About the same time my grandparents moved to Tin Top, Dad took a coaching job down in Conroe. The coach that hired him had been his coach at Dennis ---Walker Bernard. He actually lived with my Dad and Grandparents and Aunt Erna Lea while coaching there. Anyway, we made the big move-- Mom, Dad and my dog Ted---rented a little house at the edge of town---my kinda place--creek runnin' by---woods in the back of the house---end of town-- it was. Across the creek a guy kept horses--never got to ride them horses---forbidden territory. Another coach lived down the street---Lee Hammit (sp) and he had 2 daughters--both a little older but we got along and played together---there was also a boy named Butch--that always brings up the thought ---little tuffy--better yet "meanie"--- he was---even tho we stilled played together. He and I would go of in the woods --play army, cowboys and Indians-- one time we were diggin' a fox hole and were gonna make us a fort---we had taken tools out to dig with and I jumped down into the hole and he hit me in the head with a hoe----know it was an accident--- but off to the house cryin' and bleedin'--no stiches but a scar I wore proudly til it grew away. Guess it's somewhere on my head.
It was good for Mom that we knew some of the families there cause she was a stay at home mom and she had some wimmen to "gossip" with. Drinking coffee and visiting, meant, I would get to "run wild" with my friends. It has always amazed me that we had so much freedom back then---headin out into the woods--going to our friends houses--- I'm sure Mama's worried---but didn't seem to let it show. It was a good time to grown up in. I remember --I DO-- Mom washing clothes-- and hangin em on a clothes line in the back yard--- gatherin--foldin and ironin. Cookin--havin been brought up in a big family and helpin her Mama cook she could throw together some good vittles.
My constant companion---Ted the Collie dog---went with me everywhere---we were inseparable---he was my guardian. He ran the neighborhood and got caught killin the neighbor's chickens and Dad tied a dead chicken around his neck and he wore it for a while---didn't kill no more chickens. He was also a fighter---had many a fight with the local dogs and had the scars to prove it. Loved to chase cars--- always figured he'd go missin and we would find him on the road somewhere. More stories about Ted later.
The house we lived in was set on blocks--seemed pretty high to me---Dad said it was because we lived so close to the creek-- might flood and we would be high and dry. As I said earlier--we were at the end of town and close to the woods---back then there were no fences and live stock ran loose---normal day would be to run the cows--some long horns--- out of the back yard and occasionally a herd of hawgs which I'm sure Ted helped with. Remember being waked up---I do--by hawgs gruntin and squealin---scratchin their backs under the house. A rude n scary awakenin for a little guy. The cows were of course identified by brand---the hawgs by ear marks---cuts in the ears identified the owners. The great archer---Howard Hill--came to town and put on a shooting exhibition at the football field---shootin balloons at a 100 yds--and other targets if i remember correctly---I DO. It was mentioned that there were lots of hawgs and they were available for huntin-- he was all for it as he was noted for his Safari excursions and shootin elephants and other big game in Africa with a long bow---as the story goes---Mr. Hill shot a big sow that had little'uns and she charged him--chased him up a tree and tore up his bow and had to be shot so he could come down---my Dad was in the bunch of hunters that day and told me the story---HE DID.
We had an old wire spool settin in the front yard-- it was about 3-4 feet off the ground and about 4 or so feet across---- a fine place for us to play--- got pushed off one day and knocked out----had a slight concussion. Think ole meanie Butch did the pushin--HA!
The Hammits had a big flower bed by their house and it was a great attraction for the big ole bumble bees---not the regular honey bees but great big'uns. Yellow and black stripes on their tail. We tried to catch em and of course got stung---hurt like hell---I remember---I do. There was also a caster bean tree close by and we were campin out--- playin----ate some of them beans and all had to have our stomachs pumped out---sick--- man were we sick.
During this same time there was a story about a boy found in the Big Thicket---story was he was raised by wild animals--- not sure about the truth of this one but the Big Thicket is supposed to have been one of those places where people went in and didn't come out. Imagination runnin wild for a little guy.
Out in our woods-- a pretty good ways from the house ---there was an old shack---old hermit lived there and we used to sneak in and watch him---finally---I think we kinda got aquainted--- seems like I took him some crackers one time.
Back then Coaches only worked 9 months, just during school time---Dad drove the school bus, before and after school---to all out of town games, washed the uniforms, mowed and striped the football field-- just part of a coaches many jobs. He worked as a life guard at the city pool during the summer and worked in the oil field. Surprised Dad one day and jumped off the hi dive board---he had to come get me--couldn't swim. Did learn how to swim there---spent more time under the water than on top. Played frogman with my friends---craved the mask and fins that went with it-- wasn't til later that I got that stuff. Red eyes from the chlorine in the water.
One of the highlights of that time in Conroe was the trips to Galveston beach----went to the San Jacinto Monument---Battle Ship Texas-- and to the beach. Man seemed like it took forever to get there. Bet the trip from Conroe is a lot longer now--traffic and all. From what I hear Conroe is almost a suburb of Houston and everyone knows about Houston traffic. Reeeediculous!!!! We had great times on the beach when Flora Bea, Bill and Kenny came down for visits---beach, sand and sun burn----yeah buddy!!