Living in two climates

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I was born in December in northern Ohio in the city of Akron and for my first 27 years endured pleasant summers only.

My walk to my grade school and church were just three short small community blocks. My mother never drove and my dad was usually at work on Sunday mornings at Firestone Tire, but walking to church was not too bad.

Grade school, however, was something else. There was no cafeteria and we all had to walk home for lunch. On those occasions mom was taking the bus during the day into Akron to buy, for instance, surprise gifts that would be coming from Santa Claus, and we had to stay in our classroom and eat a packed sandwich, that meant a teacher had to sit in there too, and they sure let you know they were not pleased about it.

By the by, that school building is still there and I’m willing to bet it’s every bit of 140 years old. Good grief!

Walking to high school, however, was another matter. It was one mile to walk there and one mile to walk back. Winters in November, December and January were especially unpleasant, but that was my life at the time and I just accepted it.

I want to college near Cleveland and winters were spent walking from one end of campus to the other in freezing weather. I was a good student, graduating third in my high school class and had no trouble in classes at college. An admission here – after two years I got the bright idea it was more important to work and left college. There are many thousands of times I have lived to regret that decision.

I got a job in Cleveland and getting to work in winter was right up there with getting to school. Only it was more treacherous when you’re in an automobile.

Cleveland is on the Erie Canal, and you can cross several bridges trying to get to your place of work. Bridges over many waterways would raise up day and night to allow ships to pass by. If I was late to work I always had the excuse that a bridge went up and held me up.

In Georgia, if I were late to work in downtown Atlanta or when I worked in Sandy Springs and I was late getting there from Fayetteville over 30 years ago, I had no excuse. With today’s traffic I’m sure I would have to be getting up at 5 a.m. to make the trip on time.

I have lived in the Fayetteville area for 57 years, over half my life, and glad to be here. Yes, those first years as an obvious sounding Yankee was not pleasant, but once I got to Fayetteville 50 years ago and the natives here realized I was a sincere, well-meaning, hard working person, it’s been a most satisfying place to be.

And the months of November, December and January are most hospitable.