There must have been thirty kids that lived in West Pratt and went to school at Dora. Each morning before the bus ran, everyone gathered in front of our house. The area was the community bus stop. We always were out there 20 minutes before the bus ran come rain, snow, sleet, or sunshine.
There was always the game of keep-away…this is where you grab somebody’s hat and run them ragged. The group would torment the kid and when one of the mean kids got the hat, it was usually kicked around like a soccer ball. The life span of a hat in those days was painfully short.
When the weather warmed up, we would always play softball right there in the road. Morning traffic in West Pratt was pretty much non-existent and if a car or truck did come by, you could see it for a mile in either direction. One morning when I was in about the second grade we were playing softball. My older sister was tall and gangly in those days and she was one of the most feared hitters in the bunch. She could knock the cover off of a softball and send an outfielder scurrying to the high weeds for the ball. The count on her that morning was three balls and two strikes and she hated to strike out. The pitcher lobbed one right over the plate but a little high. She stepped back to get a better angle on the ball and when she swung, she clipped the catcher in the back of the head. The bad thing was, I was the catcher. The last thing I remember was thinking I might be a little close then wham…I’m laying face first on the gravel pavement.
My sister freaked and snatched me up quickly dusting off my clothes. I was conscience but I was acting quite loopy and my sister pronounced me fit as a fiddle. She really didn’t want me going back in the house because she knew my Mom would have a fit and that usually didn’t turn out well for the one that had crossed her.
Just at that moment someone saw the bus come into view and the crew of kids started chanting BUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS in a sing song voice. I’m not sure why we did that. Anyhow, when the bus arrived, my sister dragged me on the bus and when the feeling started coming back in my head, it started to hurt like crazy. I wanted to go back in the house and let my Mom have a look, but my sister snapped “SHUT UP YOU LITTLE WUS”. All my friends looked at me as if to confirm….well are you a wus? The peer pressure was great so I sat down and went to school. I acted goofy all day, but as I usually acted goofy, no one really noticed. On the ride home, my sister had thought about the situation all day and knew she was in a fix. I could tell mother about the incident and she’d be in trouble so her attitude was all sugar and spice. How are you feeling? She asked. I had been scheming all day too so I told her I’m OK, but I’d feel a lot better if you’d let me listen to your radio. The Sylvania transistor radio was her most prized possession. These radios were rare in those days and were admired by all. She thought long and hard about the proposal but knew I had her over a barrel. She agreed. When we got home and my mom asked about our day…my sister held her breath. Mary Lois…..I paused for effect…..knocked a home run this morning, I reported and my sister did a sigh of relief as my Mom went about making the cornbread.