Friday, November 28, 2008

Childhood

This is Sid, the Fed again recalling some of the incidences, funny or tragic, from about my age of 6 or 7. I may have briefly touched on these before so please forgive if I am repetitious.

Here is an incident that occurred when I was 8 or 9 years old. It was almost fatal as you will learn. At that time we were living in Fairbank and my dad had torn down the old shed that served as a garage and store room. And in its place built a two-storey block garage/store room. On the south side of this, my dad had a small chicken pen where he kept a few chickens and a number of rats that also enjoyed the chicken feed. Anyway, my brother Bill and I by coming out on top of the chicken coop and carefully inching our way up to the top. We would then slide down the slated roof to the top of the chicken coop. We would often repeat this several times several times a day. My father was disturbed that our sliding down on the rolled roofing and with each slide, he would remove a little more of the gravel that kept the roof from leaking. Anyway, one nice summer day, Bill and I and a couple of other neighborhood kids were up to our usual Saturday morning tricks - sliding down the roof.

The remainder of this incident does not come from my recollection. I had learned of it from the remarks of others. I must have positioned myself too close to the edge of the garage roof and slid down. We usually ended up on top of the chicken coop, but this time I apparently slid off the garage roof, fell out, 12 feet onto a chunk of concrete. Somehow my parents got a doctor to the house and he was asking me various questions, presumably to detect any brain damage. I do remember he asked me what day it was and I gave him the wrong answer.

I was kept in bed for several days and apparently my condition returned to normal. However that was also the end of our roof sliding.

Another childhood incident our home was only about 30 feet from a busy railroad track. As kids we would put nails or pennies on the track so that the huge wheels would crush them. Up the track to the east there was a depression in the ground that we called "our den". It probably had been a basement excavation for a long ago inhabited, but to get to the point - one hot day in the summer, I went into the local confectionery and bought an ice cream cone for a nickel. I kept licking on the cone as I traveled eastward toward our den. A number of my friends had also gathered in the den and we then all lit up foul smelling cigars in a short length of time my stomach became extremely upset and I went back home. I had always attributed the bad feelings to combining tobacco smoke and ice cream. I have never smoked since that time.

Here is an incident that never before has seen the light of day. The second story of my father's garage had become a hangout for the kids of the neighborhood. I recall that on one particular day my friends had apparently persuaded a young lady I will name only as Maxine to preside over the section of the second floor. It was my understanding that the boys would go up on the second floor and what then occurred was never known to me. However, it was finally my turn so I walked up the stairs to the second floor. 'And, lo, Maxine was seated in a chair. I stood there speechless because I had no idea what had been done or was supposed to be done with Maxine as a participant. After a minute or two, Maxine put her hands on her hips and said "Well . . ."

Not having the slightest idea what was expected of me, I turned and fled. Fortunately my mother called me for dinner about that time so I escaped the clutches of Maxine without any damage to my ego.

Another minor incident, in the life of Sid the Fed during the depths of the depression, my father had swapped a number of day old chicks to another man. My father receiving 80 acres of land in southern Missouri. My father was overcome with curiosity as to what the new land was like. We had no money but he persuaded the father of one of my childhood friends to let the son (Bob Williams) go on a trip with us to Missouri and the father put up $25 toward his son's expenses, it being noted that $25 was a lot of money.

However, we did take off my brother Bill also accompanied us and drove to the outskirts of St. Louis. We had what passed for a tent and we spent the night at this campground. The next day my dad told us that we would be going through the Annheuser Busch brewery which, incidentally, was a free of charge tour. We did show up at the brewery and after being shown the internal organs, we ended up at the "party room". As you might expect, beer was the only drink served and each one of us was given a bottle of beer. I drank some and found it was not to the liking of my tummy. No more beer for Sid. I recall that in the handling of this beer bottle, it foamed up and spilled on the highly polished table. I tried to wipe it up, but lacked the needed equipment. One of the things that I recall about St. Louis was that we were buying gasoline 8 gallons for $1. That was cheap. Gasoline did burn in the car's cylinders, but knocked something awful. We bought no more gas at that price.

At the site where the land was located, we found nothing but low mountains, huge boulders a few pine trees and desolation. We did find a hillbilly family who answered some of our questions about this bit of property. At that point, we headed back to Fairbank, Iowa. I later heard that my dad had sold this land to the state of Missouri for some kind of wildlife sanctuary.

This concludes the long, long ago

I will now bring my saga containing an account of my life in the Navy. I know you all are aware of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 by the Japanese Armed Forces. Earlier in 1941, I had registered for the draft and was shortly 1A which meant I was only a step or two away from being drafted into the U. S. Army. I was teaching school at the time and the school board wanted me to finish out the school year through the next June. We made arrangements to appear before the local draft board on December 8, 1941, we made an appearance through the overtones of the Pearl Harbor disaster and, as you might expect, I kept the 1A draft status.

