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Neighborhood Walk

Posted on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at 8:00 am

My Take by Mark McGee

Due to circumstances which were entirely not under my control, I was without a vehicle to drive last Saturday and Sunday.

With my mother living in the same neighborhood as me, I walked back and forth between our houses several times. We have been in our neighborhood for 61 years. I knew it had changed drastically by driving around it, but for some reason walking gave me time to absorb those changes more fully as well as time to reflect on what used to be, especially during my childhood years.

I remember walking through backyards late at night after playing basketball on Darrell Hartsfield’s paved court. His mother Mildred was an artist for Jostens. She created meticulous greeting cards in her studio which also served as the kitchen. How she concentrated with a bunch of loud kids playing basketball just a few feet away always amazed me. But I never recall her telling us to be quiet.

Walking through backyards late at night now probably would get you shot.

These were the days when you left the house after breakfast. Especially during the summers, we were always playing outside.

Gary Dearing and his brother Billy, along with me, Mark Lamb, and others, would play baseball using a tennis ball because of the proximity of houses. Edmund Road was the warning track. A house across the street was lined with rose bushes which formed a home run fence of sorts.

There is a house sitting on what was once our small field. And the rose bushes are a very distant memory as well as the couple who fussed over them constantly.

In the fall we played tackle football on the field beside my parent’s house. No pads or helmets. But I don’t recall anyone getting hurt.

But not all of it was about sports.

I remember sitting on the carport and talking with Mrs. Alberta Cartwright and her husband Thomas.  The conversations were wonderful, but I also secretly hoped “Miss” Alberta would have something from her kitchen for me to sample. People used to sit outside their houses and talk with others. When have you seen that lately?

Keith Jackson, David Templeton, and I were all involved with Boy Scouts. David’s father, Willard, was one of our scoutmasters. We would often spend time working on merit badges. We all earned our Eagle Scout awards. Someone asked me the other day what was so important about being an Eagle Scout. Scouting was huge here at one time. I guess that question is one of the reasons why it is not anymore.

In the winter when there was enough snow we would sled down Hickory Drive and try to avoid winding up in a pond.

On a later note, I recall walking around the neighborhood pushing my daughter in her baby carriage. Hard to believe that was 30 years ago. I adopted a dog that used to follow us every afternoon. Opal was the best dog ever. A few years later another dog would adopt me. Lucy was great. I only wish she had been my dog earlier in her life.

Morton Tune, longtime owner of the Princess Theater, now the Capri, lived in the neighborhood. Next door to the Tunes lived Dr. Samuel Pearce and his wife Pauline; daughters Betty, Susan, and Amy; and a son, Danny, a talented musician.

Ruby and Tom Noah also lived in the neighborhood. Mr. Noah was a successful business man and was also instrumental in helping attract Holiday Inn to Shelbyville.

So much has changed. I guess that is just life. No matter how you try you can’t stop it.