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Dad - In His Words

Letters From Dad
East Fairfax Rd.
Elementary School
Roxboro Jr. High
Early Friendships
Early Vacations
High School
Amherst 1st Year
Jobs '40--'43
In the Navy
USS Drew APA 162
Amherst '46-'49
Tom's Biography
Fran Kimball
Hiram Hardesty

Early Friendships

East Fairfax had all sorts of young people and since the street was relatively short we knew most everyone in the neighborhood. We have talked about the fact that we had no television or organized sports at the time so it was necessary for us to create our own entertainment with our various friends. I can well remember the different neighbors, some young and some old. Next to us to the east were Mr. & Mrs. White. They were considerable older than my folks but very friendly. They had an older son and daughter neither of whom I knew very well. The one thing I remember about Mr. White was at the time one of our dogs was hit by a car. The dog was lying in the street and Mr. White went out to pick him up. When he got there the dog suddenly jumped up and ran. My folks were out that evening but when they came home the dog was on the front porch waiting for them. However being hit by the car was too much and he died the next day. I can still see Mr. White reaching down for the dog and the startled look on his face when the dog jumped up and ran away.

Next to the White’s were the Mawbys. At the time we had no McDonalds or other fast food restaurants but we did have hamburger shops. The Mawbys had the best hamburger shop in Cleveland Heights. I remember their store on Lee Rd. where you could get a hamburger with the works for 10 cents. Next to the Mawbys were the Bishops. Bob Bishop, the son, was older than most of us on the street. On the 4th of July one year Bob ordered a lot of fireworks from a company from out of State and sold all of us some firecrackers and cherry bombs which we proceeded to shoot off regardless of the fact that the ‘4th of July was still a few days off. At the time fireworks were illegal in Ohio, except when shot off by an authorized person. Someone called the police and they arrived and caught a group of us red handed shooting off the crackers. They asked us where we got the fireworks and at first we wouldn’t tell so they told us to get into the police car for a trip to the station. With that we broke down and squealed on Bob Bishop. I don’t know what happened to him but he wasn’t too friendly for sometime. We of course lost all our cherry bombs and firecrackers but were really glad not to go to jail.

Across the street was Mr. Kneen. He was an elderly Manxman and undoubtedly a very nice person. However we used to pick on him during Halloween, putting garbage on his front porch, sticking pins in his doorbell and soaping his windows. My Mother was really upset with us but I guess someone had to be the recipient of our desire to do “tricks” on Halloween. Next to Mr. Kneen to the West was the Myers. Mrs. Myers was I believe a widow who had an older son Bob living with her. She was the only one in the neighborhood that bought live chickens at the market and brought them home to butcher them We would go over to her back yard and watch her grab a chicken, cut its throat, and throw it up in the air and it would run around the yard until it died and the blood had all run our of its body. Mrs. Myers would then clean the chicken in boiling water.

One summer our family stayed at the Reading Farm and Dad and I decided we would do the same for a Sunday dinner. We got a chicken, I held it down on a tree stump and Dad hit it with an ax. I of course was startled and let go little too soon. The chicken jumped up and ran around the yard with its head half off but finally gave up. We then stuck it in boiling water and tried to de-feather it. That was a terrible job and the flies were thick around us, we had a hard time getting the feathers out and by the time we were through we decided we would never do that again. And I never have.

Now back to my numerous friends with whom I played. Next door of course was Bill Silva; across the street to the east of Mr. Kneen was Carol Marvin, one or two years older than myself. Next to here was George Gender. We called George “Dirty” and to this day I don’t know why. At this time Polio was a very real threat to all families and George had polio as a small boy. His mother always felt it was because he drank out of the end of a hose so my mother and other mothers insisted we never drink out of a hose. Undoubtedly an old wives tale but very real at the time. A little farther up the street was Carolyn Braden, older by a couple of years but still one of the gang and the real beauty on the street.

Next to her were the Klein’s, Paul, Pattie and Albert and Lois. Albert was my age and Paul and Pattie one or two years older, Lois being the youngest was about Davis age... It made no difference however because we all played together on the street. Albert was drafted about the same time I was during WWII and lost his life on D-day during the invasion of France. Remember that I was only 12 years old when we left E. Fairfax so the activities we engaged in at that time were playing baseball in the street, kick the Can and a game called First Light. When playing in the evening we would wait until the streetlights came on and make a mad dash to the pole and the first to reach it would slap the pole and yell “First Light”.

This was depression time and while none of us had a great deal our parents were such that we never felt the need of anything. We entertained our selves for the most part around the neighborhood since no one had any money to go anywhere. I had many other friends who lived on the neighboring streets, a couple of whom were friends from the time we went to Kindergarten together.

Larry Russell lived on Clarendon, the next street over and we spent a lot of time together. Larry was in my class through High School and on our 50th high school reunion in 1993 we, with our wives, went to the reunion together. We all had a really silly habit in those days. I would call Larry up and say ‘I’ll be over in 5 minutes and call for you” I would then go to his house, stand outside the back door and yell “Russell” till he came out. Why we didn’t ring the doorbell I don’t know. Mark Kruse, Bob Johnson, Dick Heller, all lived on neighboring streets and we were all in the same grade and hung around together at this time.