The next day, I drove from Riverside to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to determine what the Navy had to offer. I contacted the recruiting station and was given full details as to the rules and regulations. I was also told to report to the recruiting station on December 10, which I did. I was immediately put to work as a yeoman (typist), since the Iowa farm boys were not anxious to be drafted into the Army, but felt the Navy was a better deal.

However, I found that the yeoman that had worked in the recruiting station was off recovering from the effects of some serious alcoholic beverages. They needed a yeoman desperately since, as mentioned above, the Iowa farm boys were lined up ready to take on the Japanese Navy. They had even found a room in a rooming house where I could stay. Life continued quite routinely with Sid working his butt off, filling out the forms and papers for the new recruits.

As I have (or will) mentioned, Marilyn Elizabeth Ingham and I were married in the following July. We enjoyed life in Des Moines, but eventually I was commissioned an ensign in the Navy Reserve and the happenings will be recorded elsewhere.

The following represents another notch in Sid's blog. I was perhaps 10 or 12 at the time and during the summer months would go to an area just up the river from the mill which often yielded a fish or two. I was down at the mill with my usual fishing gear when I got too far out on a plank covering the ____ and the plank tipped throwing me into the water. I could not swim, but I was paddling for life in order to keep my head above water if the mills mechanism had been turning at the time, I most certainly would have been sucked into the grinding chamber and would quickly become human mincemeat. Fortunately for Sid the Fed another older man was also fishing with a cane and pole. He thrust the pole out to me. The pole was long enough I could grab it and be pulled in. I was none the worse because of the incident, except to give thanks that I was still able to breathe and walk. My savior (first name unknown) Fitzgerald although I am sure my parents did hear about their eldest son's brush with death, I never fished at this location again.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More from later in Thanksgiving

 

 

 

 
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We went to Mimi's for dinner tonight - the food was very good. Only two out of the seven of us ordered the Thanksgiving meal. Sid, of course, ordered one of the traditional meals. His dinner included a small Caesar's salad - shared with Roberta and Serena. Then four big slices of white turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, mashed sweet (very sweet) potatoes, carrots, broccoli and chocolate cream pie. The chocolate cream pie was finished off with some help. Sid pretty much dismissed the broccoli and carrots as too healthy. The rest was sampled, but saved in styrofoam for another meal tomorrow. Oh, and raspberry iced tea was also drunk - several glasses. No one left hungry.

Sid's Thanksgiving - along with a few others

 

 

 

 


Sorry for bad photography.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Life at Cornell

I will continue in the King blog to divulge the small incidents that occurred at Cornell College which might be of interest to you, the reader.

Many, if not most, colleges of that era the football season with its bright sunny days and leaves come tumbling down is the time for pranks, not necessarily harmless played on faculty and students alike. In my freshman year I attempted to carry on this journal of pranks but I quickly learned that I was a rank amateur in such goings-on. Even though I did not participate in the more outlandish and violent pranks, I did greatly enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of college life as well as watching the beautiful leaves come tumbling down since the Cornell College had a great multitude of hardwood trees.

Cornell College had given up the fraternity life a long time ago but in their stead were "social groups" that took the place of fraternities. It was always a matter of conjecture as to whom which would be pledged - which would be left out.  The social groups were pretty much divided as to the atmosphere derived from their undergraduate days at home. Even though I came from a poor family and had no special athletic talents as pledged by "AXE" Alpha Chi Epsilon. And my good fortune in receiving such an honor has stayed with me throughout my life.

The fraternities did have their own version of "hazing"; not the extremly physical type used by many freshmen groups in other colleges but such harmless incidences as wearing outlandish costumes, painted faces, etc. in fact resembled a Halloween party. At that period of time booze such as beer, wine and hard liquors were forbidden on the campus as was the case throughout all Iowa. Despite this, the  law was being frequently violated. In my hazing part, we were put through some crazy tricks and were dressed in what might be called "crazy clothing" and as you might expect of students of that age, a couple of cases of beer had floated by which were quickly snatched up by the pledgees. Just how an intact case of beer would float down a large river was never explained. I don't recall indulging to any great extent in the occasional beer, but several of my fellow pledgees imbibed heavily and one whose name shall be forgotten, and never be indulged on these pages.

Suffice to say that I did not imbibe so heavily that my action nor voice was affected in any way. And to this day some 65 years later, the statement still remains true.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Miriam on the Move

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Miriam was born April 9, 2008.

View Larger Map

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Thanks to Kay for the exact address of the King farm. This map really works better within Google Maps itself. You can click down to the next to last close-up view in satellite view. (The most close-up view is not available in satellite.)

