Friday, January 28, 2011


This is the house I grew up in over in Longview, Tx. That's been over 50 years ago, and it has seen better days. It has passed through many people since then. It's on the south side of town as well, and a lot of the newer homes and growth in the city has gone to the north, so this neighborhood or area is now mostly black and hispanic. Still that area seem quaint to me, nostalgia I'm sure.


I had a happy childhood, so I have mostly happy thoughts of that period. We had a neighborhood with a lot of other children around so we'd always be outside playing. There were two girls across the street that were me and my brothers closest friends, and then other boys up and down the street as well. I had one friend that lived down the street named Scott that got me into building model airplane and such. He eventually moved away to Jacksonville, Tx. A new family moved into his home, and the boy from that family was a very active type kid, so he fell in with the rest of us playing outside: tag, football, riding our bikes, and such. I seem to remember we'd also go around on Halloween in a small group sometimes.

The streets were not paved, but black top, and they'd come by nearly every summer and grade it up and add oil to renew it. I used to have fun sitting out there and watching the machines go up and down doing their work. It would smell like oil long after they'd gone, and your shoes or bare feet would get black all over them. There would be trucks that would come by too that sprayed for mosquitoes. The spray would fog out of the trucks in a huge cloud and we'd run behind them or just play out in the mist like idiots inhaling the DDT bug poison. There was also a creek down at the end of the block, and we'd go down there and goof around. We'd sometimes try and catch a crawdad or two. From the photo you can see there was a red porch, and we'd play around on it. We were playing some tag-like game one summer and I remember jumping off of it, and I fell back towards the porch hitting my head on the bricks, and I cracked my head open. I ran crying inside and my mom bathed me as I cried and the bathtub filled up red with blood as she did so. Then off to Dr. Parrish's office, and I got stitches in my head. I didn't like that at all.

There was LeTourneau University that was a good bike's ride further south of us. My Dad took some electrical courses there. He eventually became an electrician. They had a swimming pool that we'd ride our bikes to during the summer. I seemed to remember that it was also an army barracks or something--perhaps it was some sort of army reserves, and one summer we got our bikes inside the halls of it, and rode our bikes down through there. They were long hallways, with windows and wooden floors you could haul-ass down. I noted that it looked like apartments and such with beds in them as we went swooshing by. But being a kid, didn't think much beyond that until a couple of guys living there, came out into the hallway and yelled at us to get the hell out of there. Which of course we did, post-haste. They also had a canteen, that as I remember made the best french fries and cherry limes, that we'd buy sometimes after swimming.

I also remember the Arlyne Theater. They had a balcony in it and it had plush red carpeting going up it to the restrooms. It also had neat lighting and lamps and some sort of unusual painting on the walls to help convey mood. As you walked inside they had the refreshment area that smelled of fresh popcorn, and of course drinks and assorted candies. That was our first stop. Then on into the darkness for some out of this world adventure. I remember seeing The Alamo with John Wayne, Mysterious Island, Elvis Presley films, and The Blob (which gave me nightmares) there. They actually had ushers there that would shine a light into your eyes and tell you to keep quiet.

Nostalgia, so it goes. Such was my fifties upbringing and Leave It To Beaver life.


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