The quiet silence of the warm evening is broken by the call of a Whippoorwill. It is late spring and the two young kids have been waiting for that very sound. The shoes come flying off and the young boy and girl run around the front yard barefooted like they are suddenly free for the summer.
Mom would never let us go barefooted until we heard the Whippoorwill call. This must have been a signal that it was warm enough. Linda and I could not wait any longer. I rarely hear a Whippoorwill, that I don't think of that evening on Fairview Ridge.
This is only one of many memories I have of that wonderful time in my life. I don't recall when we moved there or how long we lived in that house. I know we lived in Middleport during the blizzard of March, 1950, so we had to live there in 1949 or 1948. I would have been seven years old at most. I have a few memories of earlier times but they are faint.
The house seemed so big back then, but to look at the picture, it seems so small for a family of seven. Somehow Dad and Mom made it home.
Whenever I hear the story of "The Night Before Christmas", this is the house that comes to mind. Dad would bring home what seemed like big sacks of candy and peanuts in the shell. I can remember the family sitting around the fireplace in the living room eating peanuts and just dropping the shells on the floor. Mom, Lil, or Phyllis would then sweep them into the fire. The first Christmas I remember was at this house. Don has a good story about Santa at this house. He might tell you about it if you ask him.
This is also where Linda and I learned to ride a bicycle. Dad and Mom bought us one to share. Linda would not sit on the seat. She would sit on the back fender and peddle like crazy. As I remember, she did not do a good job of sharing either. I think we had a fight or two over that bicycle.
Don was hard on Mom's pan lids. He used them as steering wheels for his imaginary trucks or cars. As I remember, I did too. We would drive all over that hillside. We also enjoyed sliding down the hillside over the honeysuckle on cardboard boxes. The wax would get slick and this worked as good as any sled.
There was also this guy from Racine that used to come to see my older sister in a covered panel truck. I guess he must have been serious, because he is still around. Rob and Lil are still together after all these years.
I remember also when Dad and Mom went to town, Lil and Phyllis would baby sit Don, Linda, and I. They would try to get Linda and I to say a bad word. They threatened to paint our behinds with red nail polish or something if we didn't. Then, when we finally did, they ran to Mom and told her we said a bad word, trying to get us in trouble!
There was also a time when we had a big family get together with Dad's family. We had apple cider at this outing. Don and Sid sure enjoyed themselves. It seems as though the cider was a bit too hard and I remember them both having too much and getting sicker than a dog!
This is where I first became a big hunter. A boy of seven and a slingshot are quite a combination. I remember bagging two things: one was a bumblebee in flight, the other was a car windshield. You could not see the road from our driveway for the trees. I heard a car coming up the hill and shot over the trees. Bullseye!!
I still carry something with me from that time. It is a little scar over my left eye. It was fair time and, Linda and I were playing a game getting ready for the Meigs County Fair. We had a tire swing in the tree in the front yard. I was holding the tire still so Linda could throw a pop bottle through it. The next thing I remember was waking up in the bedroom. She hit me with the bottle right above the eye and knocked me cold.
I Many wonderful memories come from that home. I don't think we were rich in material things, but we were rich just the same. We may not have had a lot, but what we had was cared for, and clean. The most important thing we had was love. We were not just told about love, but we learned through example. We learned about God and His love. Looking at our family, I would say that Mom's faith in God and her and Dad's love for their family was the greatest gift any parents could give their children.
The house may be gone, but the memories will last a lifetime.