After a couple of stories about kids attempting to run away from home, here's one about an attempted parent exchange by disgruntled youths:

Joseph W. Berey, of Covington, says, "Perry A. Snyder, a frequent contributor to your column, and I have been friends since our preteen days in Hammond.

"Almost seven decades ago, as little guys, he and I were discussing the possibility of trading moms.

"We were about to present the idea to our moms when Perry insisted that I include my cowboy hat in the deal. I told him we could swap moms, but he was not going to get my cowboy hat.

"The deal fell apart at that point even before it reached our moms."

Suicide machines

Wanda Gee says, "All these memories of homemade toys sparked one of mine — of a homemade seated skate board.

"My dad took apart my roller skates, nailed two metal wheels to the front of a short board and nailed two to the back.

"But then he added a crosspiece on one end to act as a foot brace for my heels as I flew, seated on the thing, down the sidewalk, starting at the top of Main Street hill in Natchez, Mississippi.

"By the time I reached the bottom of the hill, negotiating loose gravel and cracked concrete, I was almost airborne. That is, provided I didn't wipe out at some point, a common occurrence. The rising ground at Arlington Avenue solved my braking problem.

"My parents didn't know how I was using and abusing my new homemade toy, as I concealed my bloody shins and scraped elbows quite well. What helmet? What elbow and knee guards? What mouth guard? Maybe we were foolish in the ’50s, but the thrill was worth the risk. Then, not now."

Which reminds me

Wanda Gee's mention of the Natchez hills reminds me of my early days there. We lived on Washington Street, on the side of a steep hill.

I had a "wheeled sled," which is the only way I can describe it — wooden slats mounted on wheels, with flat metal strips to control the front wheels as you rode it lying on your stomach. No brakes, of course.

I'd fly down the hill to the bottom, where an even steeper hill went up to Arlington — never was brave enough to try that one.

I don't recall any major crashes, and once we moved to Baton Rouge I discovered it was useless in the flatlands.

No-scooter zone

Nobey Benoit addresses a current column topic: "It's no wonder no one in my neighborhood ever engineered a foot-propelled scooter when I was a kid.

"No concrete driveways. No sidewalks. Only clam shell roadways." 

Mom's reach

Mary Taylor, of Baton Rouge, says one advantage of the Volkswagen Beetle convertible she drove in the early ’60s was that when her two kids were in the back seat, "the long arm of correction could reach both of them should fighting occur. And I could handle this without turning around!"

Special People Dept.

  • Marguerite Oubre celebrated her 95th birthday Monday, Sept. 9.
  • Jack Hartley, of Harahan, celebrates his 92nd birthday Tuesday, Sept. 10. He is a World War II Merchant Marines veteran, and an Army veteran of the Korean War, in the 8224th Engineering Construction Group.
  • Bill and Dot Knobloch, of River Ridge, celebrated their 68th anniversary Monday, Sept. 9.

Surviving gridlock

Kirk Guidry says my story about DWED — driving while eating doughnuts — "reminded me of when I was principal at Catholic High of Pointe Coupee and commuted from Baton Rouge to New Roads.

"On the Friday before Thanksgiving, the cafeteria staff gave me a half-dozen of their awesome cinnamon rolls wrapped in aluminum foil to take home for breakfast during the holiday.

"Heading back to Baton Rouge, I got in a traffic jam at the Interstate 10 bridge. I opened up the foil and began eating cinnamon rolls. By the time I reached the Baton Rouge side, I had eaten all six — what a sugar high!"

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.