The First Night and Beyond
The first night in our house at 105 Pithon Street in 1963 was a magical one for me. As fate would have it, two third grade classmates not only resided in the neighborhood, but one, Stacy Shearman was right next door and the other, Judy Hickman, directly across the street. I couldn’t believe my luck! Stacy and I sealed our new friendship that evening chatting into Dixie cups attached to a string that stretched across the field between our bedroom windows. Sound waves passed through a new medium that first night on Pithon.
Each Halloween, the Shearmans would transform their garage into a very eerie Haunted House. Ordinary rooms that I played in during the day turned into dark pits of terrifying sounds and sights. Even though I had helped them to peel the grapes (eyes) and boil mushy spaghetti (brains), one never knew what scary surprise Stacy and Walker had staged for us behind the next door.
The Garber family pet was usually a golden retriever, the first one being from the Paret’s original golden retriever, Honeypot. One time we got a dalmation we christened Hunter. Little did we know that name would prove to be prophetic because of his philandering ways. Hunter became somewhat of an embarrassment when neighborhood puppies started appearing with unusual spots. So much for leash laws and neutering back then.
Much later we acquired my grandmother’s golden retriever, Lady, who was a sister to our Ginger. One year, the girls went into heat at the same time and the Baggett’s big yellow lab, Sam, sprang into action. Several weeks later and only a day or two apart, Ginger and Lady delivered twenty one pups between them. Although the litters were kept separate at first, after a few weeks, they got mixed and no one, not us or them or their canine mothers knew whose puppy was whose. I felt like the Pied Piper of Pithon walking down the street followed by twenty one yellow panting pups. Fortunately the holidays were around the corner, time wise, that is, and the puppies made great Christmas gifts.