I was always very independent. Before I was old enough to go off to school, I would travel the neighborhood all by myself. I would start my wanderings by stopping in to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Fridd where we would talk at great length. I loved chatting with older folks, and come to think of it, I have no idea how old they were. They had a grown daughter, Jennie — maybe high school or junior college age — who would take off the minute I arrived. So I had them to myself yakking away until I got bored and left. ( No telling how bored they were with me.)
If I felt like getting away from home a little farther, I would go up about a block- and-a half to the corner of Union and Pomona where I would stop in to see Mr. Hemus who was ‘most always in his garage. Now this man was a marvel. He tinkered around in that garage, and out came hand- tooled, custom baseball and softball gloves. He made them for several of the Big League players, especially Arky Vaughan who had been born in Arkansas, and then lived in Fullerton where all this story is taking place. Later, Mr. Hemus would make my softball catcher’s mitt. I guess he enjoyed our little tete-a-tetes because he made several beautiful gloves for me during my career with World Champion softball teams. (That story — if I ever get started with it — could be a book in itself.)
Now the house next to the Fridd’s, the third one, was also on my “hit” list if I was in the mood. I can’t even remember their names. This visit was completely different from all my others. I like to talk. I would go marching up to the front door, ring the bell, the lady would come to the door, open it for me to come in — or sometimes I would just ring the bell, open the door and let myself in. No words were spoken. I would go directly to the kitchen, and to a certain lower cupboard. It was the second one on the right. Their kitchen, and in fact, the entire home was just like ours. I would sit down on the floor, and start going through all the pots and pans, trying them on my head till I found the one that fit. I already knew which one fit, but it was so much fun trying them ALL on. This was serious business. After I had my pot hat perched on my head at a very rakish angle, I would then walk back out the front door, sit down on the cement steps, elbows on my knees, chin cupped in my hands (see, I already was aware about taking good care of that head with the brain in it, even with a few concussions along the way.) There I sat to watch the world go by on No. Pomona Ave. The view from this particular home did not offer too much. Directly across the street was Fullerton Union High School. It was like looking at a big blank wall — I don’t remember if there were even any windows to get my attention. Hardly any cars went by.
You have to remember this was early 1920’s, maybe 1922 or 1923, so I couldn’t even play my game of identifying the make of each auto that passed by. Now our home was 3 doors away, second from corner of Chapman Ave. — we had an expansive view of the huge lawn and landscaping in front of the school. (Perhaps I should’ve stayed home if I wanted the view, but then maybe little sis Viv might start bugging me) And just remember: I was in my “independent” era. It was more fun for me to bug the neighbors.
When I had had enough of that scenario with the pot hat, I would get up, enter the house — not even knocking this time — head for the kitchen, return the pot to its rightful resting place, and then flee the scene out the front door, looking for greener pastures.
Still no use of vocal chords on either side.
I guess they never minded too much.
They never came down to tell my Mom to “Keep that kid at home!”