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The Toy I Did Not Get by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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My Chilhood Lesson On Credibility And Integrity

 

The Toy

I Did Not Get

LT UHURA ACTION FIGURE_resized

Lt. Uhura

This Lieutenant Uhura “toy” is one I bought in the Branch Exchange at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. I am a “Trekker.” I was one of those American kids that fell in love with “Star Trek” from the first episode when it aired. I never had G.I. Joe action figures, but, I did have a “Captain Action” action figure. Have you ever noticed when a boy has a toy person that toy is called an “action figure” and when a girl has a toy person that toy is called a “doll” ? Of the swell and nifty toys that I had in my childhood there is one I never got for Christmas. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Twice in my childhood I did not get the toy “I really wanted.”

 

Being an “only child” made me “fortunate” and “spoiled.”

 

The first instance was my fault. The second instance was “an age requirement issue ?”

 

Momma had the 1960 Chevrolet Impala packed and parked in the driveway in Houston. She had some tasks to perform in the house. I was playing in the yard, with the next door neighbor’s children.

 

The Pedal Patrol

 

At the time, I had a pedal car, a pedal tractor and a tricycle that the three of us could ride and drive. The other two children choose the pedal vehicle they wanted to ride. I rode on the tricycle.

 

Our driveway was a slender ribbon of concrete squeezed in by the side of the house to the cyclone fence on the property line. If you tried to ride past a car or pickup in the driveway on a tricycle or pedal vehicle you had to be careful not to chip off part of one of the white shingles of the house or scratch the automobile.

 

The three of us did well . . .to a point.

 

We had rode up an down the driveway. We could race around on the wide driveway area, in front of the garage, but we had to carefully ease by between the automobile and the house on the driveway.

 

There was a wider section of driveway at the back of a parked automobile that extended to the two closed cyclone fence gates, but the width of the drive way was still narrow.

 

An incident occurred. I made a bad decision. I did not tell my mother.

 

The neighborhood kids went home for dinner and I knew we would be on the road to Missouri soon.

 

Toy Texaco Trucks

 

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, toy companies were still manufacturing and selling tin and metal toys like trucks and jeeps.

 

Samuel E. Warren, my father, was a regular customer at Fikes Texaco, just a few blocks from our house. Whenever Mr. Fikes got a new toy from Texaco he would call my dad. Texaco had some beautiful tanker trucks.

 

Daddy had bought me a plastic Texaco tanker ship, the S.S. North Dakota. Unfortunately, it sunk in “The Wild Warren Sea”,one of the farm ponds on our land.

 

I had better luck keeping my fleet of toy trucks ship shape.

 

The nice thing about the trucks is they were of a size and scale that you could sit in the yard or on a drive way and roll them. The trucks that had trailers had doors that would open and you could put other toys in the trailer to haul,

 

They were tin pressed or metal trucks, so you might knock some paint off of them, but you weren’t going to break them. You could switch the trailers with the cabs to create different looks and payloads.

 

By the 1980s, some toy companies decided to add batteries to the metal trucks that would create “The Engine Sound”, a horn, and the backing up whine of a real semi tractor trailer truck. But, these innovations came around the 1980s. In the 1950s and 1960s, kids, we used our imaginations to create the special effects.

 

Southwest Missouri Ozarks Trucker

 

Ray Glidewell, a friend of momma and daddy’s,was the livestock trucker that I knew in my childhood. He had a semi, with a huge, shiny, silver, double decker livestock trailer. Sometimes he would park his rig, near our house to visit Mom and Dad.

 

I would watch him get in the cab of the semi. In his straw cowboy hat and wearing cowboy boots, he would sit high up on the seat, reach out and slam the door.

 

The holler shaking groan of the semi’s engine would echo through the trees and the massive long livestock trailer would ease along the state highway into the night.

 

Highway 13

 

Mr.Glidewell would often drive a semi along Missouri’s “Old Highway 13,” between Reeds Spring and Galena. It was a dangerous stretch of highway because it was a narrow two lane highway with sharp curves and deep hollers that appeared first on one side of the road and then on the other.

 

The Old Timers of Stone County, Missouri would joke,”You drive a Volkswagen Beetle on the sharp curves of Highway 13 and the rear end will come around and kiss the front end on those curves.”

 

In the driveway in Houston or in the driveway of Galena, my little boy’s imagination always allowed Mr. Glidewell to drive one of those metal toy trucks over old crooked Highway 13 and across America.

 

I loved my metal toy trucks.

 

Night Road Through The Boston Mountains

 

Momma and I had been on the road now a few hours. The bad thing is we were coming into the Boston Mountains in Arkansas.

 

In the 1960s, the road around the Boston Mountains was a narrow two lane road with drastic drop off on either side. Once the sun went down, usually the fog would start to rise. The fog in the Boston Mountains was a wall of gray that headlights sometimes found hard to penetrate.

 

Dangerous Drive

 

One time, I remember Momma tried for awhile to turn the lights on, roll the window down and stick her head out of the window to try and see the white line on the shoulder or the center line. Fortunately, she didn’t do it too long because she said it was to hard to try to hold the steering wheel even with her long arms.

 

The headlights did not shine through the fog. You could see the beams travel to the fog and then they spread upward like a loose light brown sheet on a laundry line.

 

The car literally crept inches forward in the still night.

 

FEAR” was the capital four letter word that consumed my body as I inched nearer my mother on the car seat. It was a still night, No stars. No moon. For once, there where no semi tractor trailer trucks moaning toward you from the total darkness.

 

I didn’t relax until she eased the car over on to a wide shoulder and decided we would have to wait for a break in the fog to continue on.

 

The Decision

 

This night, I looked at the lights knob by the steering wheel. Twilight was fading fast into night, Before long, Momma would pull out the lights knob for the headlights,

 

When she did a driver’s side headlight did not come on. We stopped at a gas station. The gas station had a neat “Fillup the Billups” metal tanker truck. I asked Momma about the toy. She looked at it.

 

The Confession

 

Then, the mechanic came back and told her what I did not. The headlight had gotten busted out. She looked at me. The mechanic went ahead and repaired the headlight. I told Momma what had happened. I did not get the toy.

 

I did learn a lesson,

 

Rat Fink

 

Damage to an automobile is more important than protecting a neighborhood kid from possible punishment.

 

In the 1950s and 1960s, kids would warn other kids not to “rat them out” or be “ a stool pigeon” or “a rat fink.” It was a bad game kids played. Obviously, no one wanted to be a “rat fink.” so you kept your mouth shut.

 

Lesson Learned

 

The childhood incident taught me to be aware of the people you socialize with and work with, so you don’t get in a situation where you might be tempted to protect someone who has done something wrong.

 

I didn’t get the toy truck, but I did learn a valuable lesson about credibility and integrity.

 

Merry Christmas !

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
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Written by samwarren55

December 25, 2012 at 6:16 PM

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