Category: Early Childhood Memories


Ravenhurst Story With Johnny Kirtz

I can remember the time Ravenhurst was digging in the dirt in the back yard of 2829 Beechland Ave. with a metal beach shovel. Johnny Kirtz came to the back fence (at “Dog Alley”) and asked if my younger brother Phil was home. Rave said, ”It’s none of your business!” I guess he was about 7 or 8 years old at the time. Johnny was older…about 12. Well, Johnny said he didn’t like the way Rave had talked to him, since he was much older. And he threatened to come over the fence and kick Rave’s behind. Now, I was right there with Rave. So I can only assume Johnny was kidding around with Rave. I certainly wouldn’t have sat by and watched Johnny Kirtz kick my baby brother’s ass for no good reason.

Then, Johnny asked Ravenhurst (it was Eugene, back then) just what he planned to do about it if he did climb over the fence with the intention of kicking his ass. And Rave said, “I’ll throw this shovel at you and break out your teeth!”  Of course, Johnny said, “Oh, yeah!” and proceeded to climb over the fence… Ravenhurst took aim with that shovel (he was a good 15-20 feet away) and sailed that thing in his direction. Well…and I can still see this when I close my eyes…that shovel hit him square in the teeth and broke one of his front teeth right in half. It was broken on a near-perfect 45-degree angle as clean as you please! I saw Johnny Kirtz 25 years later and he still had that broken tooth!  As best I can remember, he never even got mad at Ravenhurst. I guess it was because he told him he was going to do it. And he did, too. I miss my baby brother!

Here’s a Jimmy Holthaus story:

In the summer of 1977, or thereabouts, Jimmy Holthaus used to drive from his parents’ house on Arizona Ave. to Big Dan Golombowski’s house in a classic Dodge Roadrunner. It was, I think, around a 1970-ish bright orange “muscle car.” Well, I don’t remember exactly how I did it, or why…but I ended up straddling the beast up on the roof of his car on Roselawn Ave. I think what took place was, I expressed to him my strong desire to go for a ride in his way-cool car, (notice I said “in” it, and not “on” it). But he must’ve told me that if I was going to go for a ride with him on that particular day, it would have to be on top of the roof…not on the inside. I accepted his not-so-generous offer.

It was summertime in Hamilton, Baltimore, Maryland in 1977. Before me was one of the coolest cars ever produced by Mopar…the Roadrunner. I wanted so much to go for a cruise in it. But as I stated above, the invitation was only good for the roof. I proceeded to “gingerly” slither up to the roof. In those days, I weighed about 175 lbs. You see, the previous year I had spent about 8 months in Flintstone, MD in a Maryland institution called, “Boys’ Forestry Camp #1. Having gotten in all sorts of trouble with the law, I owed a debt to “society,” whatever that means. I suppose if my parents had had the money, and were willing to pay my “debt,” they could have substituted cash money for 8 months of my life. Anyway, back to the Roadrunner…

I believe we had to wait for Big Dan to get into the car where Jimmy, Big Al Hasselbarth, Angelo Torrie, and a guy named John (I think), were squeezed in already. I didn’t mind the prospect of riding on top. And we hadn’t talked about how far we were going, either. I had nothing else pressing upon my schedule that particular day. Finally, Big Dan came swaggering out of his house and got into the car. He didn’t seem to think my lying face down and spread-eagled on the roof of Jim’s Roadrunner was all that unusual. We were heading west on Roselawn Ave., starting near the top of the 2800 block (in front of Dan’s house), and proceeded down the hill towards the Triangle. Now, the Triangle in not called that on maps or Google Maps. It was a nickname given to a 3-way intersection at the meeting of Roselawn, White, and Hamlet Avenues. It didn’t take long for me to realize I hadn’t thought this idea through very thoroughly…

