Growing Up Wallace, Memories of the way we were, my story, and anything else that crosses my mind.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Fort Hemlock-Bad Boys Bad Boys

When I was four years old, we moved from the suburbs of Burke to the big city of Wallace. We did not initially buy the house on Cedar Street, but instead we rented a house on a street that no longer exists, Hemlock Street. Hemlock was about where the Wallace Inn laundry room is today. It dead ended at what was then the main highway, Hwy 10.There were only six houses on Hemlock Street when we moved there, and at the end of the street where it met HWY10, there were about three steps that went up to the sidewalk. At the bottom of those stairs was a perfect place to build a snow fort.

I was only a kindergarten pup, but big brother was three years my senior, and his friend was about a year older than my brother was. It was a great fort that they built, and in that fort was an arsenal of snowballs that we had spent hours packing with snow and a little bit of ice. Now, what are we going to throw those snowball at? Trucks, of course, that came along Hwy 10. We never threw at the cabs, but only at the trailer.

I, being of little arms and lousy aim, never hit anything, but Leon and Craig had already developed good pitching technique, and they hit their targets with accuracy and they hit them frequently.
Now, I, only being a  small tot, mostly watched the "big boys" practice their snowball throwing craft, and on this particular very cold Wallace winter day, I was just being a spectator. I was always afraid that someday we would get in trouble, or worse, get clobbered by some angry trucker for hitting his truck.
I had that sense of foreboding that day, and so, I was on " run as fast as you can" mode.

I don't remember who threw that snowball. All that I know was that I did not throw it. The semi came into view, and the snowball flew through the air like a Nolan Ryan fastball. Plunk, it hit something, but wait a minute, it wasn't the truck that it hit, nope, that would have been fine. Instead, it landed like a perfectly placed pitch smack against the windshield of the police car behind the truck.

Well, legs don't fail me now, I said to my shaking limbs, and off I ran as fast as I could go. My brother and his friend, being older and wiser than I was, did not run, and, of course, the cop did not chase them.Yes, it was me he was chasing. I had just committed the crime of eluding a police officer.
I ran as fast as my kindergarten legs would carry me, straight in our back door, and up the stairs to my bedroom. Of course, I was not savvy enough to realize that officer only had to see which house that I went in.

My heart was beating what seemed like a thousand beats a minute when I heard my dad's voice calling me. " Son, come down here. Someone wants to see you."
By now, the tears were rolling down my cheeks, and my whole body was shaking. I was so sure, probably from having watched too much "Dragnet", that I was going to be hauled off to jail. Perhaps a diet of bread and water was in the making.

Well, I entered the living room, and there was the officer, and my folks, as well as my brother. The officer told me that the older boys had already told him that I was not the one who threw the snowball. He then proceeded to lecture my brother and I on how such a stunt could cause an accident, perhaps even leading to serious injury for the driver. He then looked sternly at me and told me to never run from a police officer, and that he, at first, thought that I was the guilty one because I had run. He then left, and that was the end of it. Well, almost. There was, of course, the visit to our room by my dad, and the lecture of how this was going to hurt him worse than if would us. Yea, right.

The next day, Fort Hemlock was torn down, never to rise again. Now, did I learn my lesson? Well, stay tuned for the time that we were playing baseball at the intersection of Third and Bank, and a policeman pulled up, and well, you guessed it. Story at 11:00

Run Spot Run-One Adam 12 See the Kid

Leaving Hemlock Street, we fast forward to the days of our lives on Cedar Street. I was now three years older than my Fort Hemlock days, and much smarter and wiser? Hardly. We had arrived. We now lived next door to a lawyer, a store owner, and across the street from two bankers, and one block away from two doctors. We were Cedar Street snobs.

By that time I, too, had developed the ability to throw snowballs and baseballs. I hung out mostly with my older brother and his friends, so I had to play hard and be tough.

Cedar Street was not a good street to play baseball on, but right around the corner was Third and Bank Street, and Third and Bank was a great place to play baseball because there was a wall that held the hill on High Bank from crashing down to Bank Street. The wall we used as the outfield, and of course, when we hit a ball over the wall, it was a homer.

The city fathers did not think that playing baseball in the streets was such a grand idea, and so they passed an ordinance that made it "illegal" to do so. It was to be actively enforced by Wallace's finest.
That threat did not stop our local gang of kids from daring to defy this criminal action, so one day in early June found about 6 of us playing again on Third and Bank. I was in my position in the "outfield' when I looked down the street, and to my utter horror, the unmistakable markings of a Wallace City Police car was coming straight for us. Once again, without a word, I commanded my legs to run as fast as a third grader can run. Rounding the corner of Cedar Street with a sprint that would shatter any Olympic record, I ran into the house and straight up the stairs to my bedroom. Well, here we were, Deja vu all over again.

Sure enough, I soon heard my mother's voice calling my name. " Son, please come down here, someone wants to talk to you." Down the winding staircase I came, and there, sitting in our living room was Wallace Officer, Barney Fife. OK, the name was changed to protect the innocent.
Officer Fife wanted to know where I had been about an hour earlier. I was perplexed by the question. An hour earlier I had still been in the house. He then asked me why I had sped away when I saw him coming. I told him it was because of the ordinance forbidding playing ball in the street.

Now, sometimes Divine Intervention smiles on one, and this happened to be the case here. Our pastor, who made a little money on the side painting houses, had been hired by my dad to paint our kitchen, and living and dining rooms. Rev. Philp had been listening to the conversation, and spoke up, and verified that I had, indeed, been in the house an hour before. Officer Fife then told us that about an hour ago some kids had broken the windshield of a car a few blocks away, and he was going to stop and ask us if we had seen any other kids out there. Of course, when I ran, he assumed that I was the one who had broken the windshield earlier in the afternoon. We all kind of laughed. and I was relieved that I was not going to jail that fine afternoon.

