Chapter 6 Harold Brown Memoir – 1950

The lady’s at the school all thought I was wonderful and that made it unanimous.

It was a place of many firsts. My first hair cut, balloon, doll, toy gun, candy, and movie. It was my first town and I was afraid to cross the street with all those cars. Give me wild horses anytime!

We rented a room in what I know now was a run down hotel. My sister said that we were not able to use the bathroom, there was just one in the hotel, because a family of Mexicans had moved in.

We used a hot plate for cooking even though they were against the rules. We were evacuated one evening because someone fell asleep in bed and their cigarette caught the mattress on fire. Another first was seeing a fire truck with real firemen. The upstairs window was opened and the smoldering mattress was thrown from the upstairs room to the alley that separated the buildings.

Miriam told me many years later that Mother was very depressed about the circumstance that mom found herself in but was encouraged by how happy her baby boy seemed to be.

President Truman ordered U.S. forces to South Korea and General Douglas MacArthur was named the UN Commander in Korea. The United States sent soldiers to aid South Korea in the summer of 1950. The KoreanWar would continue until the summer of 1953. Garvis became part of that conflict. That war claimed 54,246 deaths. Get even with those that help you. Those that love you touch you even in their absence.

The National Council of Churches was formed. We went to church and Sunday School every Sunday. We stayed there long enough for mother to learn what she needed to know about fixing hair. Then we returned to Hamburg. Some Puerto Rican nationalists tried to assassinate President Truman. We are not going to be special to everyone, but we can be special to someone.

What a great day. A new place and many adventures were surely waiting for me in this place. That night I played so hard and was so thirsty that I drank several swallows of semi cool cooking grease. I was so sick that death would have been welcomed. The low point of my life. Everything got better from that moment on.

I discovered a soon to be friend next door. Glen Riles and I spent many hours playing together. He was about five years older than me but very patient with his new neighbor. He taught me how to catch a baseball. To have a friend you must be a friend. Self image just might be the single most important factor in performance.

Years later I purchased my first glove. It was a four fingered glove but I could catch anything that was hit to the outfield.

It snowed that winter but didn’t do that again for another ten years. We lived in a duplex with a bathroom that we shared with just one other person. It happened to be the woman that owned the house but what the heck, everybody loves a little redheaded boy. Well, most of the time.

Mrs Young was a music teacher that had outlived her husband. I am not sure which one was the luckiest! I thought her yard was a jungle and even though it wasn’t very big I never did explore all of the undergrowth during the four years that we lived there.

My brother joined the Air Force shortly after that. I worried so much about him. He didn’t take his rifle with him and that just compounded the problem. Mother said he would be all right without it. As it turned out she was correct but I just didn’t feel right about him fighting the Koreans without that twenty-two. “What if we don’t win” I would ask her and she would say, “Then they will come over here and rule this country”.

When I thought about that at night, sleep was hard to come by. “Communists were infiltrating the State Department”, Senator Joseph McCarthy warned us. The fear was compounded by the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese communist forces. We even passed laws that restricted communists and communist parties in the U.S. I always thought a party was a good thing.

Fear makes the wolf bigger. If you plant a seed the harvest will come.

Some mornings I would wake up and there my brother would be, sound asleep on the cot in the kitchen-bedroom. I wasn’t allowed to wake him. When I returned home from school he would be gone. Little brother was the last thing on his mind.

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