Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Random Memories

Having started this “blog thing” early last November, and then completing over 65 individual postings of my “memories” over the past 85 years, I sometimes “rack my brain” - and even pray - for some more memories to recall and write down.

The problem is, I can think of many individual “happenings” that might be sufficiently interesting to “jot down” here, but many of them constitute only one short incident worth remembering. Hardly the 3 or 4 pages long that I usually write.

What to do about that?

The only, maybe even temporary, thing to do, I figured, is to write down this title above - “Random Memories” - and tell short, to the point, stories about SEVERAL “happenings”.

Can you live with that?

I think I’ve mentioned before that when different stories, or “memories” come to mind, I jot them down - either here on the computer; or in my BlackBerry if I’m out of the apartment (or in bed!); or even on any piece of paper available, if I have a pencil.

WARNING! I’m going to start relating one “short” incident after another, including what I can remember about it, then move on to the next one. I don’t mind admitting, that if more incidents on that subject come to mind, I very likely will extend that into its own “posting” on this blog.


Seventy-five to eighty years ago, our little church in Mechanicsburg was a member of The Methodist Protestant Church denomination. Though our local church was later called “Trinity Methodist”, (my sister-in-law Doris remembered that name for me) before that denomination merged with the Methodist Episcopal Church to form The Methodist Church, the two churches in town were called “The MP Church”, and “The ME Church”.

Though our church later had an Annual State Conference in Lakeside (on Lake Erie), at the time now discussed, the MP State Conference met at a Campground at the edge of Sabina, Ohio. When speaking of that annual conference, we just referred to “Sabina”. “Are you going to Sabina this year?” (Although I was only 8 or 9 years old, I CAN remember some things.)

The main thing I can remember about Sabina was that one summer during that time, my mother - Mae Maddex - was a “delegate” to the conference. Her responsibility - along with others - was to meet for maybe a week at Sabina - for inspiration, and Conference-wide decisions. Not the least of which was to help “assign” ministers to the various MP churches in the state.

The MP church at that time, was an “episcopal” denomination, as differing from a “congregational” one. That is, where the latter groups allowed a majority of the local members to vote on and decide who would be their minister for the coming year, in the episcopal group, the “conference” had the ultimate authority. Oh, the local group (represented by my mother and others from various churches in the state) could give input to the decision about their minister - even “requesting“ a certain man - their task was an “advisory” one only.

For the year now in question, my mother went to Sabina, accompanied by me! Though I wish there were some way to “accurately” determine the actual year, I can’t find it. Therefore, I have to “guess” that I was about 8 or 9 years old at the time.

Though Mother was in meetings without me most of the time, there were evening meetings of inspiration that we both attended. If I could only remember the names of some of the participants, it would surely include some well known names in the history of The Methodist Church.

My activities in the daytime, mostly centered around a fairly large Croquet Court. I met a friend there, a little older than I, who had his own “special” mallet. It had a short handle, and he was an accurate “hitter”. How I did it, I don’t know, but I somehow was able to get my own “special” mallet - and took it home with me at the end of the week.

There were tennis courts there, also. I was rather too young and/or small to play much of that, I think. (I’ve ALWAYS been “small”.)

Maybe 20 years ago or so, Jean and I drove to Sabina, looking for remnants of that “camp”. At that time, there were still some buildings left - barracks, I think. I was looking for the “large tabernacle” (at least in the eyes of a nine year old), but it apparently was torn down many years ago. Couldn’t find any tennis courts either.

Last time we went to Sabina, there was not even a “hint” of a campground ever having been there.


1941 Chrysler

I have earlier indicated that Jean and the boys and I moved to Chicago the summer of 1954. Just after getting settled in our “two story flat” there, Martha was born.

In either 1955 or 1956, Jean took the three “kids” and drove back to Mechanicsburg for a summer vacation. (I saved my “vacation” for Christmas time.) The car she drove (the only one we had), was a 1946 Chevrolet Two Door sedan.

One evening, I received a call from her that went something like this:

“I just bought a car!”.

“You what?”

“I bought Forest McKinney’s 1941 Chrysler for $150. It’s only got 1500 miles on it. (pant, pant) It’s never been out of the garage in rain or snow. Forest wouldn’t do it. (pant, pant) It’s in excellent shape. The tires have plenty of tread on them. (pant, pant) The kids love it - and so do I. (pant, pant) Mom lent us the money. We can take our time paying her back.”

(She took her first long breath.)

“Uh………what else did you do in your spare time?”, I sarcastically ask.

“We drove up to see Leah in Toledo. The car drives and rides real well. We’ll drive it home next week.”

I don’t remember what she did with the Chevy, but I was glad to get rid of it. Even “gladder” to have a car with 1500 miles on it.

The car was really in good shape! The finish looked like new, and it drove like a Cadillac. (As if I knew what a Cadillac drove like.)

I remember a couple of instances about the Chrysler:

One day I was driving up Lincoln Avenue for home from Moody, and signaled for a left turn a block and a half from our house on Racine Avenue. Coming out from that side street (I don’t remember the name, and Google Maps doesn’t list it) was a car trying to turn left onto Lincoln Avenue. He “plowed” right into my left rear door, caving it in.

Somehow, the police were informed, and we exchanged insurance information and telephone numbers. The cars weren’t damaged enough to keep from driving, so we moved on.

The recalcitrant driver (I just love to use these long words) said he’d contact me and fix my car. He didn’t call.

The resident Moody attorney was named Anderson. Can’t remember his first name. (He’s a saint!) I went to see him some days after the accident, and he said something like “Let’s put the fear of God in him. (He didn’t actually use those words.) I’ll call him.”

He did call him, and the upshot was that the driver came up with $150 cash.

At Moody, I mentioned this experience to Ken Alspaugh, a fellow engineer there from Toledo, and he said,

“Don’t you have an old car?”

“I do”, I said.

“You know, those old cars are made of thicker steel than the new ones. Why don’t you get a bathroom plunger, and try to ‘suck’ that dent back to the proper shape?”

I did…….and it did. No evidence of damage.

Another time, while driving back to Mechanicsburg for a summer vacation, on a road just south of Lima, I saw strips of rubber “flying” from the left side of the car.

It was the tread from one of the tires. The tread was excellent, but the age of the tires had rotted them out, and one of them came apart.

Fortunately, we had a spare.

I think we eventually replaced all four of the tires.

That was a wonderful car for us - for several years. Sure hated to trade it in - whenever we did.

(Whew! Got in two experiences for one money!)

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