A Friend:Winter Memories, Hubpage Challenge
Often times somewhat trivial images from my early years stick in my mind. Sort of mental Kodak moments. One such image dates back to about 1942 when I was about seven years old and in the first grade at a new school. A new school and a new city; although at the age of seven one city is about like another. Anyhow, for reasons unknown to a seven year old, our family decided to relocate to Minneapolis, Minnesota from Des Moines, Iowa.
Something seemed to have gone wrong with the moving plan. As I understand it, we got to Minneapolis, but our furniture didn’t. Apparently the moving truck got lost and ended up in another state altogether. Even without the interstate highways, it shouldn’t be that hard to find Minnesota from the middle of Iowa. Additionally we had no place to live, so my parents, two brothers, my sister (all of high school age) and myself moved in with my aunt and uncle who also had several children. Two of theirs were in the service as the Second World War was still being fought. Never the less, it was a bit crowded. After a short time, despite mothers protest, Dad found and purchased a four bedroom house nearby. It was about a half mile to the grade school I was going to. I was in first grade. My oldest brother was a senior in high school. The youngest was a freshman.
To me, it seemed that Minneapolis had more snow than Des Moines did. I‘m not sure if it did, but Des Moines is just a little milder. A few years ago we took a trip to Texas and got caught in a snowstorm in Des Moines and stayed over for the night. Snow is snow.
Back to 1942.
I was walking to school the first day in our new house. It was a longer walk than it had been from my uncle’s place. I huddled up in my sheepskin lined coat, pulled down the earlaps of my cap and shoved my hands in my pockets. Then I saw this kid. He was carrying what looked like a big snowball on his shoulder. I thought to myself, “That kid is going to dump that snow down my back or on my head.”
“Hey, kid,” shouted. Look at this big snowball I found.”
“Here it comes,” I thought and braced myself for whatever.
Then he dropped it and fell in beside me and we walked on to school.”
His name was Dean and he was my best friend for the years we both lived in the neighborhood. His father was in the Navy. Actually, many fathers of my friends were in the service. My Dad was in his
forties at the time, so he was not in the services. My oldest brother would be drafted after high school. Many fathers were gone for various reasons, but mostly because of the war.
Dean’s family moved to anew suburb when his father came home with the GI bill. My sister was married by that time and her husband also was able to buy in the same neighborhood with the GI bill.
When I was in the tenth grade we moved to a house in a different neighborhood. I didn’t know that Dad would die of cancer in a few months. By that time my oldest brother lived in California, my sister was married. The youngest of my brothers lived at home until I graduated from high school and he got married. Through those years I did see my old neighborhood friend occasionally.
Model A Ford
I can’t remember the time frame but when were young. Model A Fords were a bit of a fad at certain schools in the Minneapolis area. Many people were restoring them. Oddly, it was popular in some schools but not others. In the school Dean went to it was popular and Dean had one. I didn’t.
One weekend my mother, my brother and I were going to visit my grandparents in Princeton, Minnesota, which is about 60 miles north of Minneapolis. I invited Dean to come along and we drove up in his restored Model A.
The last time I saw Dean was in college. We lived what we would call “a stone’s throw” from the University of Minnesota campus. It was Winter again and some of us learned that there was a network of tunnels between various buildings and underground garages. For students like myself, we will take any opportunity to duck in out of the cold. On one such trip through the buildings I met dean waiting in the hallway to get into a classroom. We chatted for a few minutes, than I had to run to get to my own class.
My brother ran into Dean a few years later and told me that Dean got married and was working as a traveling salesman. My brother, who died recently, had moved back to the neighborhood. He was 85 years old.
Did you have a childhood friedship that lasted a long time?
Children 1940's Minneapolis
© 2014 Don A. Hoglund