Growing up in a small rural community in theÂ Midwest seemed to fascinate my daughter Traci as I told her stories of my childhood.Â She would listen intently to each story.Â OneÂ day after another memory cleared my vocal chords, Traci said ” dad your stories are like a modern day Huckleberry Finn”.
Here is one of those stories that will become part of a book containing as many childhood memories as I can summon to mind…Â
The â€œend-of-dayâ€ school bell rang at 3:30 each afternoon in Lisbon, North Dakota and my neighborhood buddies and I escaped the building on a dead-run as we headed for our homes.Â We had been making plans on what we were going to do between â€œschools outâ€ and supper-time.
It was only four blocks from school to home but it seemed like a marathon as excitement erupted in my body and spilled out in the biggest smile imaginable.Â Four houses from mine my pals broke off and headed up Rose Street a couple more houses to their place.
I was taking off my school clothes as I ran through the living room and family room and up the stairs to my bedroom where I flung my clothes on the bed and grabbed a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt Â then slid down the steps on my behind while putting on clean socks and tennis shoes.Â Â Standing in front of the only telephone in our house I picked up the receiver to hear the operator sayâ€¦â€number pleaseâ€.Â Yup we had telephone operators in 1951 in Lisbon.
Nearly out of breath I blurted out â€œ311-Jâ€â€¦my friends phone number.
Expecting to hear theÂ phone ring, I was surprised to hear the operator say to meâ€¦Curt, your mom says you arenâ€™t to go down to Stillwells today.Â Youâ€™re supposed to stay home and pull weeds in the gardenâ€.
I know it will be hard for some parents and untold numbers of kids to understand this next comment butâ€¦I told the operator, â€œOkayâ€ and obeyed the message left for me by me Mom.
You see my Mom and Dad worked and my older siblings also worked part time jobs so the only communication my parents might have with me until they came home after work wasâ€¦the telephone operator.
Donâ€™t feel too sorry for me.Â My buddies came looking for me and we weeded the garden in record time and then played catch with a football in my yard.