I would say that it was an age of innocence for our parents. They must have thought we were just out for innocent, safe fun and we were but just not the kind of fun they thought.
Looking back on those years, it is hard for me to pick out just a few incidents that would interest my readers because there were so many to choose from.
One fun things for several of us was the funeral we conducted for any dead animal, whether it was one of Ms. Mary’s baby chickens, a bird that we found dead or just any poor little critter. We had no funerals for the painful deaths of our pets. A funeral was a long, drawn out affair with a preacher, the kid who prayed a long, sad prayer and the singers with one person assigned as song leader. The cemetery was in our front yard, which was quite large so we chose a secluded spot among flowering shrubs. It was a good way to spend the afternoon.
But back to painful experiences. A big kid, a couple of years older than we were, named Howard, was hanging around with us trying to start something and he called my father a “big, fat sob”. That did it. I hit him and he slugged me back and we got near a little thorn thicket. About that time, Junior, at whose house we were playing, yelled to his little dog, Tuffy, to sic him and Howard fell backwards into the thorn bushes. He came out crying and scratched all over by the thorns and ran and told his grandfather. The next time Daddy stopped at the post office, the Postmaster, the grandfather, told him that I had hit poor Howard and he came home all scratched up and crying. Daddy thought a minute and then said, “If I were you, I would be ashamed to admit a little girl whipped a big boy like Howard” and then laughed and went on his way.
Another time when I barely escaped getting into trouble concerned my little sister. On the way home from school, a friend of hers, a big strapping girl, looked at Sally’s grade card, which they had just gotten, and hit my sister for making better grades. She really worked her over. My sister came home crying and I checked her out and decided that I would attend to this and leave our mother out of it. I went looking for the bully and found her with a pair of skates tied around her neck, about to go find some concrete to skate on. I took the skates and hit her a few times with the skates. Her mother showed up soon after to tell my mother what I had done. Mama called my sister in and showed her the bruises on my sister and said that she felt the situation had evened out. Whew! I was expecting to be in trouble but I knew that would be the end of my sister being bullied.
One of my life’s greatest scares was when Billy, one of our group, slipped into our house and got Daddy’s big pistol out of the bedroom where Daddy was sleeping after working all night. Daddy worked for the state and always put that loaded pistol on the mantle and we kids knew not to ever touch it and not to even go in his room and wake him up. Billy came out with that big gun and chased us around and around the house. Mama and Billy’s mother were chasing Billy. I remember the yelling and finally Billy’s mother caught up with him and took the gun and gave that boy one fine whipping. Billy and his family owned the big, ten-room house and we lived in half of it. So many things took place around that old house. Incidentally, I imagine Daddy learned not to leave a loaded gun where kids could get it.
Since we will soon be celebrating Christmas, I have a couple of Christmas stories. One Christmas, I wanted a big beautiful doll which I had seen. Now, I had never wanted a doll so my parents went all out and I got a gorgeous doll. Shortly after Christmas, my baby sister and her friend took it out back, cut out its crier, and removed the head to see what made its eyes move and its stuffing came out. Imagine my horror. Daddy said they would go at once and get another doll. I would not accept another doll and vowed to never have another one and I kept that vow. It was the only doll I ever wanted. I might add that my sister and her friend were only six years old.
The next year, I was into baseball and football and the only thing I wanted for Christmas was a football. In a week or so after Christmas, my visiting teen-age cousin and a local teenager took my football out to play with it and burst it, ruining it completely. That was my last football. I had lost interest in football forever.
I want to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and to thank those who sent cards and called. It gives me great pleasure to know that so many people enjoy this column.
You can reach me at 270-522-3632 and if you wish to order my book on gardening, please send $12.50 to: Ronella Stagner, 137 Main Street, Cadiz, KY 42211 and I will send the book at once.