From the time that I was 3 years old until I was 9, I lived in a small town which was also the County Seat. My parents were owners of the only Rooming House in town and it sit on the corner of the square near the Court House. Growing up in the business district was quite an adventure. We were not the only family living on the "Square", as most of the businesses in that time had apartments for the families to live in. These were either in the back of the store or in an upstairs. There were several families with children and we had a lot of fun.
My older sister and I and drugstore Darlene were the only girls along with 7 boys who lived on the north side. Our back yard was everybodies back yard and vice versa. We played from morning until after dark unless our mom's had an important job for us to do. Ten kids can think of a lot of mischief and also do a lot of fun things. We never considered that we were doing anything mischievous, just some grownups thought that.
One of our regular jobs was to make sure that the evil men in the basement poolhall across the alley were not doing anything wrong. Andy, whose Dad was the proprietor of this upstanding business, was the leader of this endeavor. You see the basement had a flat roof on it and we kids loved to play on the top. It also had vent holes so the stagnent smoke filled air could escape. There were often cans on the vent holes, but it was our job to take them off (so the smoke could get out) on a regular basis. Andy made sure it was almost every evening. It was also often necessary to yell in the pipes to make sure they were clear. I am sure this was a lovely sound to the men who were involved in a hot snooker game or game of poker (which was played on the side).
Nearby was a large Apricot tree. It's limbs draped over the basement and we often would climb up and drop down on the top just to do it. One fruitful year, for some reason, we decided to drop ripe apricots down those vent holes. Now, I did not know all of the men who were down there, but one of them was Mr. Andy and another one was my Dad. As we "bombed" the tables below, there was a lot of yelling and cursing and of course we took off in a run. Well, everyone but Andy took off. Andy had to see just how far he could go and just what was happening. After each drop, he would peek into the vent to see what he had hit. You know what? The next day, when Andy came out to play, he was supporting the biggest shinner we ever did see. You see, when he peeked, someone poked a cue stick up that vent and Andy just could't get up soon enough. He got his just reward, and that was the last time we bombed the pool hall.
One of my jobs along with my sister, was to go to the ice house and get a block of ice for the wooden ice box that we had in the kitchen. I guess that tells how old that I am as we did not have a refrigerator in our establishement until the early 50's. We would take the wagon to the big wooden house near the center of the square to get a 25# block of ice. That was what our ice box would hold. Mom would also have to chip some off, and we would have Kool Aid or some other iced drink. What a great treat on a hot summer day. This was also before airconditioning of any kind. (We did have an electric fan to help circulate the air. It was mostly used in the kitchen.)
The best part was just going to get the ice and bringing it home. We always had a quilt to wrap around the ice so it would not melt too much on our short trip back home. Sister and I would take turns sitting on the wrapped ice. This was to really cool us off, and it did. It would especially cool us off if we sit our little bottoms directly on the block of ice. Before we reached home, we carefully covered the ice up so Mom wouldn't know just what we had done. Wouldn't our prime and proper mother have had a heart attack had she have known? I haven't told her yet. You won't tell her either will You? Promise.!!!!