Dad had bought me a used bike in about 1931 that had been used pretty hard. Someone had painted it with a brush an ugly blue color, but I was happy to get a bike, since I had been asking for one for some time. It didn’t have any fenders and when I had to go through muddy water, it would leave a line up my back. Mom would fuss about this. I sure did want a new bike but I’m sure I didn’t look for muddy waters to ride through to get her to pressure my Dad into buying me one. Once in a while we got a new Sears Roebuck catalog. I spent hours dreaming over the pictures of beautiful new bikes. They were red and white, had horns, lights, white wall tires and fenders. Finally, Christmas 1933 I got my brand new bike. I was so proud of it; I treated it like a guy would treat a brand new Corvette today.
Well, one night shortly after I got it, after we were all in bed I began to worry about my bike sitting on the back porch. I got up and slipped out the back door and brought my bike into my bedroom. I set it up in my room where I could keep my eye on it. Sometime during the night I must have had a nightmare and called out loudly. (Probably dreaming someone was stealing my bike.) Mom hit the floor at a dead run and ran through the dark into my room and straight into my bike. She and the bike were tangled up on my bedroom floor. My Dad came running down the hall, turned on the light; fortunately Mom only received scratches and bruises. Neither of them were happy, and I was in trouble again.
There was just so much trouble to get into. They were building a house next door and we boys spent time down there poking around. One day during the summer, I was walking through the new house that was in the framing stage and I climbed up on the stairs they were building. For some reason, as boys will do, I jumped down instead of walking down the stairs. A lot of loose boards were scattered around on the floor and I landed on a short board about six inches long that had a big nail sticking up. Again I was barefoot and that nail stuck right up through the top of my foot. I hopped home next door, crying, and my mother almost fainted. I got blood all over everything. She took me to Dr. Dunn next door and he pulled it out and gave me my first tetanus shot.
It was really handy to have Dr. Dunn living next door. Another time, we were throwing broken bottles against a water meter in the alley. One of those bottles got caught on my index finger and almost cut a big hunk out of it. Mom took me to Dr. Dunn, and he stitched my finger back together.
One of our favorite games was what we called “Rooster Fighting.” You had four guys; the two bigger guys would carry the smaller ones on their shoulders. The idea was each team would try to pull the other to the ground. We were doing this one day down at TI and Bennett Brown’s house. I was up on TIs’ shoulders and we were trying to pull the other guys to the ground.
They got behind us and pulled TI down, and as we went down I hit my head on the corner of their brick house and sort of slid down the brick. Here we go again; I was bleeding like a stuck hog and ran home. Back to Dr. Dunn of course and he stitched me up. I remember him telling my Mother, “We are going to have to put zippers on this kid.”
My poor Mother, it is a wonder she survived my adolescence.