Personal History, Part 2

So, after a year in that special location known as Carterville, we moved to Leonardsville.  Now, that is a small town in the Unadilla River valley: very peaceful town.  I could walk to school .. it was across the street and up a block. Winters were snowy and Summers delightful.

Ahhh .. stories abound from there.  From the sulphur well and hand-cranked telephone to wild Halloweens, almost every day was an adventure.

It is hard to fully describe those two years.  It was a coming of age time.  It was a learning about friends with cool “toys” time.  It was a time of explosive things (mainly bottle rockets …  wait, story there … fire crackers and 22-caliber rifles), of getting buried under a snow slide, of team sports … all of these new to me.

Bottle rockets!  A neighbor brought over some bottle rockets around the 4th of July one year and we were launching them on the sidewalk in front of the Church (my Dad’s church).  Of course, one went into the Belfry.  Man, I was really scared.  So, I got Dad and we climbed the ladder to take a look.  Sure ‘nough!  There was the rocket sitting in a pile of dead, dry leaves and smoldering away.  Got a lickin’ for that one, you-betcha!

I learned two cool things about launching items using explosives: they either fizzle and smoke or they blast off never to be seen again.  The “fizzle” was a series of attempts at launching an aluminum foil rocket with match heads as propellant.  Made a great smoke screen.  But, that’s all.  The “blast” was an empty 30-06 cartridge stuffed with a firecracker.  Put it in a V-channel and lit it.  BAM!  And it was gone.  I think we were lucky it didn’t become shrapnel instead.

Summer was for exploring the country side, shooting at cans in the sand quarry and looking for fossils in the slate quarry.  I remember big, puffy clouds and lots of sunshine, visits to farms to help with bailing, and a Player Piano in the Living room .. opps, that’s another Category.

Winter was just as fun.  Heaps of snow!  Long slides down the hill behind us (it was a huge pasture with a long slope up to a fairly steep hill).  Forts that started out as snow, but ended up with a coating of ice on them to protect them from the roving bands of Fort Busters. However, one day I did get buried alive (obviously, I got out).  A series of snow storms resulted in a lot of snow in banks beside the driveway.  But, it also left a lot on the roofs.  And, while I was digging in a snow pile near the Church building, I heard a “wooosh!”  Next thing I know, I’m pinned to the ground under a mound of heavy snow.  Only slightly panicked(who am I kidding .. I scared to death), I managed to get my hands under myself and push up and through the mound.  Wow!  Air!

So many more stories.  But, you get the picture.  It was a fun time to be a kid.

Oh, BTW, Halloween?  That was the year a drowned calf was raised-up on the school flag pole and someone threw a glass jar of silver paint high up on the brick side of the school building facing the parking lot.  It was there for ages after that.

Next stop .. Utica .. and a whole new lifestyle.  Until then, enjoy!

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