Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Early Days (Chapter 4)

When I was first born, mom and dad lived on the west side of Dayton on Oxford Avenue. When I was about a year old, they moved into a brand new townhouse on Embassy Drive. That apartment complex is now called Northland Village. After about a year, they moved back to the west side in a duplex on Broadway. The house on Broadway holds my earliest memories. It was a two-story house. I remember tumbling down the stairway when I was about two years old. 
Me About 1963
After living about a year on Broadway, we moved to Kettering into a house on East Dorothy Lane. By now, I had my own little piano. I banged the living daylights out of it. My brother was entering his junior year of high school. And, he had met the love of his youth, Connie Burkes.
Mom and dad decided it was time to stop renting and to buy a house. So, they purchased a home in Beavercreek. This house was nestled in the woods behind the Belmont Drive-in Theater which was on County Line Road; and, just across from Bergamo on Shakertown Road. We moved into our home in 1963. That is where we stayed until after I graduated from High School.
It was a very small house. It had two bedrooms, one bath and about 800 square feet of living space. But, it had a huge yard. We were surrounded by woods. And, we had probably 20 full-grown oak, maple and walnut trees in our yard.
Brother & Connie, 9/4/65
My brother literally hated it when we moved to Beavercreek. His girlfriend and all of his friends went to Fairmont East in Kettering. And, now he felt alone at Beavercreek High. It was about this time that he started to drive. He and Connie dated exclusively. I was pretty much a spoiled brat. I could get just about anything I wanted from my mom. So, if Denny was going on a date and I wanted to go, mom made him take me. He obviously resented it. And, I don’t blame him.
I can remember being in the back seat of his car as we were going to pick up Connie one evening. He was so angry that he had to take me with him. He was intentionally swerving the car from left to right. I was rolling all over the back seat. He scared me to death. Now, Denny was just a normal teen who wanted his freedom. And, here he was strapped with his three or four year old little brother on a date. I think I would have been angry, too.
I can remember those early, inquisitive years. You know, those years when you ask about everything. I can remember my brother becoming angry with me. He got frustrated with me one day and angrily said, “Why don’t you just shut up! All you ever do is ask questions. I’m sick of it!” I can understand his frustration. But, something happened to me that day. I lost part of that tender curiosity God blesses children with. I don’t think I ever got it back.
I was born in an era when there was still a nuclear threat. But, I never had a lot of fear of things like that. I remember seeing the signs for fallout shelters on buildings when I passed them. But, I didn’t really understand what it all meant.
Gumby & Pokey
I can remember the day that President Kennedy was assassinated. I was sitting in our living room floor. I was playing with my Gumby and Pokey figures. Dad had just bought me a new Gumby tracing desk. It had a light behind a white plastic screen so you could trace pictures. I can remember the television show being interrupted and the news media coverage coming on. I remember momma running into the living room and shouting, “Oh, no!”

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