By Jeff Beck
My parents married late in life, thus I was raised as an only child in a small country farm home. Children to play with on 450 West were not available; lonesome for a child who was 10 years old. The road, 450 West, is the first road west of Bargersville off State Road 144. I always enjoyed the opportunity to visit cousins or attend a church function of my parents’.
Attending Bluff Creek Sunday School allowed time to play. I recall many hours riding a 24-inch western flyer bicycle to the end of the road south (300 N) turning around and starting over again. Remember adding a balloon or baseball card on your bike as items hit the bike spokes? Playing basketball by myself was also an activity enjoyed; again, no friends to share. My father farmed and had little interest in child’s play; maybe it had to do with his age. Living on a Farm provided time to hunt rabbits and squirrels, trap for muskrats, ride our horse (named Lady) or shoot crows with a 410-gauge shotgun from Montgomery Ward.
Fishing in the pond behind our home, owned by the Allen family, provided fun and oftentimes supper. Mr. Allen was a CGHS teacher, if my memory serves correct. I had chores, including mowing the lawn, garden work and helping load corn on Saturdays. Dad took me to Bargersville Farm Bureau Coop for grinding the corn into feed for the hogs. Dad always gave me 25 cents to spend at Weddle’s Pharmacy on candy or ice cream. A sack of candy from Weddle’s and coming home to watch Roy Rogers, Sky King and other westerns made Saturday mornings enjoyable. Learning to drive a three-speed manual shift Jeep was fun, driving many hours around my grandmother’s long driveway with a circle in front of the house. I have a vivid memory of the brakes failing and I drove into the hog lot; sorry, the gate did not survive.
Happier days were coming to 450 West. Frank and Velma Thomas sold two home building lots to families named Horton and Whitmore. Playmates my age were coming to 450 West. Basil and Glenna Briggs lived on 450 West, my grandmother and aunt in another, with the last home occupying the Mann brothers. Whitmore’s had opened the field south of their home location and made it into a baseball field and there were often lawn mower races on 450 West. Cars seldom traveled the road and if they did, people would honk and wave. Everybody knew each other during the 1950s and 60s. Did you know an Allis-Chalmers rear engine lawn mower goes faster backwards than a one rear tire mower owned by the Whitmore’s going forward? Horton’s home sat on the hill, thus there were many enjoyable hours sledding down, then the tough task of walking up, then down again we went. Mrs. Horton always welcomed the neighborhood kids inside with hot chocolate; then we went back out again enjoying the winter fun. I recall walking to Parker’s market to get bread/milk during the aftermath of a blizzard in the late 1960s.
The road was changing. A log cabin was built on Sawyer’s (Clore) farm for a family on the south end of road and the Thomas’s sold their last lot next to the Hortons. The Young family purchased a lot and moved in, with other homes being built in the past few years. Dad sold two acres for $3,000 in the early 1960s; times were changing. The dam failed on the pond behind our home during a very heavy rain storm; the pond was gone, allowing excellent fishing in the small creek north of our home for a few years. Walnut Woods Elementary is our newest resident on 450 West. My childhood home sold to a neighbor whose children would often come over to visit and help with outside tasks. My parents always said they wanted a neighbor family to have the first chance when a home sold to keep families together. A happy family purchased a home with the son and daughter starting homes of their own. This was a good memory. My parents would be happy. Money is not always the answer.
Memories of 450 West, I believe, have helped guide my life. I enjoy times of solitude, walking in the woods or spending a little time fishing. But I also enjoy time spent with family and friends and especially with my grandchildren. Having senior neighbors as friends growing up helped provide the love to those seniors my age. Visits to retirement and nursing homes continue to fill many hours of my retirement life, part of church ministry and my enjoyment. Yes, sharing my memories and learning those of new and former friends continue to provide great memories. It’s good to listen to those memories and sharing them if asked. While driving on Whiteland Road near Mallow Run Winery, maybe you have passed our old tools and wood carvings. This is the site we call Praise Acres; my family has been blessed in many ways. Praise Acres provides a home for wildlife and an occasional walk among the trees and creek. We have placed Praise Acres in a classified forest program, thus no more rabbit / squirrel hunting, preserving safety for wildlife. Signs at Praised Acres share its history; stop and read them sometime when you have a chance.
Dad always said there was a store, post office and community called Cincinnati just south of our home. I cannot find records of such a community, readers; do you have any memory or information? Don’t forget to date and sign the photos and letters.