Listening to: WNYC, New York Public Radio - Zagat Dining on a Budget (The Leonard Lopate Show: Thursday, 16 October 2008)
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Freshman Year at Cornell College

You will recall, fellow Googlers, that in my first attempt to invade your very own electronic waves, I brought the tour of my life up to graduation from high school.

It was a foregone conclusion in the King household that I would be attending Cornell college, a small liberal arts Methodist college in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Why was it a foregone conclusion? He who has the money, can dictate the rules and my two aunts, Gercie and Nell, were furnishing the necessary college costs and they had the say-so. In September 1937, I made the huge transition from farm boy to freshman in college. I took the usual freshman college courses, including freshman math. However, I found that freshman math was more than my farm intellect could whack to stand. So I dropped the math and took another course. Later on in this blog, you will find that dropping the math was actually a poor decision since there were some positions in the Navy that were open only to those who had taken college math.

I have previously related the accomodations we were assigned to Merner Hall, the newest of the dormitories on the campus. My roommate, Harold Parker from Ida Grove, Iowa, was likewise a farmboy, although a bit more sophisticated than I. As far as knowing the ways of the college world, Harold and I were strictly amateurs, particularly when compared with our utterly sophisticated roommates.

The freshman class had about the same proportion of male to female students, as would be expected and I felt that I would be doing the freshman girls a great favor if I dated them. I didn't have much money, but while the favorite activities 0n a date was to walk down to the railroad overpass and watch the "streamliners" pull through on their nightly run. I might also add that it was very dark on this bridge which was conducive for a farm boy seeking to make the big time.

I was sadly lacking in social graces, not knowing how to dance, nor carry on polite, but meaningless conversation, however, I was not alone in my absence of such graces. Since a large proportion of the freshman class were from Iowa farms or small towns, with this in mind, the college had opened the third floor of a classroom building to what they termed "social halls" open all week long with emphasis being on learning a few dance steps accompanied by victrola music of the period. With this schooling I was quick to learn the various intricacies of the "light fantastic" besides, it was free.

I also recall that during the fall of this year a group of us students hiked westerly on US 30 to the small creek known Abbey Creek. US 30 spanned the creek but the bridge was so constructed that it was dangerous in its engineering and had been a scene of many fatal accidents.

Sure enough when we reached the Abbey Creek Bridge it was horribly mangled and there were pieces of what we took for human flesh hanging from the severed railings. We later found that it had been a scene of a particularly gruesome accident and the passenger had been impaled on these railings.

Sid's favorite foods

really from lennox

"I am very impressed that Sid's list of favorite foods is growing and growing."


"And it's not all desserts--poached eggs and pimento cheese--who KNEW???"

Sunday, November 9, 2008

"Rita, You Should Write A Book! Reminiscences from the Past Ninety-Seven Years."

So, Sid if you work on your blog for the next 8 years, you should have a pretty big book ready to go to print.

Rita, the writer of the autobiography talked about in this newspaper article, grew up in Dubuque, Iowa. It sounds like she lived a pretty interesting life.

You can either click on the title of this post to get to the article or click here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sid: The Early Years

Here ‘tis, fellow travelers. I just know that all of you poor unfortunates out there have been waiting for this great burst of nuclear energy to turn our very own internet into a raving monster that can and will devour all those who venture onto its shimmering surface. This bundle of energy can turn our planet EARTH into another planet Mars, into a rocky lifeless mass. Yes, fellow travelers, you are taking your chances but here goes:

This is a Sid King blog. Delve deeply into your computer’s innards. You will find there a mass of wires and other assorted parts. Dig carefully but deeply. Soon a red glow appears, signifying that you have uncovered the source of all energy – SID KING’S BLOG. Read on at your own risk

You may have already read SID’S attempts at blogging located elsewhere in this mishmash of words, sentences, paragraphs and so on.

Anyway, Sid first saw the light of our world on January 21, 1920, in Fairbank, Iowa, a small farming community in north eastern Iowa. Our family was very middle class, my father being the proprietor of King’s Grocery. My father’s mother, Nellie King, and her step son, Percy, also lived at this home. A bit crowded!! My mother’s two sisters, Gertrude (we called her “Gersie”) and Nelle (crippled), played a rather dominant part in the raising of me and my younger brother, Bill, since both were teachers and assured of a steady income during the Depression years.

I might mention that the Depression of the 1930’s had a great influence on my growing up. I was always neatly dressed and attended church regularly. Had roles in school plays, vainly attempted sports, attempted (and sometimes successfully) attempted flirtatious relations with the young ladies at school, and so on. I spent several summers at the Methodist Church Camp at Clear Lake, Iowa, with kids mostly in my own age group.