It didn’t take too long to learn first-hand why they called them muscle cars. By the time we had traveled 3 houses down the street, we must’ve been doing 50 mph. Then something happened that I was not ready for…or hadn’t entered my mind…Jimmy slammed on the brakes! Apparently he thought it would be a good idea, or maybe just funny, if he could use the inertia of my moving body to propel me from the roof of his car…over the rather large hood (I think he was packin’ a 440 cubic inch monster under there) and into the street. Well, I was young. My reflexes were fast and my instincts were sharp. Also, I had a lot of surface area to hold on to. Since it was warm outside, all the windows were down. So I had a firm grip on the side edges of the roof with my fingers wrapped around to the under-side of the roof. Back then the cars were more substantial. I think this model Roadrunner had a small gutter running along the side edges of the roof…you know…so rainwater would not drip on your head when you had the door open, sitting sideways…and it was raining.

Although I had been quite satisfied with my ride thus far, the boys inside were not happy yet. I could’ve easily been persuaded to dismount the big orange beast with very little resistance. After all, I had not been informed of the driver’s intentions regarding his putting on a rodeo, with me starring as the lead bull rider! But Jim wasn’t done with me yet…round 2 was fast approaching. Once again, we were accelerating rapidly down Roselawn Avenue. But to my displeasure, they must’ve thought I had a little too much to hold onto. Because, around the time we reached 60 mph, I felt the windows on both sides of the car beginning to crush my fingers. Now I had a decision to make: do I leave my fingers in place letting my “friends” decide how hard to crank down on them and be relatively sure I wouldn’t be thrown onto the hot pavement for a “tuck’n’roll” scenario. Or do I withdraw my fingers from harm’s way, hoping I can still find enough to grip onto so as not to be thrown the next time the beast bucks…I chose the latter…

I don’t know exactly how fast I was flying…at least twice as fast as those 2 screwballs on the Titanic flew…at least…When we reached the Triangle, he slammed on the brakes again. I’d like to say I remember the car skidding xx number of feet. But, honestly, it took every bit of strength, concentration and faith at my command to NOT take off like one of those toy planes that comes with the big rubber band attached to the little stick! I think if he had just gotten that car going a couple miles per hour faster, I’d have spent some time in the hospital that summer. All I had to hold on to was that little half-inch tall gutter. My knuckles weren’t white. The only bodily members engaged in this gargantuan effort were the tips of my thumbs and the first 2 fingers on both hands.

I am certain that we decelerated faster this time than we did the first time. Not only because going much faster would be the logical thing to expect from a teenager. But, even more indicative, is the way my cigarettes and lighter (that were in my front shirt pocket) shot straight out and flew about 20 feet. Well, they didn’t even become dislodged during the first attempt to throw me. When the car finally came to rest…and my measly digits withstood the incredible forces involved…all I could think about was, “I better get my cigarettes before they get run over…” And that’s what I did. I kinda needed one by that time, anyway. There were no conversations… no harsh words. What had just occurred was understood by all parties concerned for just what it was…a stupid stunt that turned out alright for all involved. I’m pretty sure they were all going to meet Dan’s “guy” for something green. Meanwhile, I walked up that long sloping hill that was (and still is) Roselawn Ave., waited at Dan’s house for them to get back, and the rest is, as they say…history.

The End

If I close my eyes and try real hard, I can still picture my first construction site. I am not referring to the one in California that I was assigned to when I was 5 weeks out of college…at age 38. That one was interesting…sort of…87 acres of dried lakebed in the high desert region, just 60 miles north of LA. I’m thinking way back in time…It was 1968 or 69. It was the first site that was completely unmanned and unfenced. Or, in other words, it was my very own. I was not alone, however. My twin brother, Earl and I were traveling together. That’s as good a term as any I can think of, to describe our activities. Since we were old enough to walk, that’s what we did: At least until we were old enough to ride around town. (And if you’re picturing an automobile carrying twin boys, you’ll need to adjust your “picture maker” or your imagination). I am referring to riding on bicycles.

