Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

August 3, 2013

RAY DAY: Good friends of youth

Kokomo Tribune

---- — As the memo-ries of my childhood come bouncing back to me, I think about the time when I was 12 and in the sixth grade, passing this Tribune to my many good customers in my own neighborhood.

There were some very cold days, and this young man tried to go as fast as possible to deliver the news to the customer. Sometimes the hands were so cold, it took a long time to get warm afterward.

We lived in an area on North LaFountain Street near the Globe Corp. and the Pennsylvania Railroad, which also ran alongside the Train Depot here in Kokomo. The people in our area were all good people, who not only were our neighbors but also our good friends.

We went to Williard School over on Purdum and Monroe, and I was a member of the patrol that helped the kids get to school safely. My spot was at Monroe and Kennedy streets.

On the way to school each day, those in our neighborhood who went to Willard could stop at a little grocery store run by Sam Martin. He was a cheery old soul who waved at us as we went by.

Down the street from there, on Kennedy Street, was Dulin’s Gas Station, and the people there helped watch us as we went by. North of there about three blocks was Winburn’s Grocery, run by Merl Winburn. After school let out, the kids in the neighborhood would help him sort the grocery items for the shelves.

Going north up to Broadway Street was another grocery store run by the Witacres, and later in years by Bill French. Reece Sullivan had a gas station about a block away, and he also sold candy and chips.

That neighborhood was full of good people who not only ran their businesses but also helped families keep watch over the kids. If those people were still living, our world would be a lot better off.

That was what we kids had in our younger years. We learned the value of life and much fun it was to be there. Neighbors watched out for not only their own children, but also the ones who lived nearby.

I remember when the Hockersmith family bought a television and, being good neighbors, invited all the young kids to come watch television with them. So in the evening hours after supper and the chores were done, we all got the chance to watch some great programs. The only requirement was that it had to be OK with the parents and the chores were done.

Many an evening was spent out there on the front lawn and front porch, enjoying the great shows of the ‘50s.

I would say that not only the watchful eyes of the parents of each child, but also the eyes of the neighborhood were responsible for the way we were brought up. Many a kid from that neighborhood made their mark here in Kokomo, and it was a time of problems in the South but togetherness in the North.

I still see some of those old friends, but many have been called Home, some at a very early age. There are some I don’t know about, as they moved to other cities in their quest to do the things needed to to raise their families. If any of you who lived in that neighborhood are still around, let me know something about how you are doing. If there are friends out there whom I haven’t seen for many years, I sure would like to renew old friendships.

We lived in a time that was almost like a fairy tale. Great people in a time almost lost in many memories. The first 15 years of my life are a memory most cherished. The new friends I picked up since then are precious too.

Life without memories would be a very dull life. Do you go back once in awhile and relive yours? It might make your day that much better. Try it today.

Ray “Uncle Ray” Day is a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at uncleray@earthlink.net.