Stacy Shearman Remembers Life in Margaret Place
Growing up in Margaret Place was idyllic. I was the 5th Shearman child of six being raised at 109 Pithon Street. My best girlfriend, Judy Hickman (now Brewton) lived across the street at 110 Pithon Street (where Sadie and Chris Shearman live now.) We went to kindergarten together. We did nearly everything together. My first play room was underneath the stair case of that terrific two story home. Those stairs have a 900 turn. Underneath was place fit for only a small child, her dolls and friends. Then there was our large, long gone garage that Ann Garber talks about in her memories of growing up in Margaret Place. It was a wonderful, huge, old wooden structure with stairs going up to the attic. We had so much fun in that barn like building. There was a concrete driveway about as large as a regulation half court basketball floor in front of the garage. With the basketball goal hanging from the front of the garage it made for a terrific place for basketball games.
Football, softball and kickball were played in the yard between the Garber's house and ours. I remember when the Garber's lived on Alvin Street. And, I remember when they moved in next door to us at 105 Pithon Street. Cathy Garber and I were in the same grade. Another friend for life.
The 1st day of First Grade at Fourth Ward Elementary School is etched in my mind. My older & only sister was in the 6th grade. My brother, Walker was in the 3rd grade. FiFi Gill (now Martin) came to our house from her part of Pithon. She lived on the other side of Pithon Coulee. There's a funny story about the 1st day Nancy met FiFi. But, this is my story. Jim Lobdell is the same age as Walker. So, Judy and I had lots of older kids to help us get to our 1st day of school. We could walk or ride our bikes. Our dog, Shearm followed us to school. Then he would go home. At the end of the school day, he would usually come to escort us back home.
After the Lobdell's moved from Griffith Street to 109 Grove Street, Judy and I played in the vacant house on Griffith Street. But, we weren't the only ones playing there. Someone was in there when we weren't. They had been smoking cigarettes, drinking beer and leaving the evidence behind. We knew that this wasn't a safe situation. And, we knew that we weren't supposed to be playing in the vacant house. So, instead of telling our parents we called the police. We met them at the house on Griffith Street to tell them what was going on. We also threw the For Sale sign in the Coulee. We didn't want our play house to be sold.
Another fun past time was climbing over the Garrison's fence to play in that wonderful garden (now the Ranier home) at 321 Wilson Avenue. Piano lessons were given at May Mancuso's home at 301 Wilson Avenue.
Nancy Shepherd Draughn grew up next door to us in the house where Joan and Jack Meyers now live. I was the flower girl in Nancy and Paul Draughn's wedding. My sister was a junior bridesmaid. Nancy had a large wedding party and the reception was held in their back yard. This was long before there was a swimming pool in there. When Mr. & Mrs. Shepherd moved to Lafayette, Judy Hickman and I would ride the Greyhound bus to spend the weekend with them.
Speaking of Judy again, we were very excited when the Gerard's built a swimming pool at 129 Pithon where Molly and Gus Quinn now reside. All we had to do was call and ask if it was okay for us to come use the pool. Mrs. G. never said no. There was a pool to swim in at The Paret's grandparent's house on Shell Beach Drive. This was when the younger Paret family lived at 1505 Griffith Street where Leslie Knox lives now. After the Baggett's moved to 101 Pithon Street they built a swimming pool too. That also added more kids to the neighborhood. It seemed like every other house had children. So, we had lots of playmates.
Another fun past time involved Mr. Noble's pile of leaves. In the far back corner of his yard at 211 Wilson Street (where Kathryn and Tom Filo live now) Mr. Noble's yardman would rake and gather all the leaves from their large lot. There was a tall wooden fence that we could climb over and jump into the leaf pile. We were easily entertained. And, usually always outdoors playing.
There were trees to climb, swings hung from the tree limbs and limitless fun alongside the coulee. Speaking of the coulee - that's where I went when I decided to run away from home. Perkins Point was overgrown with trees and weeds at that time. I could sit on the culvert and not be seen from the street. But, I got lonesome before I was missed. So, I went home.
Fourth Ward Elementary was a great school in a swell three story building. During my time at Fourth Ward there was one class for each grade. That big old building probably usually didn't have much more than 150 students, six teachers and a principal. Mrs. Stutes came once a week to teach French. Mr. Spinks came to teach music. Drew Park was our playground. That was hard to beat. Across the street was Gordon's Drug Store with it's soda fountain, The Flower Shop, New Drugs and some other small grocery store where we could buy penny candy.
When we were only ten years old, Judy and I could ride our bikes or walk to downtown. We could leave our bicycles at the American Press which was on Bilbo Street at the time. We would wander in and out of nearly every store. The we would take in a movie at The Paramount, The Lyric or the Pitt. As long as we were home in time for dinner - all was right with the world.
Borden's was closer to home. No one that ever frequented Borden's has ever forgotten how wonderful the ice cream cones, shakes and sundae's were. Lock Park across the street from that had those wonderful, really tall swings and slides that aren't permissible today. We could play from Barbe Court to Downtown. As we got older and went to Pearl Watson Junior High and Lake Charles High School - we could still walk to school or ride our bikes (if we missed the bus.) So our playground expanded from the lake front and Shell Beach Drive to include kids that had gone to other elementary schools and beyond.
Apparently, I could go on for days about growing up in Margaret Place. But, since I've waited to the last minute to write this, I better get it sent in. Please forgive my errors in punctuation and grammar. There are a couple of writers in our family. I am not one of them.