Well, it’s time to steampunk the time machine again. The one over there. The one in the corner. That’s mine.
Yes. The time has arrived to set its calendar function to a May day in North America — its 1,965th iterations of C.E or A.D. (your choice). My machine, its vacuum tubes warm to the challenge. I click the counter to 2000 + 17. Dial needles slowly sway forward as the tubes warm. I click the destination counter to 1900 + 65.
OK it was McDonalds. My parents dropped me off so I could put in an application while they did journey upon an errand. I shall never disclose the nature of their journey-called-errand because both joined the deceased quite some years before I started writing this account you now read, that is, unless you have already departed from this post.
A pre-schroer memory ofSchroer, the street where all the water goes. There were yellow other-wordly earth-eating machines running across a dry and dusty field. They were much larger than life and I didn’t know what they were doing, but this world evoked a work of the gods: they just kept going around the same oval track with a pleasing sound of purpose. Mythological beasties. It was actually an ill conceived scheme from the outset but I was not aware that earth-moving creatures represented the proverbial deck-chairs of a Titanic metaphor: water always find its level.
We followed the same path of water in a more snowish form from the King house to Rodescheimer, probably navigating the same toboggan that leveled the silver maple of a previous telling (right here on 315glenroy). A wall of trees began as a couple American elms
and a choke-cherry tree with chewable sap. Sap and rumination in a 1950’s existence. The tree wall proceeded along a ridge of ever denser trees that demarcated the southern bounds of the Hunefeld farm: right where Dolly, the retired white mare of sagging-back persuasion, waited for us to bring carrots foraged from the 315 kitchen. Dolly wasn’t interested in any tomatoes from the field of 10,000 ripe ‘maters that dominated Mt. Alverno west. By way of unneeded advice: if a tomato fight finds you in a tree when Farmer H appears, tell that gentleman of earth that he saved you from the Hillside Gang or the convenient ne’er-do-wells of the moment: the ones who sent you climbing that tree to escape vegetable projectiles. The Hillside Gang will appear in The Legend of Sacred Mountain.
Well, before getting mired in details from Schroer to Hillside Gang I return to that speedster toboggan. Those trees midway from King to Rodescheimer, narrowly separated, tested the mettle of sled riders: thread your snow vehicle of choice between two trees and immediately encounter the steepest of 315 slopes. That slope is only a few yards from the construction workers’ scrap materials fire: the fire that Paul and I thought could be extinguished by tipping a refrigerator carton onto its flames. We learned something about the flame point of a cardboard structure that day, then discovered how divine pardon for setting off an inferno may be achieved through Mom’s familiar way: “You two kneel and pray until I tell you.” While thus serving time, we would share giggles from around the foyer corners.
315Glenroy or the briefer 315 is an eponym for a family living in a small brick house in a neighborhood bordering Cincinnati west. This blog is about that brick house, the people who lived there and the historic trees growing and dying around it. All this in a rich panorama sweeping from 1952 to 2013 (Truman to Obama).
The cast of characters: Dad (1921), Mom (1921), Terry (1946), Bill (1947), Paul (1949), Tom (1951) and Claire (1963). Claire was still a pre-me, Clayo’s word for her preexistent presence before 1963. Famous silver maples planted in the 1950’s: two are still clinging to life with arboreal seniority. The tree closest to the house was a foot-long shoot when flattened to the ground by a speeding toboggan but demonstrated resilience in what matters for all silver maples: launching countless helicopters and dropping red things on the pavement.
Shacks built, tents raised, journeys to Sacred Mountain taken, Dolly the retired horse visited, mulberries eaten and a 6 foot snake adopted.
Here is a future excerpt to whet your reading appetite:
Paul and I served as babysitters while the five other Glenroyers were at a later-in-the-morning mass at St. Dominic (‘s optional), attention drawn between Clutch Cargo in the living room and Claire in the brightly lit yard; she liked the silver maples in the front, but was not interested in Clutch, Spinner or Paddlefoot.
Fifteen minute segments, broadcast from Monday through Friday, starred the most popular Dollar: Bob Bailey. You might not be interested to know that both Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar ended their respective long-running series on the same day, September 30, 1962 (marking the end of old-time radio). Four months before Claire’s pre-me era came to a close.
Dim memories of Terry and me, four or five years old, climbing into the neighbor’s car from the passenger side, seeing a parking brake between the seats. Realizing that our mother was chiding us: “you two get out of that car” or words to such effect. A 1940’s automobile of sturdy steel, perhaps a running board for a toddler’s knee. A nice springy upholstered place to crawl upon. These recollections are my latest discovery of hoarded thoughts of 1951 glimpsed from 2015.
The running of the dogs and running with the dogs past the firehouse up Renshaw toward US 27. I don’t remember getting to the top of the street, but do recall that the dogs were very enthusiastic, eager to have us on this merry adventure: tongues and tails a wagging in doggy-dog harmony. Shoulder-to-shoulder with a dog pack of seven or eight doglets.
I’m crawling in the back yard of a tiny house in Highland Heights 41076 with a goal in sight: a tin doll house open on one side inviting me to get in by pulling the wall of that tin house up, then feeling safe and cozy in that perfect shell, looking out at the grass and at our Renshaw house. It was a bright and sunny day, suddenly a shot did not ring out. Maybe bees were buzzing.
A rare circa 1952 photograph from Tom. Posed but still candid. Tom in haute style in red nosh gosh b’gosh unlederhosen that complement Terry’s 50’s look. Paul sharing same subject of attention with his brother (they are both looking to their left as you may have perceived). Terry in writer’s mode with mid-twentieth-century text in hand and inspiring gaze, wearing intriguingly complementary colors to contrast with b’gosh. Is that a 10,000 mile stare on Billy? He is the author of these very words but that guy doesn’t remember what he was thinking when the camera clicked in 1952. Bill Jr. shares that long-sleeved plaid style also favored by Paul who, as earlier reported, is looking at the same interesting stuff as Tom.
The other two (2): Über first cousins Larry and Hal, discussed under separate cover perhaps. Or commented upon by the reader of these very words in the space provided by WordPress for comments.