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Latest News from Around Madison County
- Category: Contributors Corner
- Published on Friday, 28 September 2012 16:05
Growing up in the 60’s was a special time. In the summer of ‘ 66, young Alan was about to embark on a journey that would be the best time of his life. He had just completed 1st grade and was looking forward to summer vacation.
His first two years, Alan walked ten blocks to school. The cold Indiana winters were rough, but he loved following his brother to school. He was never a good student but he did like being with other kids. Those were fun days, but nothing compared to moving to downtown Anderson, Indiana on 7th Street between Jackson and Delaware.
Alan’s parents were divorced. He lived with his mom and two older brothers and a sister. He had an accident when he was four and was blind in his left eye. He idolized his siblings and they would take him wherever they went.
They moved into an upstairs apartment. The three brothers would sleep on the porch where Alan was wide-eyed watching the night life of his hometown. Anything past Jackson was considered downtown. A block over on Meridian was the Police Station. Across the street was 7th Street School and during the summer they would play in the playground. Alan’s favorite spot was the sandbox. He would play with his toys and spend countless hours playing in the sand. Down the road was 7th Street Park. In the summer the Park Department would have activities for the kids to enjoy. There was never a dull moment for a kid from Anderson.
At night time the neighborhood kids would gather together playing “Hide and Go Seek.” You are only a kid once and they were enjoying every moment. For sport, in the daytime the kids would get together and go pop bottle hunting. They would cover the blocks as far as they could reach. With the earnings, the kids would spend it by going to the Paramount or swimming at the Athletic Pool. Whatever struck them as fun they would do. When they were broke they went downtown and explored the stores. Every day they would stretch their boundaries. Some days they would even venture over a mile away just to play at Shadyside Park.
Alan’s favorite business was on the other side of Jackson, Hoosier’s Supermarket. They would let him sack groceries while the workers would give him tips. Sometimes some of the workers would take him home for the weekend. Alan always looked forward to getting away and they made him feel at home.
When fall arrived, 7th Street School summoned Alan. He hated school but handled it well. His favorite time was 3 o ‘clock. He would run home across the street wanting to play the rest of the night. One morning the brothers woke up in their briefs and looked out to see the teachers were on strike. The teachers couldn’t help but to laugh. The brothers went inside as quickly as they could. Alan loved the days schools were out. Whether it was a holiday or an election day, it was a play day for him.
To help watch the kids, their mom hired a lady, Faith Welch, a good woman who ran a tight ship. When discipline was called for, she was the one who handled it. At times, Alan wanted her to leave, but, he sure did love her bread pudding. When he did wrong, she would punish him. Their mom was often working and gave Faith full reign.
Nothing made Alan happier than when summer vacation would come. He would get out and do everything he could. By then he would venture all over by himself. He was only 8 years old but he was as free as a teenager to do anything. He would explore all directions. It didn’t matter if it was either direction of Jackson or either way on 7th Street, Alan would stay out without anyone knowing where he was.
His favorite time was the 4th of July week. It was then that the Free Fair happened at the Athletic Park. Alan might go swimming in the pool there and afterwards go explore the fair. They never knew what Alan would do next.
To a kid time is eternal. To Alan summer vacation passed by quicker than the school days. The first week of Alan’s 3rd grade year, his mom came home with tickets to a carnival on Main Street. He was having the time of his life when a storm came passing through. He hurried toward home but stopped at Hoosier’s Supermarket to dry off a bit. As he left the store, the rain was drenching. When Alan ran out to cross Jackson a car hit him, hurting him rather badly. Alan woke up the next morning with his leg hanging in traction. His dad’s brother was in the room waiting to see how he came through the ordeal. Alan’s leg was broken in three different places. He was in such pain he thought he was going die. The next morning he woke up to see his dad. His father felt something was wrong so he came home. Alan stayed in the hospital for over 30 days. Then they put him in a body cast and sent him home.
Even though he was behind, Alan managed to pass that year. He was confined to a wheelchair for several months. That year he went trick or treating as a hospital patient. By the end of the school year Alan was back running around. He did have a limp but he covered it well. He explored the streets as far as he could. Alan was happy just be alive.
Summer seemed so short as he started the 4th grade. During that year his mom moved the family to the country. Alan was devastated. He loved that intersection of downtown Anderson where they had lived for two and a half years. As he grew older he often looked at that as his first cross. From the police station to down on 7th Street was where he ran so wild, was like Christ’s body laying on the cross while Jackson Street was like the arms reaching out embracing him like they did that night he got hit by a car, protecting him from harm’s way. The location of 7th Street and Jackson was experienced by Alan at a time when he had vision without any decision. It was a memorable time that Alan would relive the rest of his days.
Article submitted by Michael Pierce (pictured above)