Monday, January 19, 2009

Places I've Lived

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When I was in the 2nd grade, my dad was transferred from Pensacola Naval Air Station to Robins AFB in Warner Robins, GA. When we first moved there we lived in an apartment complex but I can't find that location on Google. The only thing I had to go on was that it was across the street from a drive-in theatre. Apparently the theatre is gone but I could find no mention of an address so I can't track down the apartment. It was an interesting place to live. It was a melting pot of all types of people. I remember having friends of all races at that place. The most prominent memories I have of the place are: the drive-in, which showed questionable movies that we could see from our front stoop; the hordes of kids I used to play with including a boy (can't remember his name) whose apartment I used to visit to watch Speed Racer; the ruins of an old house on the edge of the property that we used to explore even though we were expressly forbidden to do so; setting up a lemonade stand for the very first time; getting my very first "cool" bicycle by selling Christmas cards; attending a church where the pastor's name was Rastus Salter.
I'm not sure how long we were there but we eventually moved into the house you see above on Hazel Dr. It turned out to be a very cool place to live even though we all wished we could move back to Pensacola (which we did). Hazel Dr. was located in a part of the county that was developing so it was still quite rural. We lived in a subdivision but behind our house, across the tadpole laden drainage ditch, was a huge cattle farm. In the middle of that field was an old abandoned truck. You can imagine the use we kids put that to. It could be a tank, a spaceship, whatever we wanted. We also used to sneak into the barn, climb up into the hay loft and play. The man who owned the farm would run us off from time to time but he wasn't mean about it. If you followed the drainage ditch to it's end, there was a huge (at least to me at the time) hole in the ground that we called "The Canyon." I only saw it once because I was threatened within an inch of my life to never play there. I hated that I couldn't go there. It was a wondrous place. I can only imagine the great adventures I could have experienced there with the neighborhood kids. They were an imaginative bunch too. We never played normal games. They were always beefed up versions of the regular version. We used to play a game called "Prisoner" which was Hide and Seek 2.0. In the game you had hunters and hiders. The territory was the whole neighborhood. The hunters would seek out the hiders, catch them and place them in jail. Other hiders could break you out of jail. We played that game for hours on end. I also remember that the whole neighborhood was into kite flying. Kids and parents alike would gather in the pasture and loose their store bought or homemade creations to the wind. Daddy made a box kite at one time. We all had our string wound on a reel and the kites would go so high you couldn't see them. It was a serious sport. Other prominent memories include: our next door neighbors had a trampoline and that became the ring for wrestling matches (TBN broadcast serious wrestling back then); jamming with the teens who had a band down the street (I brought my pitiful toy bongos); the neighborhood Easter egg hunts; getting Ming-Sue, our beloved Pekingese dog; the time it snowed 22 inches; and learning some drawing from our teen neighbor Eddie.
While we lived in the house, they built a school across the pasture and I soon was able to walk to school. It was at Richard B. Russell Elementary that I first started playing trumpet, was in my first play (I was a Halloween goblin and I tripped on my costume), and schemed with a friend to run away from home during the summer and live in the woods. The latter never happened and my friend was highly disappointed in me.
I could rattle on for days about stuff but I'll cut it short. I'm glad I've started doing this because it's brought memories to the forefront that I haven't thought of in years. I may have to come back and revisit this time because there's more...much more.


Cassie said...

You ought to write a book...seriously. I'm taking the Write Your Life class at NW. She's doing a repeat in the fall, I think. Maybe you should check it out. It'd be fun to have all your stories bound together...a great family keepsake.

paulmerrill said...

I like your series on places you lived.

(I found you via middlezonemusings.)