NOTICE: I have changed the date of these blogs to Monday and Thursday and not Sunday/Wednesday. These days give me a better chance to edit my work.
I thought I heard those words. Maybe not. More about that near the end. But it all starts with me riding my bike to Forest City almost daily in good weather. I believe it was from about age 11-13 that I did this. I have tons of stories that I remember from riding my bike to town. So I will call this one Part One and there may be more coming later in my ramblings in 2017.
Nothing to Do in the Country
It was five miles from my house to Forest City. I lived in the country and my siblings were older and had either left the house for good or were in high school and were running around with their friends. What am I going to do all day? I got the idea I would ride my bike to town. We would play ALL day (who does that anymore?) and then ride my bike home before dark.
Is it Too Dark?
I remember vividly my mom telling me not to ride home if it got too dark. Light bulb goes off in my head to play the system. I would wait until almost dark and call my mom and ask her if I should head home. Almost invariably she would tell me no that she would come in and get me. We would put the bike in the trunk of the Oldsmobile and go home. I thought I was pulling something over on her but now looking back I know better. She didn’t mind.
I would get to town about 10AM and stay until 7-8PM. We would play baseball, baskeball, football, go to the Forest City ditch and back to baseball and repeat. It never got old and we were never malicious in things we did. Well, I guess that is open to interpretation. We did a few ornery things that are remembered. But we weren’t criminals.
Penny or Dime?
Everytime I rode to town my parents gave me two dollars to use. That was plenty. Afterall, the soda machine took dimes as Pepsi was 10 cents per bottle and a candy bar was the same price. I could have 10 sodas and 10 candy bars in one day (Pepsi and a Snickers)…. and frequently I did. From time to time I accepted an invitation to eat lunch with someone in Forest City but I didn’t often as I was in town ALL DAY long for many days a week for every summer month.
I am not sure if we were low on dimes or not but we (whatever kid was with me) decided that we could file a penny down to fit the size of a dime. But how? Just up Main Street on the left as you head to Manito (about across from the phone booth) Frank Woiwode owned a shop that was locked but had all kinds of saws and stuff. One of my brother Lyle’s best friends was Terry Woiwode and we secured a key from him to work on our craft. We took ten pennies and ground them down to dime size. Then we went to the outdoor machine at Bud and Jerry’s Grocery Store and put one in. Out came the penny back in the return slot, no luck. We tried them one-by-one and lo and behold ONE of the ten worked and we got a soda. It was the only of the ten that worked!
The next day, I rode to town and we went in to the grocery store and there, on the side of the cash register, was our penny. We concocted a plan to distract them near the back so we could switch that penny with a bad one and use it again. We did this about three times and decided to quit and not press our luck. Bud and Jerry’s was our favorite and only hangout and we didn’t want to mess that up.
NOTE: I hope the statute of limitations has run out on that Federal Offense!
Bud and Jerry’s
Since I have mentioned the grocery store in Forest City, I am going to expand on it a bit. They were nice to us kids but never to the point to make us feel warm and fuzzy. I think they lived in Matanza Beach or Quiver Beach while running the store. One night, after dark and after their closing time, we were roaming around the town and came to their front door. For some reason I walked by and turned the door handle and it came wide open. I know what you are thinking…. the store is ours. We walked just inside and yelled to see if they were there and no answer. We were excited but knew (yes we had a conscience) this was wrong. We left and went down the street to another kids house to “prove” we could get into the store. We went back to the grocery and went in. Then we quickly went out and latched the door which caused it to lock. We never told the owners as we thought it not best to let them know we tried. We took nothing from it but an experience.
When a bunch of kids play baseball all day things don’t always go smoothly. At this point I will reveal some of the kids that I played with in Forest City. Some of them may be in the other stories and some not. In a days time it was Bob Skaggs, Jerry Wills, Denny Fletcher, John Limback, Ed Embree, Stan Embree, Jim Petty and Mike Kolvis.
One particular game stand out. We were playing on the Junior High school diamond most of the time (using good equipment as they story comes in a bit) when there was a play on the base paths that involved Jim Petty and Mike Kolvis. They burst out with plenty of loud obscenities and innuendoes that the rest of us playing found humorous. Then the next thing stunned us. Mike tells Jim to “kiss my ass” and Petty retorts with “mark the spot.” Without hesitation Kolvis whips down his pants and points to his butt cheeks. We, including Jim Petty, just laugh and smile at the discussion and go back to playing baseball.
I have more baseball stories than will be in Part 2 of this topic.
Turning on the Christmas Lights
It was a hot day. Probably it was June and Jerry Wills and I were sitting on the steps of the Town Hall. It was located where the Firehouse is now located in Forest City. You could sit on the steps and see in three directions really well. This particular day we were likely talking about a myriad of things that we normally talked about. I was finishing a Pepsi and Snickers sitting there looking at the lines running across the street to the town hall. Forest City kept Christmas lights up all year long. I studied the line coming across to a box located on the outside wall. I actually did it twice. Carefully I could tell the Christmas lights could be turned on by flipping that switch. I told Jerry I had it figured out and he should watch me turn on the lights. I reached up and proudly pulled the switch and no Christmas lights came on. Instead it was the switch for the Fire Siren that alerted the town there was a fire and help was needed at the firehouse. I quickly shut it off. Jerry and I looked at each other for a millisecond and RAN. We just ran. Jerry told me the next day his sister mentioned she heard the fire siren and did he know where the fire was.
The Forest City Junior High school used a closed chute as their emergency exit from the upstirs in case of a fire. Those of us around all the time found we could shinny up them and come to a door at the top. Sometimes it had a bar that kept it from being opened from our side. Well there was two of them and the west side always was left with no bar and we found we could push it open. So what we did was we would walk all the way around the school to see if there were any cars around. If no cars, we would go up the west fire escape, push the door open and we were in charge of the school. Let me tell you now that we NEVER damaged anything or vandalized a piece of the Junior High. BUT what we did do (about 25-30 times) was go to the equipment closet and use all the baseball stuff everyday for our baseball games.
That was fine and dandy until one day, one of the guys and I checked out no cars and took the equipment back and was heading to the fire escape when we heard a noise. A person. We slid down the escape and for some unknown reason just stood up the hill about 50 feet away. The library door opens and the JH principal wiggles his index finger to come to him. We went inside and he was in his office and I could have sworn I heard him say “call the sheriff.” But I guess he didn’t as he simply asked us if we had just been in the building. We nodded our head affirmatively. He asked us what we were doing and we told him about using the equipment. He informed us nicely that he had seen evidence of someone in the building but never saw any vandalism or anything missing. He then said we should leave and never do that again. We left and NEVER, EVER attempted that again.
I would bet you didn’t know that Forest City had a mafia. Well they weren’t called the mafia they were the DTG. That’s for another time!
January 11th – Kilbourne Condom
January 8th – I’m Still Paying For It
January 4th – My First School Basketball Team
January 1st – The History of Me- My Birthday