When my brother came home in a bit, he asked me why I had taken off. He said that all the officer wanted was to ask about the windshield, and it had nothing to do with playing baseball in the streets.

Ok, I am a slow learner.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Bart Starr was more than a Star.

He was not all that great, or was he? The stats say he was very average, but the record says that he was one of the all-time greats. So what is that defines greatness? Just what makes someone a hero?
To me, and to thousands of other kids in the 1960's he was a hero, a great quarterback, a leader of men. His name was Bryan Bartlett Starr, and he was the quarterback for the legendary Green Bay Packers.

Benched in high school and benched his senior year at Alabama, it is a wonder that he was even drafted by the NFL. The initial report by Packer scouts was that he was not much of a passer and had very average athletic skills.

A new head coach by the name of Vince Lombardi watched some film of the young Starr and something that others had not. It was an unmeasurable quality, and statistics nerds will not find it in any book. It is the quality of sheer determination and willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed.

6 NFL championships and two Super Bowl wins later, well, the rest like they say it history.

Bart Starr is like the people in Wallace when I was growing up there. Sheer determination the unbreakable willingness to do whatever it takes to accomplish the task made Wallace the jewel of  Idaho, and the Silver Capital of the world.

R.I.P  Bart Starr-1/9/1934 to 5/26/2019-you will be missed.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Where Is The Love

Suddenly, the air seems dryer, movement slower, emotions dead. I feel tight, restricted, and yes, a little meaner towards everyone, especially myself. Why? It finally hit like a bombshell yesterday, yes, the missing ingredient, the most important ingredient, and the saving ingredient.

The more legalistic that I get, the more self-righteous that I feel, and the more judging that I do of others, the more miserable I feel. And like a bolt out of the sky, the message came. ' Where is the love?"

If we are not loving our neighbor as ourself, we have restricted the entire message of the Law and the Prophets. We have ignored the message of the cross, and our faith is like "sounding brass and tinkling cymbals

Christianity without love is like an ocean without water.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Make Wallace Great Again

I get a kick out of talking to my former classmates on Facebook and listening to them sing loud for all to hear of "the wonders and wonders of their hometown, Wallace. Yes, Wallace is a special place, yes Wallace was a great place to grow up in, and yes, you are proud of Wallace, but when I ask you  "why don't you move back here? the tune quickly changes to a different song.

OK, I don't blame you. There is nothing here if you live here, but if you are visiting here, it is a great place.I do put forth this simple suggestion to you. There would be more to do here if you all moved back here because supply and demand would dictate that more stores open up here.
Let's make Wallace great like it once was.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

WIll The Last Business Leaving The Valley Please Turn Off The Lights

Wow, Wallace, Osburn, and now Kellogg continue to shrivel. Within the last year, Osburn Drug closed the doors after 60 years in business. KWAL Radio, a Valley connection to the outside world ceased to broadcast. US Bank in Kellogg announced the closing of the branch there, and then Steins in Kellogg is closing and combining with the Osburn store.

What is next? Could the unthinkable finally happen and Wallace and Kellogg's schools combine in some fashion?  Please wake me up from this nightmare. Just kidding. Maybe it is time for some serious thinking about consolidation. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Night Life In The Cemetery.

Congratulations to the city that I lived in for years and loved so much, Seattle, Washington, for becoming the third the largest city in the country behind only New York and Los Angeles for --drum roll-------homeless population. Yes, beautiful Seattle is now ----hole city, USA. Thank you Seattle mayor and council for making this happen.

Seattle homeless crisis: Historic cemetery overrun with drugs and prostitution amid worsening problem


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Be A Doer

I don't regret so much what I have done, although there are some of those, but what I regret most are the things that I did not do that I could have or should have done. It is the picture that I never painted, the song that I never composed, the mountain that I never climbed, the ocean that I never crossed, the people that I never met, and the joy that I never shared. 

Be A Doer.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

It Is Zag Time, Baby!

OK, I admit, I am a Gonzaga basketball junkie. I would rather watch the Zags play than I would any other team. Even though I never attended Gonzaga, I did live in Spokane for years, AND, I wore a Zag sweatshirt in the 1980s, long before it became hip to root for them.

Tonight ended another regular season of perfection, There is really something extra special about this 2018-2019 addition, and dare we dream of a national glory for the one time Cinderella team from Spokane? 

Of course, the Wallace connection to the Zags is well known, but I will retell it anyway.

Wallace had ties to Gonzaga for many years, and of course, one prominent Wallace man, Mr. H.F. Magnuson and his generous gifts to Gonzaga have been well documented. What some of you may not know is that one Wallace physician from my growing up Wallace days, Dr. Ed Fitzgerald, our family doctor, was a prominent athlete at Gonzaga way back in the 1920s. He was captain of the basketball team, quarterback of the football team, yes Gonzaga use to have football, and very, very good friends of Spokane legend and Gonzaga student, Mr. White Christmas, Bing Crosby.

Doc was our doctor for years and was my dad' s doctor long before he met my mother. He was a little rough at times, and his bedside manner needed some work, but he was a very good physician and was very prominent in Wallace activities, including founding Lookout Ski Hill.

Here are a couple of photos of the good doctor.

 Captain of the basketball team

The quarterback of the football team-1925

In 1981, Dr. Fitzgerald speaking at the Bing Crosby statue dedication. 

Dr. Ed Fitzgerald, another great growing up Wallace memory.