There also was a serious side to those years. There were two high schools in Fairbank, the public school and the Catholic School. There was considerable rivalry between the two schools which often led to physical encounters, i.e. fist fights... I was never condemned at home because of fighting; actually, I believe my father who had a son, small physically, (that’s me) that would fight the largest of his rivals, and usually best them Actually he was very proud to have an offspring that would “wave the King banner against any enemy and be victorious.”

However, life in Fairbank during the 1930’s was not entirely fisticuffs. My Dad had a sister living in Minneapolis and we visited there quite often. My Dad enjoyed camping out and we did quite a bit of this. I can vividly recall a lunch in Hibbing, Minnesota, in the pouring down rain with my Dad holding an umbrella over my Mother in the midst of this violent rain storm. An aside – my mother’s two sisters often accompanied us on these camp outs, I have often thought it was more for help with the costs of the journey than for the companionship they furnished.

I also recall taking in the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago, our home of record during this period being a run-down campground NEAR Chicago (of all places) but it was CHEAP.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sid and Marilyn's wedding

From Sid's Blog

Marilyn and I got married on a Saturday because that was the only day of the week that I could get leave from the United States Navy. You will recall that during all of 1942 I was stationed at the recruiting station in Des Moines, Iowa. Marilyn's family had close friends in Des Moines. She would take the bus from Cedar Rapids to Des Moines and while there would stay with these close friends. In her late June visit she really put the pressure on me to get married. I was reluctant, due partially at least to the opposition of my two aunts, my mother's sisters. Marilyn ignored my objections and made plans for a wedding on July 19, 1942 in the chapel of the First Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids.

Time progressed and I became more and more uneasy about assuming the responsibilities of married life, particularly since I was having a very fine time with the nightlife in Des Moines.

However, the intervening period leading up to the ceremomy continually became shorter and on the 18th of July - the day prior to the wedding, and I arrived on the late train to Cedar Rapids.

For the 19th the proclaimed date of the nuptial ceremony, Marilyn had chosen her best girlfriend as the maid of honor. I had chosen my brother Bill to be my best man. As I waited in the ante-room in the chapel, I noted there was a passageway leading to the outside world and the temptation was strong to run out into the outside world and call the whole thing off. Obviously, I did not. In short order, Hayes Sidney King and Marilyn Elizabeth Ingham became a married couple.

After a short reception, we borrowed the Ingham family Buick and drove through the afternoon to Des Moines where we took up residence in an efficiency apartment. I had to return to duy on Monday pounding the government typewriter and enlisting Iowa farm boys as sailors in the United States Navy.

As I had mentioned above, Des Moines as the largest city in Iowa, was noted for its taverns and bars selling liquor by the drink, contrary to the laws of the state. I must say that Marilyn and I were not tee-totalers and really did partake of as much of the nightlife as our finances would allow.

Incidentally at this point I should note that I was earning more money as a yeoman third and second class than I did while teaching school.



From Sid's Blog

Sid and one of his favorite activities

From Sid's Blog

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Coco's, Changing Hands, etc.

From Sid's Blog


This is a photo of Sid, of course, and his favorite waitress Sharon. We had breakfast at Coco's. Sid had his favorite breakfast - pancakes, coffee, two poached eggs (well-drained) and bacon. Sharon O'Shea was also with us for the day.

We went on to Changing Hands - an interesting bookstore/gift shop. Sid and I then went next door to the restaurant that had free wifi (we could check email on our iPod Touches). There was also a very nice Trader Joe's in the same shopping center.

The next stop was Ikea - Mother's favorite store. Although we went through quite quickly and were out in about 45 minutes. Then off to Fast & Easy (the Tesco offshoot).

South Bend Memory

Here is a South Bend memory that made a big impression on me, and I wonder if Sid remembers it. When I came back from Germany after my junior year in 1963-64, South Bend seemed a little small to me, and (mostly in a pretty obnoxious way!), I did a lot of things to prove what a woman of the world I was. I stayed home the summer of 1965 before I started grad school at Wisconsin, and I insisted on listening all the time to classical music on the Chicago radio station WFMT, which didn't come in very well and was very static-y, and it used to make Marilyn so mad! But someone else I frequently heard on WFMT was Studs Terkel, a very wonderful radio announcer, who just died on October 31 at the age of 96. He started working for WFMT in 1952 and worked there for 45 years. I bet Sid knew about him--though in the recollections no one is saying that he was a Communist, he was blacklisted during the McCarthy era, so I'm sure he was, or at least a fellow traveller. You can read more about Studs Terkel at www.studsterkel.org. I also remember from that summer that, because I was so obnoxious, Sid kept saying to me, "You'll mellow!" But, happily, I didn't, and I bet both Sid and I are glad about that!

Saturday, November 1, 2008