Our house was a cracker box house with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen a living room, and one bathroom (which was 1 more than we had when we lived on Cedar Lane). It was built on a hill and had a full basement with a garage where the car could be parked under the house. I may have old photos of the house stored in my cedar chest and maybe someday I will find some and add them to this post. (The cedar chest is full to the very top with photos from my family and also the photos my mom gave me. That will be a major project.)
I digress….The front yard had a steep terrace and a very long concrete stairway up to the house. The house faced Sprigg Street, and, since it was a business route, the traffic was constant and steady. One of our favorite things to do was stand on the sidewalk in front of the house and pump our arms when we saw a semi coming. Some of those truckers I am pretty sure anticipated seeing us out there and would make our day by honking their horns for us. It probably gave them a chuckle to see us jump when they honked their horn. Even though I wanted to hear them honk, when they did honk I would re-actively jump and cover my ears.We had our favorite truck lines: the ones who would honk. And other truck lines that we did not like: they ignored us and did not honk. Neighborhood kids would join with me and my brother, Mark, in the daily truck honking activity.
Another highlight of our location was the beer warehouse just to the south of our house, across Hackberry St. It may have belonged to Falstaff or Anheuser Busch, the latter being most likely since St Louis was approximately 2 hrs north. There was a large metal building on the NE corner of the lot, the rest was mostly wide open field, which we romped and played in freely. It was a great place for a ball game.
On the other side of the block to the east of our house was Ranney St. Lots of our friends lived on Ranney and that street had a hill that was fantastic for go-kart races. We would start out at the top of the hill and fly down Ranney toward Hackberry, oftentimes overshooting Hackberry and ending up in the open field next to the beer warehouse. I have no idea where the go-karts came from; I am guessing from my brother’s friend, Skipper Kelly. I never knew Skipper’s real name. His dad’s nickname was also Skipper, so they were called “Big Skip” and “Little Skip”. I remember that his mother’s name was June; they had a gang of kids and I spent quite a bit of time with June in their basement apartment, watching her manage to feed and clothe all those kids, and keep some sort of order. It was a marvel to me.
Also on Ranney, were the Staffords (Brenda was my best buddy in the neighborhood). I will write more about the Staffords in a separate post. Mr Hilderman’s grocery store was also on Ranney at the corner of Ranney and Hackberry. I don’t think he trusted us neighborhood kids….he would follow us and stand tapping his toe and staring at us while we picked out the candy we wanted. I’m sure he had good reason not to trust kids in the candy aisle, especially if they had pockets. Mr Hilderman would make us bologna sandwiches for 10 cents and I often ran to his store to get one while Mom was at work.
There was a family of 2 sisters and 1 brother who lived next door to the Staffords on Ranney. Their name was Weber and they seemed to be rather reclusive. They became an important part of my life and I will write more about them later.
On my side of the block, Sprigg, our next door neighbors were the Seabaughs: Virgil and Maggie – parents, Donnie, Lonnie, Jimmy, and Linda – children. I played with Linda a lot and there will be more about the Seabaughs later also.
Other folks on Sprigg that I remember were Mr & Mrs Drury; they had an apricot tree in their back yard that they gladly let us kids eat from, all we wanted.
The Goehrings had 2 boys, Rusty and David, and a dog named Blondie. We played pool in their basement and once, Brenda Stafford and I stole their car but didn’t get very far. Got caught in the driveway by their dad.
On the corner, there was a church….Assembly of God, I think. I never went there. I claimed to be a Baptist since my biological father was a Baptist minister. I attended Southside Baptist, just one block from my house to the west on Hackberry. Rev Charles Marshall was the pastor there at the time. I knew 2 of his children, John and Esther.
One other neighbor that I visited lived on the other side of Sprigg; I lived on the east side of the street, Mrs. French lived on the west side of the street. She was quite elderly, hard of hearing and almost blind. Her house had more bird cages and birds in it than I had ever seen in my life (still to this day the only place I have seen that many birds in cages is in the pet shop). I helped her find birds when they got out of their cages. She showed me her goldfish pond in the yard. I was fascinated by the huge orange fish in that pond.
That pretty much gives you, my reader, an overview of the neighborhood. My world was about 1 or 2 blocks square at that time but there was so much to do and eventually us neighborhood kids expanded our area of adventure.