Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Over The Hill Bell Gang

From age 7 until age 14 I lived on Manget Street in Marietta. Manget Street is the western border of Larry Bell Park.

Larry Bell Park is mostly a park for sports. It has Little League baseball fields, other ball fields such as soft ball, Pony League, T-Ball, also tennis courts, and a auditorium which can also serve as a basketball gym.

Our house on Manget Street overlooked all this.

In the basement of the old auditorium was a bowling alley and a pool room, ran by a man named “Pop” (of course). Outside was a swimming pool.

Pop’s last name was Smith. He knew my dad and his brothers well and liked me. But he still wouldn’t let me play pool because I wasn’t old enough. Pop lived around the corner from us. When his son’s marriage broke up his two sons from Florida moved in with Pop. The oldest son, my age, was Jimmy. We were friends until Jimmy returned to Florida after he graduated from high school.

The old auditorium was destroyed by fire and a new one was built. Now, I don’t think there is a bowling alley or a pool hall in the basement and although there is no pool just out the door in the back, there is an inside pool on the grounds where the Hood family lived. Mr. Hood maintained the whole 50 acres by himself and part of the pay I think was he and his family lived in the park’s only dwelling.

The new auditorium is named the Romeo Huggins Memorial Auditorium named after my Little League coach.

Al Bishop was the manager of the park in my day. He had a big belly but moved about very quickly when he sensed trouble.

Larry Bell Park was named after Larry Bell, the CEO of Bell Bomber Aircraft which eventually became Lockheed. I don’t know but I suspect Bell Helicopters are a product of Bell Aircraft.

Larry Bell Park was sort of in the social center of a low income area of Marietta. A social center on “the other side of the tracks”. There were fights from time to time of some one with an inflated ego.

I broke my arm in the auditorium falling off the bleachers during a Wednesday night professional wrestling match.

A couple of years ago I talked to an old friend of mine, who was down and out, about the old Bell Gang.. His name was Orville Carruth. I have mentioned him more than once. Orville died last year.

Orville told me the first weekend of October the Bell Gang has a reunion at a local American Legion Post. Since he told me I have twice read of the get together in the local newspaper. Each year when I read it I regretted it slid by me. I would like to go and see some old acquaintances and carry my camera.

Which I had a couple of fights with some of them and I just hope bygones are bygones.

Yesterday I called the American Legion and asked if they had the Bell Gang’s annual reunion scheduled and they said Yep, this coming Saturday from 1:00pm to when. It will outside where they will be cooking a pig.

This might be traumatic to see this bunch of old men and the last time I dealt with them they were in their teens. I need to go for mind exercise if nothing else.

It will preoccupy my mind for days and days afterward I’m sure.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Suzanne said...

You should definitely go.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

You should definitely go.

10:23 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Suzanne,
I will probably break out of my hermit mode and go... I make exceptions when people I grew up with are involved.

10:44 AM  

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