to his mother and I
It was a bit suffocating

Then one day he came to me in my shop
....and began crying, telling me he felt he was going crazy,
but unable to put his feelings into words
I hugged him
Told him all kids go thru puberty and change
‘this too shall pass’ kinda thing

The next years are a blur
I guess maybe I never have wished to dwell on the events in those years

I’ll try to piece some together on my own, as I know better than to ask my lady

He ended up in prison
At 19
Advancing from a minimum security facility to OSP
And on to ‘thunderdome’
Where nobody wants to go

Tried to arrange visits
Rejected countless times
Talked to OSP counselors
‘forget your son, concentrate on your other children’

We got a call
OSP does not call anyone
‘You need to see your son’

The visiting area was like a staging zone for zoo critters
Steel tables, benches, cemented in
Chain link walls and doors
He was led in by guards
Shackled head to toe
Made to sit
Unseeing eyes
No recognition
Indistinguishable utterances
He stunk to high heaven
Never looked our way

On the way home I had to pull over, off the freeway
I don’t remember the last time I cried
Maybe as a small child...
Never wept like that in my life
And have yet too since
Utter hopelessness

A week (?) later we got another call
He was being transferred to the psych ward across the street
Where ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ was filmed

We were told he had quit eating entirely
Weighed 90 lbs
A guard carried him across the street

We were led to the visiting area
Typical booth like situation for visitors
Only, the other side of the glass was something from a zombie movie
We got to watch him attempt to drink milk and cry

My lady had a very hard time
I went alone
Weeks of visiting later, he was released
Just like that

After 7 years of maximum security

to us

I do not do well when cleaning up men with uncontrolled body functions

Nut bins

It’s all a blur

Somewhere in there, when he was still cognizant, I did a bit of a fraught thing…

We talked about his options
He wanted to go camping


Him and I packed his meager belongings

Bought him some basic camp stuff

Drove him to the Trask river area

And dropped him off

while it began to rain

Ever do something that gave you immediate relief, knowing the end result would probably not be optimal?

The sack of cats Dad would have me toss out the window of a speeding Chevy may have had an influence

On the way back home, I tried not to think.


Thoughts crept in

Maybe he’d just lie there curled in his sleeping bag
Until days later large birds of prey would dine on his remains

It’s all a blur

They found him 300 miles south

The Tillamook women’s mental health facility asked us to take him back 'he can't stay here'

More triage

Got him hooked up with a place called Luke-Dorf

General population nut bin for semi-functional goofballs
Then what they call the quad
Then paired up in a shared apartment
And now
On his own
On a budget

I figger the tax payer’s dollars for this are from this tax payer

During these times he’d ever so often not take his meds
Sometimes it was because they changed colors or shapes and he didn’t think they were right
Sometimes it was just because he thought he no longer needed them
Always ended with me going over there, reattaching his phone, and fishing his glasses outa the toilet.

He’s as functional now as you and me, first look.

As long as he takes his meds.

This is jumbled time line mess
My lady can recite the events like they happened yesterday
7 or more years of them
I will not take her there

Couple things;

Underage folks do not get diagnosed in regard to mental health
No matter how batshit crazy they are
At least they didn’t then


Rosie O'Donnell can git outa bed to do a show
Then go back to bed
And she’s clinically nuts

I know, I know, mental illness is different than insanity
I jus’ wanted to be trite for a bit during this scattered post


Senior Meanderer
Gary, our lives can be "joy filled", final exams, often "filled with sorrows". We have to take the whole "ball of wax", and come out the other side, whole. :) :( You and your Lady are amazing parents! bless you both.

Gary O'

Well-known member
Original Poster
Gary, our lives can be "joy filled", final exams, often "filled with sorrows". We have to take the whole "ball of wax", and come out the other side, whole. :) :( You and your Lady are amazing parents! bless you both.

We all have our baggage
Doubt anyone here has escaped some sorta trauma

Thanks, pard

let's move back to a more positive slant;


Year One

We didn’t have kindergarten. Hell, we didn’t even have all eight grades in that one room school tucked deep in the Chapman hills.
And we didn’t have a bus, or lunchroom, or gym, or indoor plumbing.
What we did have was Mr McDunn.

Looking back, he was the best grade school teacher I’d ever have.
Field trips were field trips, thru the woods behind the school house, down to the creek, buildin’ mud dams, and makin’ wood sail boats, or we’d head up streamto the beaver dam, and when the steelhead were runnin’, before I even knew of a sea run rainbow fish that would grow to enormous proportion, he’d stand straddle legged in the stream and bail out those monsters with his hands.
Then we’d watch him cut one open, displaying the biggest fish eggs I’d ever seen.

One time, when it was snowin’ like a banshee, we took an old mop wringer and made igloos.
Yeah, we went every day, snow, ice, whatever.
And yeah, no bus, so kids appeared at school early, and while we were waiting for teacher to arrive (from his attached living quarters) we played with these little plastic red bricks that would snap onto each other….they fascinated me. We made planes, and built forts, and skyscrapers. It was like goin’ to the beach, I could never get enough.

