Series Part 9 – Extracts from Dickeyville Days memoirs

By Bill Bartlett

Memories from Bill(y) Bartlett

The snowball story sparks some memories…except we used mud balls and threw them at busses (to start). We quickly graduated to cars and trucks.

One of the stories that sticks in my memory has to do with the storm drain that emptied into the Gwynns Falls below the dam. We spent hours playing around in the pools of water down there looking for crawfish. We discovered that we could crawl into the storm drain pipe and under Wetheredsville Rd. We explored the storm drain system for several days, venturing deeper and deeper into the pipes that ran under Wetheredsville Road past Tucker Lane and up to Pickwick. One day our mothers could not find us…but they could hear our giggles and shouts echoing up from the storm drains at Pickwick and Wetheredsville. They stood at the storm drains yelling at us to “get out of the sewer.” They met us when we emerged from the drain pipe near Wetheredsville and Cottondale Lane. I always felt like I had been raised by every mother in the village, and that day, it seemed like they were all there to meet us.

Dickey Memorial Presbyterian Church was a playground for us. We found ways to break into the sanctuary and fellowship hall and spent countless hours in there. Seems we had a lot of fun sledding down the hill behind the fellowship hall. One time we got four or five kids on a toboggan and sailed down the stairs and through the undercroft. Looking at that hill now, I can’t imagine the thrill we were seeking. It’s a pretty tame hill.

The big fun was sledding down Sekots when it iced over and running off into the snow in the vacant lot at the bottom of the hill. I remember being afraid to go alone. One of the ‘big kids’ in the neighborhood took me on his sled. The ‘big kids’ were Andy Crosby, Dougy Rose, Hoppy Hopkins, etc. who were probably 12 or 13 at the time. You know, older and wiser than me. I remember two-man sledding front-and-back and also double-decker style. It probably was nowhere near as death-defying as I imagine it was, but I keep thinking I was just inches and seconds from a cracked skull.

The best memories are really of the people and friends we had. I spent a lot of time around the Soud boys. We got into all sorts of trouble, including for the mudballing I mentioned. We managed several direct hits on one guy who drove a Mustang. He jumped out of his car and gave chase. We escaped to the safety of the church until we saw him circling through the neighborhood. He somehow got Mrs. Soud to come out of the manse, probably because he was driving up and down the street cursing and swearing that he was going to hunt us down and kill us. Mrs. Soud found us in about 30 seconds, cowering in a church bathroom. I remember facing him in the street. The scowl on Mrs. Soud’s face is indelibly etched into my memory…as were the muddy splats on that poor man’s car. I still remember the thud they made on impact. I have no idea what I was thinking, but I’ll blame it on the ‘big kids’ who started with the snowballs…bb

By Bill Bartlett

Editor’s note: Please check back each Sunday to the Dickeyville Village blog to read extracts from the Dickeyville Days memoirs – a compilation of memories from previous Dickeyville denizens reflecting on a childhood spent growing up in the village during the 1940s, 50s, & 60s.  We hope you enjoy their stroll down memory lane.