From the time my brother and I were old enough to walk around in a fairly competent manner (I guess we were 3 or 4 years old), we wandered the streets and alleys of Baltimore City in the great state of Maryland. It seems my father was a diligent employee and was known to hold at least 2 jobs, trying to be a good provider for his young family. That would be considered a good thing by almost anybody in any situation and in any walk of life. And I would not be so presumptuous as to be critical of my dad’s decision regarding the number of hours he worked. After all, we needed to eat. The only hitch is that my mother struggled to meet our basic childhood needs, such as supervision.

My father, in recent years, has informed me that, on multiple occasions, he has returned home from working hard all day only to notice that his twin boys were nowhere in sight. Upon investigation, he learned that his wife had no idea of the whereabouts of their three-year-old boys, either. Incredulous, my father turned to the neighbors in an attempt to locate his progeny. Typically, at this point, we were blocks, or even miles, away: tired and hungry. And asking a grown-up how to get home. Remarkably, these adventures turned out OK in the end. We either managed to find our way back. Or, we put ourselves into the hands of a trustworthy and considerate human being. What are the odds?

By the time Earl and I were 9-years old, we were seasoned travelers. We would regularly wander more than a mile from Home Sweet Home. Mom didn’t seem to care what we did, provided we did not make messes or prevent her from watching her “programs.” Of course, by this stage in our development, we learned to try to be close to home by suppertime. I suppose by today’s standards, my mother would be considered negligent, at best, or even downright abusive. But we didn’t notice. On this particular occasion, we wandered a little more than a mile from home to a place that was to be called, “Dutch Village.”

Dutch Village in Baltimore, MD was a planned community, of sorts…it was planned to house the lower-class families of Northeast Baltimore. Maybe not at first, that is. There was a very nice swimming pool attached to the development. They were groups of 2-floor town homes with pitched roofs in the style of the “Dutch” buildings I had seen in storybooks. I think Phase I was complete and consisted of 3 to 4 buildings with 10 to 15 units in each building. At the time of our arrival, I think Phase II was just under way. Hence, the construction site.

There wasn’t much to the site, really. Just the concrete footers in the shape of the building footprints, some underground utilities (already buried, I think), and a lot of orange-colored mud. But there was one thing lying in that mud that had the potential for lots of fun: a huge (at least 6 feet in diameter) tractor tire. It probably came off of a front-end loader. And I’m sure it must’ve been all done in. But that didn’t matter to me. Moreover, it wasn’t doing anybody any good lying there in the mud. So I asked my brother Earl to help me to stand it up on its edge. It probably took just about all the strength a couple of 9-year olds could muster. I mean, it had to weigh at least 100 lbs. without the mud.

My construction site was very level. But there was a definite tendency for the tire to roll towards the golf course. Of course, between my construction site and the golf course, was a highway of sorts called, “Perring Parkway.” And just a little north, and on the same side of the road, was Baltimore’s Northern High School #402, I think. Also, a little more northward, there was a bridge that crossed over Perring Parkway. I didn’t know it then. But this was the Northern Parkway bridge. Earl and I continued to keep the tire up on its edge and rolling towards the road until it came to a stop. When the tire drew near the crest of the slope, an idea entered my mind.

Of course, the idea of rolling the gargantuan tire down the steep hill had occurred to me almost immediately upon seeing the tire embedded in the mud. But this new idea didn’t occur until Earl and I led the tire closer to the edge of the slope. Out of the corner of my left eye I noticed a smallish-looking car making its way toward us. At this point, I thought it’d be a good idea to roll the tire down the slope into the smallish-looking car. I expressed my latest idea to my twin brother. He didn’t seem to object to it. The only question was how to accomplish this feat. Earl seemed indecisive. So I took control. I did my utmost to time it correctly. Due to the time-constraint, we simply rocked it back-and-forth as I counted out loud, “one…two…THREE!” And it was on its way. Being 8 or 9 years old, we had no idea what might happen if the tire hit the car…But we were about to learn exactly that…

The behemoth-like tire bounced down the hill in 2 or 3 bounds. But it was perfectly at ground level when it met with the passenger door of that Rambler. I imagine the occupant of this classic automobile was rather startled, since the car was initially in the right lane doing 45 mph, or so…at least, that was the posted speed limit. But after it was introduced to our rolling mass of black rubber, he found himself in the left lane almost instantaneously. The old car must’ve made contact with the curb of the median because it slowed-down considerably upon impact. It smashed in the front-right door just as perfectly as you could imagine.

