From the Fortress of Solitude
I have a special treat for you. My brother Kevin was kind enough to take some time this morning and write a few of his earliest memories from the time our small family lived in a modest duplex on Signal Heights in Rapid City, South Dakota.
We moved to Signal Heights in December 1959. Charles and Luella bought our duplex at 39 East Signal Drive for $14,900.00. The house payment was $96.00 per month. We rented out the other half of the duplex for $75.00 per month. Charles and Luella used their old trailer for duplex's down payment.
Kevin was born on June 30, 1961. Kim and I were both 3 years old at the time. Charles predicted his third born would be born on July 1. Mother went into labor on June 30. She called the State Highway Department and left a message for Charles to come to the hospital at once. Dad got the message, went home, showered, shaved, deodorized etc. He wasn't in a hurry. Had he not predicted July 1 would be the baby's birthday? He had the faith of Job in his predictions, therefore there was no reason to rush.
"Is your husband coming?" The hospital nuns asked Luella.
"He's coming, he's coming," Mother assured them.
She wasn't a happy camper when Charles finally arrived. Kevin was born at 7:00 P.M. Mother chose Kevin's name because Dad got to choose my name and Kim's.
Kevin was known as the mean "widdle kid". Charles remembers coming home from work one day finding four year old Kevin pushing his newborn sister Jilane in a stroller toward the edge of the hill. Charles and Luella got to them just in time. Two more steps and Jilane would have had the wildest ride of her life - much to Kevin's delight.
And now, Kevin's post on Early Memories from Signal Heights
1963 to 1966.
Vic and I were talking last week and I thought it might be an interesting idea to have more family members contribute to the ongoing history and saga that Vic has created. Don't get me wrong I don't think anyone in the family will ever be as eloquent with a pen as Victor, but let's face it, if Vic does all the talking, future generations are going to look at our history and think the rest of the kids never made it out of first grade! And since I had to open my big mouth, Vic jumped on the opportunity to self nominate me first up. So here I sit at 7:30 A.M. on a Sunday morning staring out my window at the Hollywood sign. And yes, in typical Williamson fashion, that means I put it off to the last minute!
This all started from Vic and I reminiscing about our FIRST MEMORIES and thus the topic was chosen. So here goes!
For those of you who don't know, Signal Heights was the housing subdivision in Rapid City where we lived from 1959 to 1965. There were at least 100 duplexes perched atop this hill on the eastern side of Rapid City. I was born in 1961 and I will start then....
6/30/61 ... Memories. None-on my end... but I was told I almost died due to the fact that the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck twice. I came out purple! Cool way to get the party started!
1963... I'm pretty sure that at about 2 1/2 years old I first started having real memories. In those early years the things around me played a crucial role of who I became. For the sake of time and my fear of boring everybody, I will break this down into categories.
1.Taste, Smell and Site .... One word "BIMBOS"!!!!!!!!
At the bottom of our hill sat this magical place where they made hamburgers that tasted like heaven!! This purveyor of tasty delight was called Bimbos! I know you're all asking yourselves why would Kevin bring this up as his first memory? Well let me tell you...First off, there was this big neon sign of Bimbo The Clown out front that fascinated me. Can you say Las Vegas!!
Secondly - the smell... You could be 3 miles from the joint and smell the deliciousness permeating through the more industrial side of town air.
And finally TASTE!! Sorry Mom but Bimbo The Clown had you beat hands down... How could anything be so delicious!! And it came wrapped inside a paper bag with this crazy looking half chef half clown on the front!!! And trust me, I would've gladly sold my newly born twin sister and brother (Janice and Jon) on a street corner for a Bimbo burger, fry and shake!!!
Sorry... Just keepin it real!!
Yeah that's right!! Cardboard!
Kids today got screwed with their iPods and video games!! I'm sorry, but nothing can beat a piece of cardboard, a grassy slope and gravity! Now this is where you separate the men from the boys. (The fore mentioned still applies to Kim). Just imagine this scene: it's a warm summer day, you walk to the edge of the hill where several neighborhood snotty nosed brats are staring at you with a look of skepticism. Kim, Victor and I know exactly what they're thinking. It's team Williamson. Are they bringing their "A" game today to the slopes? Nothing ever needed to be said because we were all about speed!! You see..we had a secret weapon - wax paper! It's all in the preparation and dedication.
We would get up early and wax the bottom of our Piggly Wiggly lettuce boxes until they would shine in the summer sun.. This would give us that added 7 mph average we needed to conquer the widow maker!! To this day, nothing can match the thrill of hurdling your body down a steep slope with nothing but an eighth of an inch of cardboard under your butt! Just don't hit a rock because that becomes a religious moment in speech restraint...trust me.
I have one song in my head that will never leave.. Roger Miller's
"KING OF THE ROAD" I truly believe that song is why I'm in the music business today. Dad played that song every day for months - and I still love it! Such a perfect melody, such perfect lyrics, such a perfect voice and such a perfect recording! That song instilled all those things in my head.
4. Transportation... The Mighty Rambler!!
Our car was a 1958 American Motors Rambler station wagon. That car taught me a very valuable lesson at an early age. Transportation was not a right, it was a privilege. Half the time driving those early cars was a crap shoot on whether you would make it there alive! Imagine having to get a head start at the hill to get your speed up so you might be able to make it to the top... I could be wrong on this, but I seem to remember people having to jump out of the car while it was still moving so we could make it! Sounds crazy, but to this day that car brings fond memories. I will save the story about the hole in the floorboard for another time.
5. "There's a Bull in the backyard Mom"!!
To some this might not sound strange because we lived in South Dakota. Trust me, we lived in a nice neighborhood on top of a hill in the middle of town. Somehow this bull got loose and ended up in our backyard running around and not very happy! At that age, nothing was more exciting and memorable than watching your mom run around yelling like a crazy person at this equally crazy bull!! Awe...The Midwestern memories.
I think that's enough out of me today. I found this to be a great exercise in going back and remembering things. I hope everyone will follow suit. Who's going to be next Vic??
Kevin Williamson 6/24/12