My Fondest Childhood Memory

Marty set me up with “StoryWorth.” They offer a topic to write on. At the end of a year they compile them into a book. I did not intend to blog this. Karen suggested I do.

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My fondest childhood memory?  My initial impression was, from Daddy’s death, Friday, April 13, 1945, until I found Psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Chernel in late winter 1969, I have no fond memories.  I ran this by Karen.  Playing her Devil’s Advocate role, my partner pointed out I might be mistaken.  As usual, she’s right.

Convinced life was idyllic before losing my dad, I’m puzzled that I have scant memory of those eight years.  In my bog, “The Poachers” is a fictionalized “fond” memory.  Another time I helped Daddy drive sheep out of a pasture.  They ran around me back into the field, I cried.  Daddy knelt, put an arm around my shoulders, and reminded me of the picture show that evening.  We’d see Gene Autry or Roy Rogers, maybe both!

Five years later, for fifty cents a day, I was Uncle Grant’s “hired man.”  Like the escaping sheep, I let charging horses escape the corral.  My Boss threw a fit, cursed, and shouted at me.  I was terrified.  My first, but far from last, exposure to Uncle Grant’s rants.  I vowed then, I can take care of myself; whatever the sacrifice, I must keep other people happy.  In this mindset, I decide the only way I could help Mama was, “Be a good boy and don’t cause problems.”  This motto has served me well.

Karen reminded me of, not “fond,” but good-enough memories after we moved to Ferron in 1947.  April 3, 1937, I drew breath in Grandpa Leslie’s bedroom.  Four days later, catty-cornered across the street in Grandpa Nielsen’s bedroom, Stewart made his first wail.  A Major League center fielder could have thrown a baseball out my grandpa’s bedroom window into Stewart’s.  For over a decade Stewart and I were closest of friends.

At the mouth of Ferron canyon, desperados on horseback, bandannas over our noses, brandishing cap pistols, we attempted to holdup vehicles.  Our would-be victims honked, waved, and laughed.  No booty.

In the same vicinity, someone found a fallen-apart box of TNT bricks.  Left and forgotten, I assume, when they built the road.  Over following weeks, the explosives jostled in a gunny sack in bicycle baskets.  Someone, maybe Clifford, swiped a blasting cap, fuse, and half stick of dynamite.  With this detonator, we blew up the end of a bridge on a long-abandoned road near Moore.  A huge “boom” and column of black smoke! 

In summer, on the rare days I somehow escaped Uncle Grant’s iron grip, at “McKenzie’s” on the Molen ditch we swam in water with bacteria and pollution levels barely not much above sewage.  Which was not significant since the Molen ditch originated near the “settling pond” for Ferron’s drinking water.  Often tap water was barely clearer that ditch water.   

Fond childhood memories revolve around family and friends.  Forty at Mama’s house at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  On Ferron reservoir, fishing in a leaky WWII surplus rubber raft, one man rowing another manning the air pump to keep us afloat.  In Molen hunting pheasants with Uncle Seeley, Don, and Keith.  On the south side of Big Mountain, in the “Doctor’s Cabin” hunting deer with a dozen men.  And a lot more.

I can’t say when my “childhood” ended.  It just faded into “growing up.”  Very fond memories then became life with Karen, Bryan, Dawn, and Marty.   

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