But school, it was work books, my own pencil, my own desk.
Desks were the old wooden ones you see in old movies, the kind that hook up in a row, had the ink well, and groove to put your very own pencil, and you had a place underneath, housed in black wrought iron, to put your work books, and the seat flipped up, and so did the person’s in front of you.
That person was Francis Keller.
She was a tad messy, as her workbook place was eternally jammed with wadded up papers, and leaky pens, and broken things.
And Francis herself was a bit unkempt. But she did have a fetching look about her, and she was tough as nails. S
he could beat the crap outta most kids there even though she was only in third grade.
One rather disenchanting thing I recall about her was her habit of snorting whatever was in her throat and nose and swallowing.
First I’d ever heard such a noise. Kinda like a reverse gargle…..and she ate paste.
Thinking about it years later, those unseemly habits may very well have become attributes………

One time during recess, nature called, and I headed to the outhouse.
It was a three holer, and it had a trough.
I grabbed the middle hole so I could peek thru the crack in the door for female invaders.
But Francis got the jump on me.
There she was. But she wasn’t there for business.
Next thing I know she’s flippin’ her dress up and her underwear down. Standin’t here starin’ at me.
Whoa, I immediately had a flash back of me and Connie in grampa’s tool shed, and made the brilliant deduction that Connie was not deformed, as most or all girls were missing some very vital things.
Then I took care of my back side and jumped off my perch to button up and head the hell outta there, but not quick enough to skirt Mr McDunn’s shadow.
So there we all were, Mr McDunn in his aura of teacher/god like omnipotence, Francis of who magically had put herself back in the altogether, lookin’ at me like I was satan, and me, standin’ there with my bib overalls huggin’ my ankles.
I learned a couple things that day.
1) Wimin are way ahead of any mind game you may ever venture to get conned into playing.
2) It’s because they are not distracted by all the apparatus us guys have.

So, yeah, we didn’t have all the facilities of the schools in town, but my first classes in psych and anatomy were right there in the three holer.

Over all, I learned more about social life that first year, than all the other seven grades put together.

And now, every time I go fishin’, wading a small stream, and catch the faintscent of roiled mud and creek water wafting thru my nostrils, my mind flashes back to those first golden autumn days of school.

School, The following years

The local craftsmen had united and built us a real school.
Closer to town.
Two rooms.
Indoor plumbing, one for boys and one for girls.
Newer desks.
…and a huge field.
Mr McDunn took us out to the field to explore.
Now I’d been runnin’ thru fields all my life, so I was a tad unimpressed….until he had us kneel down and move slowly thru the weeds and thistles, identifying everything that grew or crawled.
It got so I couldn’t wait for the next discoveries.

OK, we were all a bit rowdy, but he had a presence about him that got your attention. It sorta made the teachers that followed pale in comparison….and we took advantage.
Seems every one after him ended up having some sorta nervous breakdown right in the middle of the year.

Not sure what happened to Mr McDunn, but I got drift that our folks were not impressed with his philosophy, cause he was quite direct and they were a bit protective of their little darlings.

TheYear of Taboli

Mr Taboli arrived my third year, straight from the Philippines….or as he said, the ‘pillippeens’.
He wore a suit.
Reminded me of Desi Arnaz, hair all slicked into a pompadour with half a can of pomade.

And that accent. He didn’t have a chance.
‘OK turd grade, turn to page turdy eight.’
We slowly sacrificed that poor soul.

An event that I recall was pretty much the end of Mr Taboli.

Francis had a little brother, Dicky. Remember, this was in the ‘50s. The term ‘dick’ had yet to have a negative connotation. Fun with dick and Jane was just that.
We called him ‘Dicky’.
The kid was just one happy little guy.
Always grinnin’ that huge grin, buck teeth spaced wide apart, gigantic mouth….but had some intellect issues.
However, happy…just glad to be included in anything we did.
Unfortunately what we did was mostly to his detriment.
Andy had this oversized gravenstein apple.
‘Hey Dicky, I bet you can’t put this whole apple in your mouth.’
Turns out he could.
It’s just that he couldn’t get it back out.
So, we’re all laughin’ our asses off, and Dicky is laughin’ and droolin’ and chokin’ some, when Mr Taboli blows the recess whistle.
We all file back inside to our desks.

Dicky’s sittin’ there with his gigantic mouth stretched to the max, buck teeth clamped on that apple, just starin’ down at page turdy eight, droolin’ all over his work book.
We’re all lookin’ straight ahead.
Then Dicky begins to get a little red and choke.
I gotta say, he held it together pretty good, not bein’ able to swallow and all, but once he commenced gagging, it was pretty much all over.
Remarkably, Mr Taboli was pretty good with a knife. He leaped over Bart’s oversized legs hangin’ in the aisle, and proceeded to perform an applectomy right there in class.
So, he was a hero…….for a few minutes.

