When I was one I'd just begun;
When I was two I was nearly new;
When I was three I was hardly me;
When I was four I was not much more;
When I was five I was just alive;
But now I am six and happy as a king;
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever!

A. A. Milne

Welcome to my Living Room

When my Aunt Arline moved to Fort Worth, Texas from Washington, D.C. in June of 1995, she immediately determined that I needed a Santa Claus costume. She purchased a pattern, selected fabrics and got busy on her sewing machine. You can see my Santa costume in the picture below.

Each Christmas Santa now descends, with his bag of gifts, down the chimney and out through the fireplace on the south wall of the living room as can be seen in the picture below.

Everyone here loves a roaring fire on a cold day.

The day I burned the field down

When I was six years old, during world war two, my father was a first lieutenant and paymaster at an army-airforce base near Pratt, Kansas. One evening dad and I had a very, very serious talk in the Living Room.

Earlier that day, a five-year-old playmate and I decided to roast some potatoes. I got some potatoes and he obtained some matches from the kitchen. We then proceeded to put the potatoes on top of an old metal bucket and to light a fire under it. I forgot to mention that Kansas is a very windy state, and before long there were little bonfires all over the vacant lot where we were roasting potatoes.

Soon Glenn's mother called the fire department. In the confusion and chaos we were nowhere to be found. Glenn and I hid under my bed which was upstairs on the second floor. Dad was called home from the base. He looked around for us, and tiptoed up the stairs and saw us huddled under the bed. He returned downstairs and announced in a loud voice: "The authorities think the fire was started by two small boys. The FBI has been sent for and they are now searching houses in this block."

That evening, my father sat in his favorite easy chair in the Living Room and placed me before him on the hassock. He said to me: "John, we have a problem. Do you know that when you two boys burned down that field today you burned down one of the Telephone Company's Telephone Poles. Now here is the problem. Either your poor dad is going to have to pay the Telephone Company twenty-five dollars or you are going to have to go to jail for a few weeks. Now I know that you don't want your poor father to have to pay out all that money."

We concluded the evening with an agreement. Dad agreed to pay the twenty-five dollars and I agreed not to burn down any more telephone poles.

Glenn [left] & John - May 1945

Little Glenn Gets a Spanking

When we misbehaved, Glennís mom would call us inside and for punishment make us sit in separate chairs at opposite ends of the Living Room. Then she would announce: "Stay in those chairs", as she returned to her chores in the kitchen. Every now and then, when Glenn was satisfied that his mom was busy, he would get out of his chair and creep close to the door near the kitchen; he would face me and laugh. Upon hearing a noise he would hurry back to his chair. Each time he left his chair he would get closer to the kitchen door before rushing back. Finally when he got all the way to the door, I shouted out loud: "Glenn is out of his chair." His mother rushed in and caught him. She took him to the center of the Living Room, lowered his trousers, and administered a rather strong switching to his bare bottom. Glenn cried like the little kid he was. I thought the situation was kind of neat. Strangely enough, Glenn and I remained friends. Over the years I had a lot to learn about how to treat friends.

The Day I Beat Up Tommy Tucker

When I was about seven years old my mother was dying of a rare form of Cancer of the Liver so I was sent to live with my aunt Bernice in Oak Park, Illinois. One day, after just hanging up the telephone, my aunt rushed into the Living Room and said to me in astonishment: "John -- You just beat up Tommy Tucker."

Earlier that day I had been playing with a few kids of my age. One of them was a bully named Tommy Tucker. He beat up all the kids in the neighborhood from time to time. All the kids were afraid of him. Well -- he was a rather chubby kid and he was sitting on my chest. I could hardly breathe. I struggled to get loose. In the process I was swinging my arms in all directions. I must have hit his lip in the process because all of a sudden he screamed, got off me, and ran home crying. Lips bleed like noses; blood was everywhere.

The news spread rapidly around the neighborhood: "Morgan beat up Tommy Tucker." I was a hero.

Little John Runs Away From Home

I must have been about six years old. For some reason I was very angry; rules seemed to fence me in from all sides. Suddenly I blurted out: "I am going to run away from home." Dad replied that If I wished to leave, I was free to go; he added that he would be happy to walk me down to the bus stop. I hadn't figured that far ahead but it seems to me that such a course of action would be appropriate. I ran from the Living Room to my Bedroom where I began scooping up all the toys I could find putting them into a suitcase. "Aren't you going to take any clothes?" my father asked. "No!" I replied.

As we departed by way of the front door my father said, "Here, let me carry your bag." We walked to the bus stop around the corner and waited. The bus came in short order, pulled over to the curb, opened it's door, and waited. Dad then said to me, "Of course you can return home and live with us but you must follow our rules." At that moment I thought it was a marvelous bargain and hugged my father. The bus drove away.

Lets Go fly a KiteÖ

While we were living in Pratt, on a couple of occasions, my pop would gather some balsa wood, old newspapers, glue, and rags in the Living Room. He would proceed to make one of the best flying kites known to mankind. They were not as pretty as the store bought kind but they sure could fly well. We would then take the kite outside and lean on the fence. On the other side of the fence there was a vacant field that seemed to extend to the end of the world. I distinctly remember one of those days when the wind was sure and cool. The sun was warm and the kite sailed above that vacant lot. The smells and sounds of nature were all around.

It was on that day at the tender age of six when I had as close to a born again experience as I have ever had. I felt my self awareness keenly and thought: "God, I am a little kid and havenít been on this planet long, and know next to nothing about anything but I have a wonderful life, an excellent family and all the stuff of living is marvelous and splendid. I intend to fully live this life and do what is expected of me to show my appreciation and thanksgiving."

Which of these short essays did you like best?
The day I burned the field down
Little Glenn Gets a Spanking
The Day I Beat Up Tommy Tucker
Little John Runs Away From Home
Lets Go fly a Kite
I didn't like ANY of your stories

Your anonymous response will reach me.