At this time, Earl and I realized we might be better served if we hid behind some nearby bushes. We watched the crippled Rambler as it limped onto the Northern Parkway exit ramp in front of the school. We laughed so hard, and for so long in those bushes, that we finally realized the driver of the wounded Rambler was circling around trying to discover our identity. For we saw it ride over the Northern Parkway bridge…back and forth. We could just make out the face of the operator as that of a white, middle-aged male. We just waited until he was out of sight and took off like a couple of kids.

No hard feelings, I hope…

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: – Knowing when to come in out of the rain; – Why the early bird gets the worm; … – Life isn’t always fair; – And maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies, don’t spend more than you can earn and adults, not children, are in charge. His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live, as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims did. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home without the burglar suing you for assault…and winning! Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife Discretion, his daughter Responsibility, and his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame and I’m A Victim, Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, do nothing.

Friend of Common Sense

Slavery was outlawed in this country because a minority of people recognized it for what it was…EVIL…and courageously stood up and spoke out against it. The US Supreme Court had upheld the right of some people to “own” other people. The way they did this was to declare people with black skin to be “non-persons.” This same logic has been used by the same court to oppress another class of people…people too small to defend themselves. I speak, of course, of the pre-born. And the only way this injustice will be abolished is by good people standing up and speaking out against this evil. The perpetrators of this crime against humanity have a lot riding on keeping the public in the dark…uninformed and unaware of the truth of the matter. Even at 5 weeks gestation, the abortion personnel must count the body-parts of the pre-born PERSON to make sure that none of them are left behind in the uterus. This would cause a serious infection that might very well endanger the life of the 2nd victim of the “procedure.” It was illegal before and most women did not seek illegal and dangerous abortions. Most women decided to give life to their babies. I’d like to see us get back to that place!

Does it bother anyone else that Planned Parenthood, the leading abortion-seller in the nation, and the largest tax-supported “family planning” organization in the world, was founded by a woman who was a leading proponent of the modern eugenics movement. She worked tirelessly to ensure that those citizens who were deemed “unworthy” to procreate were sterilized, by force, if necessary, to purify the human gene pool. According to her, it was the duty of every intelligent person to do all they could to make sure that no feeble-minded, brown-skinned, homosexual, or undesirable, was allowed to reproduce. LOOK IT UP! In fact, Adolph Hitler was a great fan of her work…and modeled his “final solution” after her programs. Why don’t some of you pro-death advocates defend Margaret Sanger’s work in eugenics? I can’t wait…

One typographical error I found in the Bible (KJV)

I remember coming across these two passages many years ago and thinking, “I found an error in the Bible.” But as the years passed I could not recall the name of the king, or the chapters and verses of the apparent contradiction. Just recently I began to, through an online program, read the Bible through in a year. Today I came across the first one and realized I had re-found the mistake.

2 Chronicles 22

1 And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his [Jehoram’s] youngest son king in his stead: for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned.

2 Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.

2 Kings 8

26. Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.

Since Ahaziah’s father, Jehoram, was only forty years old when HE died,1 and Ahaziah began to reign at Jehoram’s death, I suggest the correct age of Ahaziah (when he began to reign in Jerusalem) was twenty-two…not forty-two. I do not know whether this typo can be traced back to the ancient Hebrew, or is a translator’s error. However, in my mind, the King James Version is not completely without error. My faith in God, His Son Jesus Christ, and His Holy Scriptures, is still intact and as strong as ever. And, although there are many apparent contradictions in the Bible, all of them (so far, anyway) can be cleared up and understood correctly by returning to the original languages. This is the only typographical error I know of in the entire Bible.

