I am now in the rabbit fur business! One Sunday, during a family dinner, I lamented the fact that I would like to find a way to make my own money. Oh, I got an allowance for doing chores around the house, but I wanted my own hard earned money.
Grandpa Barrett told the story of when he was a youngster in the Indian Territories, he and his Dad would trap for fur pelts. The popular furs then were mink, fox and muskrat. Nowadays, he said, the most used and in demand fur was rabbit. It is used in a variety of clothing including most all outer ware. Even Sears and Roebuck were buying rabbit furs now! Sounded like a good idea to me and to make the most profit, I would do my own butchering and hide tanning.
Grandpa helped me build several rabbit hutches, (that is I helped him), and he found a place to buy my starter rabbits. I bought the rabbit feed, bowls and straw with my allowance money. Now I just had to wait for nature to run its course!
While I was preoccupied with my new project, Mother had been writing and phoning Aunt Jin about a breed of dog Aunt Jin thought Mother might be interested in getting.
One weekend we drove up to visit Aunt Jin and we all went over to meet the breeder of these Great Pyrenees dogs. The Pyrenean Mountain Dog, known as the Great Pyrenees in North America, is a large breed of dog used as a livestock guardian dog. Males grow to 110–120 pounds and 27–32 inches, while females reach 85–100 pounds and 25–29 inches.
We all fell in love with the dogs and the puppies. Jin bought a female and we picked out a male. On the drive back home, the new puppy made himself right at home!
But, how would he be received by Tippy, the current alpha at home?
Mother checked out her French and came up with the American Kennel Club (AKC), registered name of King Beau Nevois De Wolff; which means, a kingly gentleman abounding in snow. We called him King Beau!
Nothing to worry about concerning Tippy`s dominance. They got along great and both knew who was the Alpha… for now anyway.
A big step up to the sophomore year at Pendleton High School! Carole was again a member of the Sunshine Society and was selected to be on the Varsity Cheerleading Squad.
I joined the Hi-Y Club which was the male counterpart to the Sunshine Society. The two groups put on a joint semi formal dance each year. But of course, that is not why I joined!
Somehow I was elected to serve as the Sophomore Class Secretary. This process began with an assembly of the class in the high school auditorium and the class sponsor conducted the meeting. Nominations were taken from the floor for the offices to be filled and these were posted on the bulletin boards located in the hallways.
There was no campaigning, but the classmates did discuss their options for a week and then we had another assembly. Ballots were distributed and the vote taken. The class sponsor collected and tallied the votes and then posted the results on the bulletin boards.
Carole Laws is in the third row from the bottom, second from the right.
The first order of business was selecting a class sweater design and color. We were the first class to shy away from the traditional color wheel selection options. We chose grey with white numbers outlined in red!
My class councilor helped me select a college prep course plan which included a study hall period. I opted for a shop class instead and for one of my electives I added a business math course.
With school all set and underway, I was anxious to sign up for my beginner`s driving permit. Studied the manual, filled out the paperwork and Mother signed me up. Boy was I a nuisance, wanting to drive everywhere!
Grandma Barrett still picking strawberries from their garden on October 9th that year!
Living out in the outskirts of town, Halloween trick-or-treating was not an evening that took a lot of time. With only five or six houses to visit, it didn`t take long. I never had a store bought costume, instead, Mother would create a clown, hobo, girl or other character with wardrobe and makeup! We also had to go inside the house and let the people guess who we were.
Now that I was older, Mother or Dad would drive me to Pendleton where I would meet my school friends downtown. We usually met at Tanke`s Drug Store. They had a lunch counter and soda fountain area where we congregated. Carole Laws had started working there and that was another good reason to go there!
Last year we learned about a high school Halloween tradition and this year we were going to participate! It seemed that just about nightfall, objects began showing up on the high school front lawn. You could see park benches, canoes, lawn chairs, farm wagons, outhouses, swing sets, trailers, dog houses, chicken coops, hay bales, wheelbarrows, farm implements, statues and even a goat tied out on the grass.
The town marshal would patrol the area and shine his car`s spotlight around and everyone would scatter. He would slowly head back to town and the items would keep multiplying!
At school, the following Monday, the farmers and townspeople would show up to claim their items and haul them back home. The school custodians, students from the various club activities and student volunteers would get everything back to normal. No harm, no foul!
Thanksgiving rolled around and Grandma Wolff, with some of the Barrett clan, joined us for Thanksgiving dinner.
Using the need for a picture for my “darkroom project”, I talked Grandma Wolff into sitting still in a rare photo! I was so anxious to capture the moment before she decided to move, that I Jerked the camera and didn`t get a sharp photo. Rats, she still won!
Another family dinner at the Wolff`s Den with all the fixin`s!
Dad continued his love of and fascination with audio electronics when he got his Hi-Fi amplifier and audio selector for Christmas!
We also found an upgrade model Kodak 8mm movie camera with a turret, three lens selection mount under the tree. This model also had a slow motion mode which moved the film much faster through the camera resulting in much less viewing time per roll of film.
Mother was still working at Trop-Arctic, which developed and produced environmental testing and control instruments. One of their clients was the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency. Early in January, a group from the agency came for a follow-up meeting with the Trop-Arctic engineers and staff to thank them for their contributions to the Explorer 1 project and Wernher von Braun was with them! No photographs were allowed, but Mother did get to meet and talk with him.
Walt Disney and von Braun, seen in 1954 holding a model of his passenger ship, collaborated on a series of three educational films.
