The Pink House on Charles Street

After the fire at the house on Cherry Street, the church built a new church parsonage for us to live in. I guess they let my mother pick the color of the brick and she chose pink. Very Pink

A number of years ago I went back to visit Sherman, Tx and drove around the parts of town that I remembered. The pink house was now occupied by a black family. I didn’t stop, but now I wish I had.

There were pink bricks left over from the construction of the house. There was also a large piece of plywood that was cut into an odd shape. I don’t know how I learned to lay the bricks like a bricklayer, but I used these pink bricks to build many configurations of playhouses. In my minds eye, these structures were quite large, but as I think about it now, the plywood would not have been more 4  x 6 or so. But it would hold several of my friends at a time.

I don’t know at what age we made the transition from the house of Cherry Street to the house on Charles Street, but I think it was about the time I entered elementary school. The school was just a few blocks from the house. I both walked and rode my bike to school. The school was a big red brick building with steps leading up to grand doors that were just outside my school room. There was a cloakroom to pass through from the hall into the classroom, or so I remember.

I was a school crossing guard in the later years of elementary school. I had a belt that went over my shoulder and around my waist and a heavy silver badge. When I got the belt it was not very clean, but my mother washed it in bleach and we used a brush to scrub it. Strange what we remember, I was very proud of my bright white belt, shinny badge and of being a crossing guard. We had a red flag on a very long pole that we lowered into the street to stop the traffic and allow the students to cross. There were four crossing guards, one for each corner of the building and we had to be to school early and stay late. I guess that part was a bummer.

On my path to school I passed a large Catholic Hospital. It seemed large at the time, but it was maybe not so large by today’s standards. We, of course, went to the Baptist Hospital. For some reason as a kid I had what they called kidney poison.  I know I had to go to the hospital several times for kidney poisoning and take penicillin shots.

Another visit to the Baptist Hospital was to have my tonsils removed. Pre-op, I remember being in a very white room with a large light above me. They put a metal screen over my face and I could feel and smell the ether drips as they hit the screen. Feel the coldness as it evaporates quickly and the strong smell as it burned my nostril before putting me to sleep. Post-op was very painful, but I got all the ice cream I wanted.

I was in the room with a very young Pentecostal pastor that had hemorrhoid  surgery. He was in a lot of pain. He was also amazed at how versed I was to correct some of his misguided beliefs. Even at my very young age, I think he had not been around religion as long as I.

Most of my life I’ve had allergies. At different ages, these allergies have taken on different symptoms. Early on I would break out in hives. Large whelps would swell my eye to a point I could hardly see and cover my entire body. I would swell so much that I would have difficulty breathing. The emergency treatment for this was Adrenaline shots. By Junior High School I had outgrown these allergic symptoms and returned in my early 20’s as asthma. Adrenaline shots was the emergency treatment for asthma back in those days also. I still have the problem. My father had allergies as does my daughter.

The pink house was next door to the Sherman Police Chief. I hardly remember him, but I do remember his pens of pheasants. Some of the males were beautiful. Across the street was a woman living in an older home. This house had the largest pear tree I have ever seen. They propped the limbs up with boards to keep the limbs from breaking from the weight of the pears. When ripe, the pears were sweet and juicy. Down the block and around the corner there was a house that had a persimmon tree growing next to the fence in the back yard. Each year we would steal a persimmon before it was ripe and taste the bitterness. I think today I don’t like persimmons because of this experience. Maybe there was a dare involved from one of the other kids also.

The central part of North Texas has always be plagued with tornadoes. Sherman was in the middle of it. One Saturday I had gone to the church office with my father. On Saturday mornings he would go and record his sermon for the little radio station that would broadcast it on Sunday morning. As we were leaving the church to deliver the tape to the radio station, we could see three tornadoes funnels in the air at the same time. There was old hen houses, bales of hay and other debris flying through the air.  We quickly went back into the church, through the new sanctuary and into the basement of the old building.  Half an hour later, all was safe.

To be continued.