I recently took a trip back home through the back roads of my mind in my 38 Ford. The old home place north of Calvertville deteriorated as dad aged. Mom stayed on six years after he passed and it became haggard and frail. The people who now own it have fixed it up dramatically and it looks much better. After spending some time in reminisce there I urged Huldy to Calvertville School where my formal education began, walked up the long steps and got a drink at the water fountain. I remembered Miss Dillon, Mrs. Harshman and Mrs. Hobson. At the feed mill I talked to Bill Crites and Mose Vandeventer and then got an Eskimo pie at the store from Elmer Burch. Then I went down the road to Visit Gramma Van, Uncle Russell and Aunt Mary. I stopped in the cemetery and spent some time with mom and dad and baby brother and then visited with Uncle Frank and Aunt Flossie, Uncle Sheldon and Aunt Catherine, Uncle Ezra and Aunt Violet and the Tulip school. While there I climbed up the bank and sat on the rails of the Tulip Viaduct.
Motoring on to Bloomfield I drank a soda at Pielemier’s Drug Store and noticed that Roy Rogers and Gabby Hays were on the matinee at the Citadel. I ate a burger at the Varsity, shopped at Spark’s Store, on west past the Evening World Office and the park where our family had a reunion every summer. I saw the locker plant where we had many animals butchered and mom bought Michigan fruit in large cans. The REMC reminded me of the annual meetings where mom won an electric stove, a refrigerator and other appliances some even before we had electricity. Past the Lighthouse I sat in the Switz City Gym and remembered. I played in the first official basketball game there. My dad used to smile and ask, “Guess who was whistled for the first foul ever in that place?” Then he would say, “My boy.”
I filled’er up at the HI Q LO P and continued to the drive-in where I spent many happy hours with my sweet face. Closed is now playing. Next stop was the park and the old 4-H fair grounds where I showed my cattle and other 4-H exhibits. On talent night during the fair one year a five piece band from WJHS played in the stone band shell and the crowd would not let them off the stage. They played ‘Hold That Tiger’ till their lips fuzzled. I was the trumpeter in that group.
I drove into Linton past Klusemiers, Freeman Hospital and the Cine theater to the old High School on the northside. My ramblings took me back to highway 67 and northward. Arriving at Worthington, I passed the fields where I detassled corn, Freeman’s abattoir and sausage cupboard, the Highway 67 café, and stopped for a shake at Bailey’s Frozen Custard Stand. Thence past Diamond Point and Sloan’s Seed House, Shell Station, Cities Service and Standard Station to the Hoosier Pete. I shot a game of pool in the pool room. Hurrying past the tavern I bought a sack of popcorn at the State Theater and a candy bar at Tresslar’s Five and Dime. The Rexall Drug store beckoned me inside for a time then on to the Western Auto turning right to the old post office, Rollison’s Hardware the Busy Bee where I drank a marshmallow Pepsi and visited with Hobart and Dimple in the bank.
From there I could see the Royal Palms Tavern, two elevators, the Triangle restaurant, Star Electric, Ingall’s jewelry and Trent’s and Dixon’s barber shops where we got our ears lowered. Goodwin’s garage and Bob and Gayle’s grocery were on down the way.
At the Carnegie Library I could see the Williams House, the Hedden Hotel and the train station and around the corner the Marathon. Huldy then took me to West Main Street past the Times office and Drs. Moses and Christian and Methodist churches. At Dayton Street I stopped and went inside the old school building to the top floor and revisited the study hall and library where I courted a sweet faced librarian then to ‘My Store’, chatted with Mrs. Davis and bought a B-B-Bat. I played a pick up game in the new gym with Jack Brannon, Chet Flynn, Jim Duckworth, Jim Workman and the Warren boys. At half time I played in the Rambler band. Outside I strolled around the Greene County Fair grounds and ate a snow cone and checked on my exhibits and got a yardstick.
At dusk 2009 approached and stepped inside my mind while I was sitting on the Triangle. In a moment of reflection and rumination I wondered “where is the town I used to know?” I miss the way it used to be.