Life in a small town had advantages

Friends and Neighbors

There were a few neighbors who were special favorites. When I was 7 or 8, David Moore and I played “cars” under a big tree in Mrs. Nolan’s side yard. She had no children, at least as far as we knew but she was very tolerant of us making little roads in the dirt. We played with small cast metal ”Tootsie Toy” cars. I think she even gave us sandwiches and ice tea. We liked playing there. Mrs. Moore was always very nice to me too. She never seemed to object to us playing with David’s trains, or football on their side lawn. Other neighbors who come to mind were these.: The Heaton family - Clarence (Clink), Mae, and several older brothers. I played with Clink quite a bit. There were Middleton's, Roy Middleton and his wife Belle (a World War 1 war bride from England) and sons Leroy, Charlie and a couple of younger boys too. There was Also Elwood Middleton. His wife died when I was 7 or 8. She had a goiter which was more common then than now. Children were Mildred, Ethel, Alice, Elwood Jr. (Bunky - my friend) and I think a younger child too. Mrs. Watson lived next door to Moores. She seldom ventured out of the house because she was extremely fat. She had triple chins, waddled when she walked but was a nice enough person. I delivered Saturday Evening Post magazines to several neighbors including Mrs Watson. Unfortunately, I was often late delivering to her. She did not like that because it was her only amusement - we didn't have TV in those days. The Casons (Ed and Ella) and Fronleys (Bill, Helen, Mildred and Jean). The parents were friends of my mother. Ed Cason worked for Public Service as did several other men in our neighborhood. I only remember Ed Soden, a boy a bit younger than Harold. I was with him one day when he used a bow and arrow to shoot a big fish down at the lake. It was the biggest fish I had seen, bigger than any I ever caught. I took a picture of it but have no idea where that photo is now. Ed was killed in the second World War. The street where he lived is named for him. Mrs. Weidbrecht who was my teacher in Yardville school lived in the Heights though I never saw much of her there. I guess seeing her in school was enough. On Highland Avenue, next to my Grandmother’s house live the Ruhlmans, I think one of them was blind. Then there were Gormans, Anthony and an older girl, the Blakesleys, with Doris one of my classmates. As mentioned earlier, Beatrice Green and her family lived on Highland. At the end of the street was the old Comp property lived in by Reithers. Billy Reither was my friend and we later formed a local baseball team to play in the sandlot field next to Heatons. Reithers operated a “nursing” home for old people so we did not often play at his house. Across and down the street from our house, were the Fenimores, Bobby, Catherine and a couple of others. Further down were Cathcarts, around on Grandview lived Mr. & Mrs. Nutt and older children, Jack and Catherine. Across the street were Voorhees and Tottens. Tottens were friends who went to Stokes State Forest with us. Daughter Virginia was a kind of spoiled kid. Mr. Totten had a trucking business, hauling hay for farmers. On the next corner lived Otto Albrecht and “Sonny” who was about Roger’s age. Another branch of the Albrechts lived down the hill on what is now Soden Drive. That included Horace and Eleanor who was in my class. She was rather big for her age and in typical thoughtless fashion of kids was known as “Horsey” Albrecht. Next to Uncle Earl on Prospect Street lived the Kokeshs, Betty (the daughter - I think) and Joe Jr. Across from Uncle Earl were the Fletchers with daughter Virginia and Maddox’s with son Billy - Roger’s age and friend and Bob - about my age. Bob was notable for the fact that he apparently never used the bathroom at school but ran home as soon as he could before his bladder burst (at least that’s the way it seemed). Next to Heatons on Prospect lived Guises who had a flower business and across from them Mrs. Cornell and her Chow Chow dogs. One of Mrs. Cornell’s foster children was severely injured while playing in the woods. The older boys had a “monkey swing” on a hill side. It was a long rope suspended from a tree limb. Since the hill sloped down, it was possible to swing out in a big arc and be quite a ways up above the ground. Unfortunately this boy’s hands slipped off the hand hold and he fell hitting his head. As I recall, he ended up being partial blind. On the back street, Althea Drive, lived Lockwood’s (of the hill fame) and Louella North - the girl who was hit by a car. There were others of course but I recall mainly the people who had kids my age. In the earliest days of my memory, there was an old house across Broad Street from Yardville Heights school. Perry Hall lived there. I don’t recall much about him except that he seemed to be a free spirit who could do whatever he wanted. I know my mother did not want my older bother Harold to associate with him. I think Perry lived with his father who had a reputation as a heavy drinker. Perry later joined the Navy during WWII. He became an officer in the submarine service and ended up as something of a hero with some medals for saving lives. By my teens, additional houses were built in the Heights. Across from us lived Vera and Red Cox and son Jerry. They were very close friends of mother and dad and often had holiday meals with us. The vacant lots on either side of our house became building lots. The Pieslaks built on the lot where we had years earlier put our cesspool. One neighbor story involves Mr. "Cap" Maddox. It seems at Easter time one of the kids dyed an egg which was not hard boiled. Cap happened to chose that egg to crack open on the mantle over the fireplace. He was not pleased with the resultant mess