Thankfully, I can’t remember those “good-old” days when my folks had to change my diapers, feed me at 2 a. m. and do all of those other lovely things that families go through with new babies.
However, I was told that I was born at home on Summer Avenue in Waco, Texas. I have not even a dim memory of the birthing process. Now, you didn’t really expect me to-did you?
Early life included an experience that, I’m convinced, has had a profound effect on all my days. An incident with a tricycle at ridden at high speed around the house and stopped cold by a corner resulted in a split on my head, raised a large knot, and, I believe, contributed to a personality that does not always track straight.
However, being born into a family with a much older sister, who lived just to annoy me, was my fate. As I remember, she was pursuing me with revenge on her mind that day. I wonder what she thought I had done to cause her violent intent. So my personality is largely her fault.
Our next door neighbors were the Harrington’s. He was the rough looking (to me), seasoned chief of the Waco Fire Department. Mrs. Harrington was a dark haired, dark eyed beautiful woman. Even at a very young age I had a taste for beautiful women—and I haven’t gotten over it yet!
The Harrington’s had a pony in an enclosure in the back yard (long,long before large animals were outlawed in neighborhoods). At the front of the enclosure was a gate with a board hung low over the entry to support the gate.
One day my much older sister, Shirley, was riding the pony. The pony was anxious to get back to its feed inside the enclosure. He ran through the gate and, in the process, deposited Shirley on the ground with a lump on her head. Perhaps that was her payback for the tricycle incident.
Lee Harrington (or Lee P, as everyone called him) was the same age as I was and was my first playmate. We had some fun times—sometimes digging around our houses and eating dirt. We refined our menu by taking table spoons from the kitchen and enjoyed our little game until our mothers noticed the black rings around our mouths.
Lee P always wore “long handles” with the trap door in the seat. He was frequently seen running around the neighborhood with the trap door down. Not a pretty sight, but it did teach me, even then, the notion of being embarrassed.
Our escapades inevitably led to quarrels and fights-battling 3 & 4 year olds must have been a great sight. I had been admonished many a time by my parents not to fight—so day after day I was thoroughly thrashed by Lee P. finally, Mother talked to Mrs. Harrington about it and Mrs. Harrington said that I must fight back! Well-mother gave me permission and I promptly went out and cleaned Lee P’s plow. I’m told that victory ended the fights.
Lee and I remained good friends for life- going through school together and even Baylor together. Lee was an outstanding athlete having played center-linebacker for Baylor and catcher on the baseball team.
Lee was very involved with the Baylor athletic association for many years after coaching and being a public school administrator for a career.
Sadly, Lee and his wife were killed instantly when returning from cancer treatment in Houston. Lee simply pulled out in front of an 18 wheeler.
All of Lee’s friends, including me, miss Lee’s big smile and bear hug we always got at Baylor events.