Thursday, October 27, 2011

What Memories - Trick or Treat

It is that time of year again when those little ghost and goblins show up on your steps and front door asking for goodies. Just how this all got started is certainly a mystery, but it was a favorite time of year for me. Dressing up in all those different costumes, running from house to house, and looking at all those carved pumpkins made for an interesting evening.

French Avenue was the best place in Winchester to "trick or treat". [I got better with the tricks as age increased.] This was the part of town that had all those old houses with the very large porches, and many single, old women, who would invite you into their houses. The tables were often set with all kinds of candies, and you were allowed to help yourself. [A hand full or two was certainly possible!] They would laugh, and admire your costume, and make over the excitement of event. Of course you always had to say "trick or treat" several times.

The picture above shows one of the cousins in their skeleton costume. It had to be one of the cousins since I do not remember every wearing a coat while going about the business of collecting all those goodies. [It would usually take me two weeks or so to get through my sack!] Plus, I would have never stood so still having my picture taken in such a getup. At any rate, such was the times...mask, sack, and outfit. Trick or Treat...they say...what memories.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

A family reunion was always a big deal in my growing up years. This was especially true on the Ewen-Morton side of the family tree. We would often gather at Natural Bridge State Park which was just a hop, skip, and a jump up the road from Slade and Nada where Mom had spent most of her growing up years. This natural wonder had a trail to the top which had "fat man's squeeze". This of course was one of my favorites since I was small and skinny and well, many on my Ewen-Morton side were a littler larger than I.

The picture shows a boat load of cousins. The autos in the background suggest this was taken around 1956 and my brother Henry is sitting high in the stern. [That's the back of the boat.] I am the one leaning over the side with my hand in the water, feeling the coolness, wanting to jump right into the clear stream. [On the most part, this was pre-pollution days.] Water was to play an important part in my life yet to come, being a swimming instructor for many years. [I taught most of Winchester how to swim.] At any rate, on this summer day, my cousins and I shared an adventure on the waters of time...row, row, row your boat.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Calling Uncle

For most of us upon this earth, we grow up around uncles. The brothers to our mom's and dad's who may or may not play an important role in our early childhood development. [Husbands to our aunts are also called uncles, but somehow they seemed not as involved.]

Six uncles were involved in my childhood. Four on my mother's side [Ewen], and two on my father's [Jones]. The picture to the right shows my two uncles on my father's side in their own early school days. Both red headed, uncle Gayle was six (extreme right), and uncle Gene was eight years old. They were attending Hickman Street School, where many of my Jones family had walked the halls. World War II was about to end, and I suspect they had their own struggles during their growing up years.

Uncle Gayle looks a bit disturbed by all this first grade picture taking. That horizontal Jones smile (or frown) is in place. I have had a bad hair day so lets get this over with, he seems to be saying. Uncle Gayle introduced me to scouts and taught me to tie square knots.

Uncle Gene has a little different look. Almost smiling, his hair is carefully combed, and his expression seems confident. Here I am world, make way, he seems to be saying. He was the story teller of our family, and I spent many hours soaking in the verbal acrobatics that made, well Gene, Gene. I was not always sure I could believe every story that was told, but the laughter and joy in the telling covered most of my suspicions. He opened many doors to my childhood imagination. Laughing so hard sometimes, I had to call...Uncle.