Friday, October 30, 2009

Childhood memories

I was lying in bed last night, luxuriating (Have I ever told you that I love my bed? I love my bed!) in a sort of dream state and expecting at any moment to fall back again into a deep sleep, when my mind turned to thoughts of David Gehringer.

David Gehringer is the little boy who lived directly across the road from us many many years ago when we lived 'out in the country' on West Arndale Road in Stow, Ohio. Daddy was working for either Goodyear or Goodrich in Akron, I forget which. He was a research chemist and we had moved to Ohio from Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I was born.

I can't think of a single good reason why we were living so far away from daddy's work, or why we were raising chickens ... Rhode Island Reds, they were. We had all sorts of bugs and critters and mice and - oh, yes! A very large outdoor-type cat that loved first playing with, then finally dispatching and perhaps even eating some of whatever she had chosen to make her prey that hour. She kept the larger rodents well under control - a very good thing.

David and I were exactly the same age, still not in school, and spent many hours together running, climbing trees, gathering eggs (his family raised chickens, too) and playing doctor under this humongous tree in our yard. This last activity seemed to cause Mother no end of worry, and she frequently would come out to where we were (carrying lemonade or cookies, or anything that would serve as a reasonable excuse for her intruding into our professional activities) just to see what was 'going on'.

Well, what was going on was that we were simply and quite properly playing doctor. David was the doctor and I was his nurse. One of my dolls would be our patient. We would examine the doll, feel it all over to see where it hurt and stuff like that. As I recall, we even had a make-believe stethoscope. We could spend literally hours playing doctor. It's funny now, trying to imagine it. Can't, really.

Have you ever gathered eggs? Feeling under a hen's bottom for an egg is such a neat experience ... really soft and warm. The eggs have little feathers and stuff stuck to them. Not all clean and smooth like you see in the stores.

Whenever Mother wanted to cook up some chicken for supper, she'd go out into the yard and grab one, lay it on a big old stump and chop its head off with an axe. Afterwards, we got to watch the chicken running around in circles missing its head. That was the darndest thing! We had to stay well away, because there'd be blood and goo flying everywhere for a while.

The farm behind us had a large field which backed up to our property. In that large field, which was enclosed by one of these wooden cross hatch type fences - great for climbing on, resided a large bull. We used to like to climb on the fence and watch the bull graze. Every now and then he'd look over our way and give a little snort. We always kept our distance.

David was the baby in his family. (In mine, there was still just my sister and me. Johnny hadn't come along yet.) He had an older brother who owned a Model A - or Model T - Ford that had a rumble seat. Every once in a while, he would give David and me a ride in it. What a special treat that was!

Oh, the things that just come into your mind while you're lying there in bed. It's odd, I think, that I remember so clearly how to spell David's last name. I wonder if he's still around?


The Bug said...

That sounds like a great childhood - kind of like how my dad grew up on a dairy farm in NC... He didn't really like farming though & ended up working for UPS for 35 years!

Goldenrod said...

We were only on that little farm a year or two, Bug. Then we moved to Cuyahoga Falls. My brother was born there, and we were living there when Roosevelt died. We moved to Munising, Michigan (Upper Peninsula) when I was in the third grade.

West Arndale Road was my one (and only) brief experience with any type of farming at all when I was a kid. I don't recall any return visits to see David or visit the Gehringers. In fact, I don't remember David's parents at all! I remember the older brother only vaguely because of the rumble seat rides, I expect. Except for the few memories I have of that time, I have no photos or other memorabilia about it. It's almost as though that period never existed, except I know that it did.

Odd, huh?

Chuck said...

I often wondered if "running around like a chicken without its head" was a true representation of reality.

I've heard of Stow, OH -- George Younce, the fabulous bass singer of the famous Cathedrals Quartet (Gospel singers) lived there.

Goldenrod said...

Definitely a true representation of reality, Chuck. I remember the surprise I felt the first time I witnessed it. I couldn't understand how the chicken could possibly be running around when its head had been cut off! Was it still alive?

The explanation was given to me, but - of course! - I forget what it is. Some sort of reflexive mechanism within the chicken, I expect.