Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 19, 2013

RAY DAY: Following my folks' life path


Kokomo Tribune

---- — As time passes, our minds fill up with those memories of a life back when. Files are added until you get to today, when your memory bank is up to date with the good times and maybe some bad times.

It won’t drop off, those bad times, because with them are those memories that give us hope and faith in our body and soul. You can’t put aside the bad just so the good is the only thing remembered.

This old man did have some bad times, but it was not so bad that I wanted to toss them off my memory bank. That was part of my life, and I want to remember everything because that is what I am.

As a child and until we moved out to New London, the only way to school was by walking or riding your bike. Thirteen blocks and the same coming home.

We went home for lunch each day, and our darling mother had a hot meal waiting for us. I also had a newspaper route seven days a week. I used my bike for that, with a large bag draped across the handlebars.

As I passed the different houses, I would reach into the bag and toss the paper up on the porches, while all the time watching where I was going. If I missed a porch, I would stop, get off and walk that paper up to the porch so that the paper was not wet. Nobody wants a wet paper to read.

Mr. Hamn at the Tribune always said that it only takes a little more care for the customer, and at Christmas time they remember. And he was right. During that season, this young feller would get money, cookies and other gifts.

I had that route and another job at Kroger’s as a stock boy. I loaded up the bags for the customer and carried them out to the cars. Soon there just was not enough time to do both, and so I gave up my route.

At a young age I was working with customers for about four years. You learn a lot by listening to those who had been there and done that.

At Western, I took classes that would be beneficial to me at college, if I had enough money to do so. Teachers at Western were very good at knowing how to bring the very best out of their students, and so I received a scholarship to Indiana University to study law. But as most things were hard to get, I hired on at Continental Steel for the summer and I saved as much as I could.

After some time, I saw I needed more than the scholarship, so I went full time to save enough to get the education I needed. Then a pretty girl came into my life.

I realized there were things that were more important to me, being from a large family. I was used to having someone around me.

After more than a year, we were married. We wanted to start our family on steady ground with a good job and a nice home to live in.

So my life sort of was destined to follow the paths of my parents: work at the mill and one day bring more into our family. Deborah came first, and then Patricia. And then two years later, we were given the chance to raise John, and he lived with us for nine years with his mother.

Life was good, and the family was very close knit. There were times when work was slow and we lived on four-days pay a week, but it was still a good life.

Life over the years was enjoyable. And as time went by, Ramona gave her love out to 26 different children, taking care of them like a mother as their parents worked. God has been good to us. We are richly blessed.

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