The Second Time I Saw Kim – Kim is a Waltz Skater

Ah, the familiar skating sign in Hamilton

Ah, the familiar skating sign in Hamilton

I shared the story of the very first time I ever saw Kim, my wife, in the Thunderbolts story (read me).  That experience was very unusual and the memory that lives with me is very vivid.  This is the story of the second time I ever saw Kim.  We still did not know each other.  Likely she didn’t even know my name yet….but I knew hers. Continue reading

Being a Paperboy – Underwear, Life Cereal & Vampire Dogs

Life - Now it's a Bargain!

Life – Now it’s a Bargain!

We ate cereal for breakfast for as long as I was a kid; cereal, Cream of Wheat, oatmeal maybe from time to time, but I remember packaged cereal the most.  Life cereal was my favorite of all time.  On a few occasions, my dad might bring home some Rice Chex from where he worked but nothing stood up to the taste of Life for me.  My mom would never buy Life.  Apparently back in the day Life was a premium brand so we had to eat Cheerios – there’s nothing cheery about eating Cheerios when you want Life.  So one week I bought my own box of Life cereal with newspaper money and hid it in my bedroom from everyone else so that only I would be able to enjoy my hard-earned fruits of labor.  Another item I remember buying was a giant 10 pack of my own tighty whitey underwear.  Money was tight in our house (read me) and it felt good to not have to wash underwear every few days.  So I bought my own and then sewed in a little blue thread so as to not get confused with my brothers’ underwear.  Continue reading

Getting the Boys Snipped – Kevin had Great Hands

He could scoop up a ball like a Dyson

He could scoop up a ball like a Dyson

While growing up in the Prytania/Ridgelawn Alley in the 70’s, we played a heck of a lot of baseball. Speaking at least for all the boys, if you lived on our block, you played in the baseball games. I can only recall two boys in my age range who never played baseball in the pickup games and that was only because both were very interested in football and not baseball. On occasion kids, who were friends with one or more of us but not living on our block, would come in and play ball with us. This happened quite a lot because at least within a mile or so our block had quite a reputation for having a ball game going on every day in the small park up the street. One of these kids was named Kevin Campbell. If I remember correctly, Kevin was Tommy Mathews’ friend and I think he might even have played on Tommy & Rich’s Little League team, the team that the Mathews’ dad coached for.

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Rain or Shine, Snow or Sleet – Mail Delivers Memories

Pee Wee Always Gets his Mail

Pee Wee Always Gets his Mail

I used to imagine myself as a mailman.  I guess the proper term today is a mail carrier.  I just thought it would be a cool job to deliver parcels and letters from across the country or world to the doorstep of the recipient awaiting its arrival.  I still write personal checks to pay our bills.  I know I could do all of this over the internet and probably it is much faster, but the simple fact is that I enjoy mailing letters.  I enjoy going to the post office thinking about the fact that for a price of a postage stamp, (46 cents today), someone is actually going to physically carry and deliver my envelope across the country.  I also love looking out on my front porch to see if there are any packages that day and then the related walk to the mailbox.  Oh I know, most of my mail today is junk, but I still enjoy retrieving the junk mail, even if it’s to carry it immediately to the recycle bin. Continue reading

The Time I Almost Burned Down my School

The Junior High that Almost Wasn't

The Junior High that Almost Wasn’t

When I was a kid in junior high school, it was easy to get hurt at school. In metal shop we had access to any number of machines that could cut and bend galvanized steel into all sizes and shapes of poorly designed ash trays and in the process maybe lose a hand. In wood shop there were numerous saws, awls and a multitude of pointed and serrated objects capable of severing fingers as easily as it is to clip a fingernail with a pair of nail clippers. In drafting class we were loaned pointy pencils and compasses capable of putting out an eye just as easily as a Red Rider BB Gun.

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Prytania Boys will be Boys – Learning When and when NOT to Fight

I'm certain we were better looking than this motley crew

I’m certain we were better looking than this motley crew

This week’s “Remember the Time” writing theme is about rivalries – a time when I was involved in a sibling or some other type of rivalries.  So I got to thinking about this topic and decided that for the most part, girls have rivalries and boys take more assertive action.  We like order and we like knowing what our place is in the pecking order (read me).  Whether it be a display of superiority on the basketball court or football field or in war, we seem to have a natural tendency towards “settling the matter”.  I’m not saying it’s the best policy – in fact the world would be a much safer place if we all just learned to be a little more introspective like my buddy Emily  (read her) or more ‘live and let live’ like my buddy Kelly, (read her) but we boys are just wired differently than girls.  In the following story I attempt to share a slice of my own experiences with rivalries and fighting while growing up.  Continue reading

Thunderbolts & Rocket-arms – Prologue, An Introduction to my Wife

After 6 years when this story occurred, here we are - note she has me in her clutches

After 6 years when this story occurred, here we are – note she has me in her clutches

In one of my stories I will list all the crazy connections I’ve noted between my wife and me.  The story today is about the first time I ever saw Kim, now my wife. Continue reading

Thanksgiving – Good People & Good Times

This week’s “Remember the Time” theme is of course about Thanksgiving. When I consider the word ‘Thanksgiving’, I get a warm and fuzzy feeling and the first thing that pops into my mind is either deep fried turkeys in Phoenix with my family or of Grandmas & Grandpas, Aunts & Uncles and Cousins in Indiana.

The only known photo of the Raymond Thompson cousins - me up top holding my cousin Chad on shoulders

The only known photo of the Raymond Thompson cousins – me up top holding my cousin Chad on shoulders

While my mom and dad were married, (and even after she remarried), almost every Thanksgiving we would pack the station wagon up with clothes and kids, (and maybe bottles – read me), and head west from Hamilton, Ohio towards Vincennes, Indiana on good old US Route 50. When you hear the word California spoken, you automatically think of sunshine, beaches and crisp fresh air. You may not know this but Sacramento, CA is on the same line of latitude as Vincennes, Indiana and only 1 degree different for Hamilton, Ohio (mystery solved). So I have a beeline, (albeit a very long one), today from my home in California to my roots in ‘Hamiltucky’.

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