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Leftover Somerville Memories

Corky Cummings


Remembering things that are of no importance is one of the few things that I do well. As I have written in previous essays for oldartguy.com, growing up in Somerville created a lot of fond memories. Following are some that I still get a laugh out of when I reminiscence about my younger days. 

There was an alley near our house that ran from the Wight’s to a street near the football field. One day Harry B. Humphries, Timmy Edwards, and Woodson Hughes put a pack of firecrackers in George Wight’s back pocket and lit the fuse. I will never forget George running down the alley toward his house hollering for help and trying to extinguish them by slapping on his rear end.  As dangerous as that was, it always seems funny when I think about it now.

Another firecracker incident occurred one New Year’s Eve when Larry Joe “Choc” Lewis, George Moravec, Stevie Miller, and I were riding around in Tommy Schroeder’s car (affectionately known as “the bomb”) throwing lit firecrackers out the windows. Schroeder and Choc were in the front seat and the rest of us were in the back with a bunch of firecrackers loose in a box that George was holding. Choc threw one out the window and somehow it came back into the car and landed in the box. The three of us in the back seat were frantically trying to get out of the car while Choc was having probably the best laugh of his life. We escaped unharmed but our hearing wasn’t good for a couple of hours. 

My mother had a good friend named Alice Houston and they frequently went shopping together in Bryan. Alice would always drive because they never knew if my mother’s car would make it that far. Alice was a notoriously slow driver and also a little irreverent. She never hesitated to tell you what she was thinking. One day they were traveling between Snook and Bryan and Alice was driving at her normal slow pace.  My mother asked her if there was a line of cars behind them. Alice looked in the rear view mirror and said, “longer than a whore’s dream.”

I wasn't personally involved in this story but Roger Harris told me about a time he and Scooter Hill (there may have been others involved) put up a road block at the south end of town with a sign diverting traffic through LoWood, a neighborhood in Somerville that reminded no one of Beverly Hills. If anyone traveling through town had any ideas about relocating to Somerville, they probably changed their mind after that detour.

One Halloween evening Miller Bassler, Jack Stamps Campbell, and Mike Welch decided to borrow one of the school buses for some trick or treating. The keys were always left in the ignition, so it wasn’t difficult to accomplish. They wanted to take one of the smaller buses, but it was blocked in, so they opted for a larger one. Miller was the driver and Jack and Mike were in the back tossing water balloons at kids that were out on the town. Somerville isn’t that big, so they were easily recognized, and the next morning Miller and Jack’s parents, Mr. G (the principal), and Mr. Simmons (the Superintendent) had them all come in for a visit. They got off with a few  “licks” and a warning about possible punishment if anything like that ever happened again. I am quite sure that the consequences today would be a little more severe. 

When I was a freshman in high school, Robert Wayne “Beatnik” Thomas was a senior. We usually played football at P. E., and Beatnik was always the quarterback. He designed a play in one game where right after the ball was centered, he hollered out “hold it, hold it.” He told Domingo Bernal (an original member of The Mustangs Band) to go deep so when the defense stopped, he would pass it to him for a certain touchdown. Everything went according to plan but Domingo dropped the perfectly thrown pass. Beatnik quickly realized that Domingo was better suited for a lineman position, so that one play pretty much ended Domingo's days as a wide receiver.

I think that last story is one that could best be described as “you had to have been there” for it to be funny. There are so many stories that could be told but since I seem to be losing steam and my memory is running low, I will mercifully bring this to an end.