Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Early Days (Chapter 5)

All of mom’s family lived in Tennessee except for her older sister, my Aunt Bertha. Aunt Bert was only four feet eleven inches tall. I loved Aunt Bert, dearly. I spent a lot of time with her. Aunt Bertha married a man named Gil Henderson when I was about three years old. Uncle Gil took a great deal of interest in me.
Uncle Gil & Aunt Bertha
Most weekends, I would spend at least one night with Aunt Bert and Uncle Gil. Uncle Gil taught me to play checkers. He would cheat because he couldn’t stand to lose. Uncle Gil always told mom and dad, “You don’t ever have to worry about Mike. If something happens to you, I’ll take care of him. I’ll send him to college and make sure he’s always provided for.” Unfortunately, I lost my Uncle Gil to a heart attack when I was thirteen years old. He was only fifty years old.
I remember when Uncle Gil had his first heart attack. He came home from the hospital and wanted me to come visit him. I told mom I didn’t want to see him when he was sick. I would wait until he got feeling better. That never happened. He had another heart attack and died before I got to see him again. I have always regretted that decision
Cousins Wayne & Judy
I remember mom worked until I was about three years old. Aunt Bertha’s middle son, Wayne, was overseas in the Marines. His wife, Judy, was my baby sitter. Recently, I asked Judy what I was like when she babysat me. Here is what she said, “I remember this sweet little boy with big eyes. You were a little on the plump side, and had short little legs that tried to keep up with me when we walked up to Parkmoor. You were always dressed nice, and I don't think you ever got dirty that I can remember. You were a little spoiled, but in a nice way. You never asked for anything, and was always polite. I think what stands out the most in my mind is your smile with a big old dimple, and your southern accent. You were so cute I couldn't help but love you. Wayne was away in the Marines at that time, and doesn't remember anything about you at that age. I hope this helps hon.” I still stay in touch with Judy. We Facebook each other all the time.
Barb & Aunt Adie
I started kindergarten when I was four years old. Beavercreek did not have a public kindergarten. So, I went to a private kindergarten at the home of Mrs. McCray. The McCray’s lived on Grange Hall Road. She had converted her basement into a classroom. I had a good time in kindergarten. I remember we took field trips. One of our field trips was to the brand new Kettering Memorial Hospital. The Dayton Daily News took our picture with a stethoscope and wrote an article about our class visiting the hospital. A few years ago I found the newspaper article while going through my Aunt Adie's pictures at my cousin, Barb's house. Aunt Adie had clipped and saved it all those years ago.

Newspaper Clipping
Mrs. McCray also had a beautiful console organ in her house. Remember, I mentioned earlier that Sister Hume played the organ. That instrument just fascinated me. Mrs. McCray’s daughter would give our class concerts on the organ.
Kindergarten Class



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