My Ninth Year – 1963 – 1964 Writing for Posterity and Having a Ball!

If you’re just checking in to this series of posts, I had a crazy idea about a week ago of trying to write about one year in my life for each day before I turn 60 in late October. As you might expect, it is a time-consuming proposition and it feels very self-centered (well – because it is) but as my husband said at dinner tonight – “you’re writing for posterity.”

I was struggling with what I should do when there isn’t much I remember about a particular year and whether I should write shorter posts for those years. I think the answer is yes, but that’s when my husband made the “writing for posterity” comment. His point is that there is no way to know what someone in the future might find interesting so I shouldn’t worry too much about how mundane something may seem. If I remember something I should write it down. So however quirky or disjointed these recollections may seem – for posterity’s sake I plod on.

In the fall of 1963 I started second grade at a new school in Nana’s school district in Chesterfield County – G H Reid Elementary School. I think it might have been brand new when I started there. I can remember the cafeteria/auditorium and the wide halls. I remember where the busses let us off and where I walked each day to catch the bus (one street over through Nana’s and her back yard neighbor’s yards.) There was a truck that sold candy parked in the driveway where we waited for the bus. I think the person with the candy truck really lived there but it sure was a convenient location for some early morning business. Can you imagine a truck full of candy at your school bus stop?

My mother used her GI bill benefit to make the down payment for the house at 906 Kingsway Road, where Nana, Buck and Kenny lived. Nana and Buck made the monthly payments and at some point Mom signed the house over to them. That house was the hub for all family events and holiday meals. Nana transformed an empty cookie cutter subdivision lot into a magical garden where my love of gardening took root. She grew vegetables, roses, a variety of trees and shrubs, but my favorite by far was her iris garden – row upon row of tall bearded iris in every color imaginable.

So 1963 was a year of stability in my life. Mom and Dad were both working and we were living together in Richmond. I gave up horseback riding to start a new sport – bowling. Does anyone bowl nowadays? I was curious about the popularity of bowling so I did a quick google search and found this article. Click here for more than you probably want to know about bowling!

NEWSFLASH – bowling’s popularity has declined steadily since its heyday in the 1960s.
But here’s a bit of trivia that will make you the envy of all your friends at your local bar’s Trivia night:

“In 1964, “bowling legend” Don Carter was the first athlete in any sport to receive a $1 million endorsement deal ($7.6 million today). In return, bowling manufacturing company Ebonite got the rights to release the bowler’s signature model ball. At the time, the offer was 200x what professional golfer Arnold Palmer got for his endorsement with Wilson, and 100x what football star Joe Namath got from his deal with Schick razor. Additionally, Carter was already making $100,000 ($750,000) per year through tournaments, exhibitions, television appearances, and other endorsements, including Miller, Viceroys, and Wonder Bread.”

Well no wonder my mother encouraged me to bowl! And like so many engaged parents today – she volunteered in a BIG way. Other than school, bowling became the most important activity in my life for the next ten years.

My First Bowling Article in the Richmond Times Dispatch - Jan 1964
My First Bowling Article in the Richmond Times Dispatch – Jan 1964

I started out standing at the foul line and swinging the ball a few times and letting it go. Sometimes it went in the gutter but with practice that happened less and less often. (I’m not a big fan of the current approach of using inflatable bumpers to keep the ball out of the gutter.) I actually got pretty good when I was pretty young and bowling provided a huge boost in my self-esteem.

Since bowler would be an appropriate adjective for so many years of my life I think for this my ninth year I will use the adjective – iris afficianado.

Just how I remember Nana's iris garden - BEAUTIFUL
Just how I remember Nana’s iris garden – BEAUTIFUL

3 thoughts on “My Ninth Year – 1963 – 1964 Writing for Posterity and Having a Ball!

  1. I agree with Rick – if you don’t write it down, who will? And just like you enjoy reading Papa Joe’s journals, I’m loving reading your stories. Keep writing, Kalen. It’s delightful!


    1. Thanks Peggy-

      The project is certainly giving me the discipline of writing every day but it hasn’t gotten me over the internal critic who reads back over a post and wonders “who wants to read this?”


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