I hope my pointing out of this error does not damage anyone’s faith. Since I was saved and born again in 1979, I have had a deep and abiding love and respect for the truth. And one thing I have learned through the years: God certainly CAN handle the truth. And He desires all of His children to know the truth in all matters in life. I just don’t think Christians should take another’s word that the KJV is “inerrant” when it is obviously not. May our heavenly Father bless us ALL in our diligent search for the truth.

History Lesson on Your Social Security Card

Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (& some older ones) didn’t know this: It’s easy to check out, if you don’t believe it. Be sure and show it to your family and friends. They need a little history lesson on what’s what and it doesn’t matter whether you are Democrat or Republican.

Facts are Facts.

Social Security Cards up until the 1980s expressly stated the number and card were not to be used for identification purposes. Since nearly everyone in the United States now has a number, it became convenient to use it anyway and the message, “NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION” was removed.

History Lesson on Your Social Security Program

Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program in the 1930’s. He promised:

 

A. That participation in the Program would be completely voluntary,

 

It is no longer voluntary.

 

B. That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the program,

 

Now we must pay 7.65% on the first $90,000.

 

C. That the money the participants elected to put into the Program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year,

 

Contributions are no longer tax deductible.

 

D. That the money the participants put into the independent ‘Trust Fund’ (rather than into the general operating fund), and therefore, would ONLY be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government programs,

 

Under President Johnson, the money was moved to The General Fund and Spent.

 

E. That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.

 

Under Clinton & Gore, up to 85% of your Social Security can be taxed.

 

 

 

Since many of us have paid into FICA for many years, and are now receiving a Social Security check every month, and finding that we are being taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to ‘put away,’ you may be interested in the following:

 

Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the independent ‘Trust Fund’ and put it into the general fund so that Congress could spend it?

 

A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the democratically controlled House and Senate.

 

Q: Which political party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?

 

A: The Democratic Party.

 

Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?

 

A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the ‘tie-breaking’ deciding vote as President of the Senate, while he was Vice President of the US.

 

Q: Which Political Party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?

 

A: Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party. Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive Social Security payments! The Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!

 

Then, after violating the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!

 

And the worst part about it is that uninformed citizens believe it ! If enough people read this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and outrage will grow…I think it’s worth a try…

Actions speak louder than bumper stickers!

 

 

“We live in the greatest nation on earth, and we aim to change that”…Barack Hussein Obama

 

 

When my son attended kindergarten in 1990, he came home after the very first day saying some big kid was picking on him whenever they were in line together. It seems this kid, let’s call him Kevin, thought it’d be funny to kick my son, Joseph, from behind, repeatedly, while waiting in line. I wanted to help my son, of course. But I didn’t want to have adults involved in it quite yet. I believe it is better to let the children resolve things first. And I thought the best scenario would be for my son to defend himself. After all, most bullies aren’t counting on this.

 

I told my son, “The next time Kevin kicks you, grab hold of his foot and just lift it towards the ceiling. This kid will fall down and bust his head open. And he will never pick on you again.” THE NEXT DAY, Joseph came home and told me that Kevin started kicking him again while they were in line. And that he did exactly as I suggested. Sure enough, Kevin went down like a load of bricks and busted his head open. “Now, Kevin wants to be my friend,” Joseph said. And from that day forward, nobody picked on my son…in that school. A few days later, I walked Joseph to school and I saw Kevin: This kid was twice the size of my son! And he walked like a gorilla, too.

 

 

One of my earliest memories:

I was three years old at the time. I hear the squealing of a car’s wheels out in front of our house and stood on my tip-toes, pulling myself up by the window sill, to try and see what it was. My father was drinking. He saw my efforts and thought he’d help me out…He says, “You wanna see out that window, Boy?” Then he proceeds to throw up the sash, grab me by my ankles, and hang me out the window by my ankles…or was it one ankle…I can’t remember that. I only remember screaming like a 3 year-old until he brought me back into the house. Oh yeah, we lived on the 2nd floor. I estimate I was about 25 feet from the ground. But, to a 3 year-old, it seemed like 100 feet. As it turned out, our next door neighbor ran over our family pet, Midnight, whose tail then had to be removed. Ahhh, early childhood memories…

 

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