As I mentioned, I was a latchkey kid. My aunt was a taxi driver for Redtop Cab Company. I do remember times when I would go on pick ups and drop offs with her. Anyway, she was never home when I got there from school. I was in the 2nd and 3rd grades at the time. I remember walking home from school and letting myself in. Sometimes I rode the bus, but most of the time I walked. Remember those railroad tracks I spoke about….those were my playground. It was kind of fun! I loved getting home and watching the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Lol…that was back in the day…wow!!! I would get home, get the key from under the mat and go in. My aunt didn’t come home until quite late sometimes. Most of the time, after I did my homework, played around outside at the dump, talked with Mama Fanny ( I’ll talk about her later), I would walk to the cab company at eat at the dinner next door. Now it really wasn’t that far. In fact, the cab company was on my way home. I’d say I lived a couple of miles (maybe 2 or 3) from my school. Anyway, my Aunt had an account at the dinner. All I had to do was go in there and order my dinner and say, “put it on my tab”. Lol….they didn’t have accounts back then, they were called tabs, ha!
They knew me anyway so it wasn’t a problem. Like I said, the diner/cafe was attached to the cab station. That place was my playground too! I used to play around on the old broken down cars in the lot. Mr. Arnold, the owner of the cab company, used to have some old hound dogs tied up on the side of the garage. I remember those dogs used to get after those rats…these were big old wood rats that used to live up under those old broke down cabs. Anyway, those rats used to sneak over and eat the dog food from their bowls. Those dogs would start barking and howling and running after those rats until they reached the end of their rope and…..YANK! It was so funny.
In the summer, Mr Arnold used to buy these big ole watermelons and put them in the bay. You didn’t just get a piece…no you got a whole quarter. He would cut them in half, and them he would cut the half in half and we would go to town on those watermelons. Those were fun memories.
But like I said, I was a latchkey. After I ate, and didn’t feel like hanging around the station, or riding out with my aunt, I would go back home. I would often stop by my friends house and shoot marbles. Now those were the days….I loved to play marbles. I would walk around with a pocket full of marbles that I found from where….Yep, the dump! Of course, I won a whole lot of them too!
So I was at home alone most of the time. Many times I would go next door and sit and talk with Mama Fanny. Mama Fanny lived next door. The relationship I had with her was like one of those movies. You know the ones where there is a neighborhood boy who develops a friendship with a wise old man or women. Well, she was the wise old woman. She used to have an apple tree in her front yard and would make the best apple pies. She had a little dog. I don’t remember what kind of dog it was but I do remember this. I went over there one afternoon and the house was smelling good. She had some type of meat cooking on the stove and I was like…ummm, yum, yum. Needless to say, that was for the dog, lol!!!!!!!! Mama Fanny was so good to me. I have memories of her sitting in her rocking chair, just rocking back and forth. She often prayed to God in that chair, just her and her little dog. All I can remember is that one day she was just not there anymore. When she died I felt so lonely again.