As director of the Development Operations Division of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, Wernher von Braun, with his team, developed the Jupiter-C, a modified Redstone rocket. The Jupiter-C successfully launched the West’s first satellite, Explorer 1, on January 31, 1958. This event signaled the birth of America’s space program.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun (March 23, 1912 – June 16, 1977) was a German, later an American, aerospace engineer and space architect credited with inventing the V-2 rocket for Nazi Germany and the Saturn V for the United States. He was one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany, where he was a member of the Nazi Party and the SS. Following World War II, he was moved to the United States, along with about 1,500 other scientists, technicians, and engineers, as part of Operation Paperclip, where he developed the rockets that launched United States first space satellite and first series of moon missions.
Hoosier Hysteria began with the sectional tournament which was always held at the Anderson Wigwam. Back then there was not a class basketball system. When it came to the IHSAA Tournament, the pairings were strictly by random drawing. Remember the big excitement about tiny Milan winning it all?
This year we drew the Anderson Indians and all of Pendleton were trying to get tickets. We had a good team that had their first winning season in a decade and everyone was optimistic!
The original Anderson High School gymnasium was built in 1925 and burned to the ground later this year. At its peak, the Wigwam attracted 5,000 season-ticket holders to Anderson High School boys’ basketball games. The teams and the crowds measured up to the gym’s 8,996-seat capacity. That made the Wigwam the second-biggest high school gym in America, but Anderson athletic directors still found themselves testifying in divorce hearings over the custody of season tickets.
During sectional competition, the Irish lost a heartbreaking 58-57 game to Anderson`s Indians and tallied a spectacular 62% shooting mark from the field. By combining a semi-stall, a few fast breaks and their fighting spirit, the Irish had the Indians quite confused during most of the game. That was what Hoosier Hysteria was all about.
My school elective, Business Arithmetic, that I took this year proved to be a good choice. The teacher was the high school varsity basketball coach. At mid-term he congratulated me on receiving a perfect score on all of my quizzes and tests. Then he asked if I would be interested in being the team`s statistition and assistant student manager next year. I said I would do my best!
Dad`s mid-life-clock must have gone off this spring, because getting a new car was nothing unusual, but getting a flashy white with red interior convertible was! The new 1958, Chevrolet Impala convertible with the 348 cubic inch engine and 4 barrel carburetor and the new posi-traction rear differential was built for speed! Way to go Dad!
Dad moved the backup lights to below the trunk and made the taillights six red ones. Fender skirts were added along with dual glass-packed mufflers.
I began harvesting my rabbit pelts this spring. Grandpa taught me how to dress the meat and tan the hide mounted on a stretcher. Most of the meat was cooked and added to supplement the dog food. They really enjoyed that. After the hides cured they were shipped to Sears and Roebuck who would grade and price the pelts and mail me a check! That part I liked!
Some of the high school fads from this year!
Several of us guys signed up for dance lessons that were going to be taught in town by an instructor from Anderson. We finished our class just in time for the annual Sunshine Society and Hi-Y joint charity dance. It turned out that we all went stag, but still had a good time.
Mother and Dad ever improving and adding to The Wolff`s Den, built an arbor at the end of the walk and on the other side of the drive. They planted two of Mother`s favorite fragrant plants…honeysuckle vines on either side.
Mother and Dad always had a pot of coffee at the ready and Mother enjoyed setting on the front porch and relaxing with a cup.
I almost forgot about Cookie, the toy terrier. She got along with both dogs fine and they seemed to appreciate her size and were very careful with her.
Mother enjoyed wearing Indian moccasins whenever she could.
School was winding down and one of the school classes sponsored a sock hop that was held in the school gym. The popular disc jockey from the Indianapolis radio station WIBC spun the platters.
Dad drove me to town to take my driving and written tests for my permanent driver`s license. One of the biggest days in my life and I passed the requirements!
A few days later I was totally blown away
when Dad brought home a 1951, Chevy Fleetwood sedan and said it was mine. Happy birthday !!
I had just turned 16 and this was Dad`s 15th car! Most of my classmates already had their driver`s licenses, so I had to drive to Pendleton that evening and hang out with the guys at the local gas station hangout or Jimmie`s Dairy Bar. It was like a new episode of “HAPPY DAYS”!
Grandpa and Grandma Barrett were enjoying their garden produce and their many flower beds!
Mother and Grandma would devour the early nursery catalogues and plan their orders for the new varieties or colors to add to their painting pallet. Grandma loved her hybrid roses!
The garden kept them both busy and Grandpa was selling produce at his roadside stand as fast as he could harvest it. He wished he had a bigger garden!
Many of the strawberries, blackberries and raspberries were frozen and kept for winter desserts. We loved the family dinners!
Sweet onions, white onions, potatoes and tomatoes were best when eaten right out of the garden!
Mother enrolled King Beau in the puppy obedience class in Pendleton and of course he was the biggest puppy there!
I had taken Tippy to a couple of dog shows in the area and he seemed to enjoy the outing, but I still had to deal with his obsession with wanting to be in control of his environment. He would really rather be home surveying his domain.
Note the tall TV antenna mast at the end of the carport. Indianapolis now had several TV stations broadcasting from various locations around town and a new independent station broadcasting from Bloomington. If we wanted a sharper picture when we changed channels, someone would have to go outside and turn the TV mast until the signal lined up. Guess who got that job?!
Shortly before school was about to begin, a big Barrett family reunion was held and I photographed it for posterity!
Left to right: Marvin & Gerrie Wolff, Jim & Jin Prevo, Jay & Dot Barrett, Fred Scarcelli & Grandma, Marg & Walt Schemmer, Grandpa & May Scarcelli.
Really excited about finally getting to drive to school and not at all going to miss the hour long bus ride! Yahoo for a driver`s license!