MARK’S ARTICLE -- September 7, 2009
“Rooftop view of a small town”
ROOFTOP -- I’m telling you right now, if that cloud goes away we’re climbing down from here. I can’t believe it’s mid-afternoon and we’re on the roof. Wild and crazy is what I am.
One of earlier pictures of Mom and Dad.
I felt the need to get outside after reading Mom’s history. It was something we talked her into writing before she passed. Figured it would be so much easier to write than after she passed. I’m the one who thought that up.
I was re-reading what Mom wrote in research for the book I’m hoping to write about Dad. Dad didn’t leave a history. He died way too soon. No one thought to ask.
The reason Mom’s stories made me want to go outside is because of all the small town activities she wrote about. There’s something about small towns that make people want to gather outside.
Mom wrote of carnivals at the end of Walnut Street. There was a time when I enjoyed carnivals. That was when I was just a kid, too stupid to know better.
Having said that, if I lived in Bristow, Oklahoma, I would welcome a carnival. You really had to dig for fun things to do in that town. A carnival might give you another reason for prolonging life for at least one more day.
Mom said that a roller rink was set up at the carnival site. She didn’t mention if it was inside a big tent. I just assume it was.
Hey, look down there beyond the big oak. I can see Mom at the carnival walking with two of her sisters. Can you see ‘em? That’s part of the allure of the rooftop. Things come into focus so much better up here.
Mom (In front) and Paulene in California during the war. Dad was building ships.
See? There’s Paulene, Vera and Mom walking by the weird mirror thing. Each of ‘em has a candied apple. They’re about to—Beg pardon? Oh, sorry. Didn’t mean to freak you out. If Big Al were here, he’d have pushed me off the roof long before now. Let’s move on.
Do you know what kids did on Halloween back in Mom’s day? She mentioned it in her history. They didn’t trick or treat, ‘cause it hadn’t come to Oklahoma yet. I believe a kid tried it in 1933, but it didn’t turn out well. Dressed up like a hula girl. What an idiot.
Anyway, instead of going door to door and begging for candy, the kids went budding. I had never heard of it either. Seems the kids would go to houses in the neighborhood and pick their flowers. That sure sounds cruel, but that’s what they did. Mom lived during some weird times with weird people. In fact, I fear she was one of ‘em. Once again, Bristow, Oklahoma. What are you gonna do?
Whoa! The cloud just left us. Tell you what, let’s move down to the lower part of the roof and get in the shade of the tallow tree. Here, let me help you. There you go. We’re on an incline here, but we’re safe. I’m safe. Your chair is still a bit tipsy. There, that’s better.
Of Thanksgiving, Mom wrote that after the big meal, the family went to the football field to watch the Bristow Purple Pirates play. I can’t believe they made high school kids play football on Thanksgiving Day. I imagine they only did it ‘cause televised pro football hadn’t been invented yet. Food alone is not enough to salvage Thanksgiving. There needs to be some sport involved. Preferably one with tackling.
Mom didn’t mention anything about chinaberry fights. I know they had ‘em ‘cause we saw plenty of trees during our summer visits with Grandma and Grandpa. I thought of the chinaberries ‘cause of the Chinese tallow tree here. Don’t pick the little green drupe thing. It’s—See, I told you not to pick it. It’s got that milky sap in it. Sticky as all get out, isn’t it? Well, I told you. No way can you have a good fight with tallow berries. You’ll end up a sticky mess.
No, we’ll climb down in a few minutes. You can wash up then.
Mom may not have mentioned chinaberries, but she did write about the birth of her kids. I mention it now, ‘cause it was the only part of her history where I was mentioned.
Mom said that Lynda’s birth was a real pain. Lynda was doing the feet first thing, and the doctor messed up one of her feet trying to straighten her out. But, the doc made a wooden shoe for her that he taped to her foot. The foot turned out all right.
Larry was born in the house. The doctor and his nurse came over and birthed him one snowy January evening right there on the table. Larry will tell you he remembers the experience, too. What a goober.
Susan was Mom’s best baby. She, too, was born at home with the Doctor and his wife present. Mom said that as a child Susan didn’t care if you held her or not. It was all the same to her. All I know is that when I came on the scene, Susan didn’t like for us to touch her. She’d knock the fire outta ya. Susan liked me before I could talk. However, here she's picking my pockets. (That's a joke, Sue!!) That's big brother Dennis sitting left.
Dennis was the easiest birth and the prettiest baby. Dad was actually the one who said he was pretty. Dennis was delivered by a chiropractor. The one kid with the least flexibility was birthed by a chiropractor. Try to figure.
When Jill was born, a friend of Mom’s put her in a yellow dress. A nurse carried her up and down the hall showing her off. Jill, not Mom.
Mom said she was talking out of her mind most of the night after Alan was born. I think that had a bad effect on him. I just do.
Of her number three son (that’s me) Mom just wrote, “Mark was born in a hospital on Jackson. He was coming feet first, but the doctor turned him around.” That’s it. That’s all she had to say. I guess the most important thing to note about my birth was the fact that I was the first Hayter not born in Bristow, Oklahoma.
You’d think that’d make me less weird. At least I don’t go around picking people’s flowers. Right outta their yards. That’s just mean.
Okay, okay, enough already! Go down and wash your hands. I’m gonna stay awhile and watch when Mom first met Dad. Mom and her girlfriend were walking down that dirt road right over there, and…
You can contact Mark at email@example.com.