It was only a matter of weeks that his rosy outlook ofteaching the children of the trees would take a turn.
The event that became the clincher to his destiny was our zip guns. Little simply made ‘guns’ from clothes pins, springs and pebbles.
Just enough zip to cause a welt.
A well placed shot destined for a girl’s hind end…unless it was Francis….she’d take it from you and feed it to our own hind end.
Well, after all the lunchtime screaming and running, Mr Taboli rounded us up and just sat at his desk for several minutes.
Then calmly gathered up our zipguns and placed them on the floor in a little pile and commenced to jump up and down on them, screaming something in a language other than English.
Then he strolled over to his desk, sat down, put his head down, and started beating the surface of it with both fists.
We didn’t have school for a couple days after that.
The Wadsworth years would follow.

I bumped in to Dicky a decade or so later.
‘It’s Richard now’

The poor chap had been working in the woods.
If you are short on brains, the woods are not the place to work. It’s bad enough if yer quick and sharp.
Seems Dicky had run a chain saw up his hand, right between his fingers, up to his wrist.
They didn’t do much for him in the patchwork dept.
At first, seein’ him at a distance, I’d thought, geez, Dicky is a Trekie,showin’ me his Vulcan wave.

Wonder how they're all doin' now..............

The Wadsworth Years

Mrs Wadsworth was our teacher for a couple years…..actually 2 ½ years, as she stepped in when Mr Taboli made his infamous exit.
The white coats didn’t come to get him, but after the zip gun affair we never saw Mr Taboli again…our first conquest.

Mrs Wadsworth was different.
She was old, and done with it all, but folks gathered around her and conned herout of retirement.
Turns out she’d run a concentration camp of grades six thru eight back in Milton-Freewater for centuries.
Quite the disciplinarian, as she could still wield a bamboo rod with the deftness of a samurai.
And those high top orthopedic oxfords that housed her rheumatoid ankles were nothin’ to mess with either.
She stood about five six, and weighed in at oh say 97 lbs, but still had apresence about her.
I got her to smile a couple times, but usually she wore this sour look, like she just got fed some horse shit, of which we tried.
She had what was sometimes referred to as denture face, some real jowls, kinda looked like Deputy Dawg’s gramma….and she used it to her advantage, lookin’down on you thru her bifocals.
Eddy P, the terror of turd grade, was putty in her gnarly hands, and even his little brother, satan of second grade, was no match.

So things were as quiet as they could be in those two years.

We all respected her, and I even admired her, and I’d like to think she got a charge outta me, as she would single me out as an example for others not to follow.
When she gave me her special attention, I’d notice her neck would commence to sorta blossom into a rather deep crimson beginning at the start of her collar and creeping up to her chin.
This aurora was gradual, and mesmerizing.

Grammar was her specialty, and diagramming sentences on the black board was what we all did, over and over…past participles and me became friends, as we both found our little special place in the parse tree of life.

But the second room in that school held my fond attention.
Miss Dickerson taught kindergarten thru second grade.
She had a dimpled smile that would melt me into deep daydreams of her and I.
I’d sit thru history class, fanaticizing about us goin’ campin’. Her lookin’ on with admiration of me building a camp fire with nothin’ but my woodsman’sprowess, and then skinny dippin’ and then, well things got sorta grey from there, so I’d be stuck on replay, filling in more details with each re-run of my boyish manliness and her absolute womanliness, then fog, then back tocamping, swimming, fog….sometimes we’d just lay on the bank after skinny dippin’,all naked, basking in the sun, fixated on each other’s genitals…but there was always that darn fog…….

TheMrs Nelson half year….aka The Half Nelson

She tried to be nice.
‘You can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.’
Killer bees

The white coats did come for her

HighSchool (I’m still trying to forget)
Sophomore year I had a task master of an English prof.
He wanted a poem.
So I gave him a poem.
I happened to be reading a James Bond novel in class when this poem leaped to thefore.
Only it was a bit short.
So I added my own words for length and to be able to say with a semi-seriousface that I’d written it.
He asked me to stay after class, and expounded on how profound the words to that poem were….right up to where Ian left off and I began, or as he said (since he’d never read that crap) ‘right up to here, then you seem to lose the gist’ his index finger pointing to the first word of my submission.
I told him I got in a hurry right there cause I didn’t want to be late for class………….
He seemed to buy it.

From a slap to a pounder

High school typing class.
I lucked out with one a them new electric ball units.
Melody sat in front of me.
Frail thing
A bit of a snob
The quick brown fox blah blah blah….
Melody’s bra strap comes in to vision.
Home row? What home row?
Elastic not only stretches, but it also contracts…reducing bust size greatly…darn near concave.
Next thing I know I’m on the front row, saddled with a Royal pounder, wearing a smallish hand print on my left cheek.
Who really needs to type anyway……….50 years later I'm still using two very talented fingers...


Senior Meanderer
Thanks for that look back, Gary! ....then it was off to collage, I suppose? ....after one more look back!:)