Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Venice, Florida-328 School Street 1958-62)

In the summer of 1958 Dad and Mom started looking for property to buy in Venice. I know from the stories mom tells, she wanted a little 3 bedroom house near the Gulf of Mexico, while dad had his sight set on a 2 bedroom house with an attached garage farther away from the water and sitting on a larger lot in the Edgewood Section of east Venice. Dad won, and I still don't think my 84 year old mother has forgiven him for it....even though dad passed away 35 years ago. I am only kidding about the forgiving part, but mom still mentions it....of course the property near the Gulf in those days was not nearly as "pricey" as today....try buying a house of any kind within 2 blocks of the Gulf these days....good luck!

Just after Halloween we made the move from the Venice By-Way to the corner of Pineland Avenue and School Street...it would be our last residence in Venice. My Uncle(dad's older brother) John would move within a block of us shortly after, my best friend Mike Graff lived 2 streets away, and all was right with the world as we knew it.

The Edgewood section was begun around the time of World War 2, and we were located on the newer extreme south and east parts of that subdivision...thus there still was plenty of wild land to explore back in those days....forget that in 2008, you have to go all the way east to I-75 to find much untouched land. During that time, we played baseball with Terry Haskins, Mike Graff, Barry Young(also from my class),Jackie Dye, and the other neighborhood kids...getting better as we went grew. There were a couple of baseball diamonds within stone throwing distance, and we played on them constantly....When not playing baseball, or getting into trouble setting off fireworks, Graff and I explored the woods, flatland, and creeks to the east and south of School and Pineland....one experience comes to mind clear as a bell. Mike Graff and I decided to explore a woods south of my house...it was about a mile away and across a 3 foot deep creek(today that "creek" is the inter-coastal waterway, but not back then)...crossing the creek seemed no big problem, it wasn't deep, but it was filled with other excitement. I crossed first, the muddy bottom encircled my feet, as I was about half way across the 6 foot wide ditch, water waist high, I looked and swimming towards me was a medium sized snake...not jut any snake....a damn water moccasin...a Cottonmouth....well my feet couldn't get out of that mud quick enough...I got across to the other side as quick as my short legs could go....Graff went down a few feet, and crossed in a quick fashion. "Problem #1 out of the way".

We managed our way into the woods, and found a few nice trees to climb, one in particular, with a nice overhanging thick branch seemed good climbing material, so up that tree we went. Out on the overhanging branch I went first....as I grabbed a smaller branch some 15 feet or so above the ground, the rotting piece of wood came off in my hand....and down I went, slow motion it seemed, before I landed face and chest first in the dead leaves below. I remember standing(or stooping up), taking a step and falling back first into the tree base. What seemed like hours, but was probably on a few minutes, I heard Graff calling in the distance..."Houseworth, Houseworth, hey Pat"....knocked out I was, but I soon got my breath...survived without any injuries that I could find....and lived to hunt adventure another day.

Edgewood even though tame by By-Way standards, had it's wildlife...we had brought one Red Bone mixed hound with us from the By-Way..."Brandy" was her name...she was smart, tough, and friendly...about a year or two after we moved into the new house, I woke up to hear mom yelling to dad...."Stan, my God, look at Brandy"...Brandy who slept on the front patio, had gotten into it with a Diamond Back...Brandy won the fight, but could do no better than tie the war. She killed the snake, but it had bitten her several times, including one in the neck....Dad took her to the Vets in South Venice near his gas station...but she was to far gone to save. A sad day indeed for the Houseworth family.

The Venice Theater was located on Venice Avenue near the shopping district...a good 2 mile walk from our house...but usually every Friday night, we would head west, with our allowance....usually enough to see a movie, buy a coke and large Dill Pickle.  I fully got into Little League baseball by this time....the local league was expanding, and I got drafted away from the Elks to the Venice-Nokomis Bank..., dad and his brother went into business together, buying the Gulf Gas Station in South Venice, it would become John and Stan's Phillips 66 then ESSO shortly thereafter, I also would enter my final year at Venice Elementary School, 6th grade would see me in the 2nd of my two favorite teacher's classes..Joe Duell's. It was for the most part, a fun time......we had 3 good years at Edgewood before moving back to Ohio...more on the Edgewood years, and a Epilogue coming up in the next 2 segments.


photos-Brother Mike with Brandy, whose demise was at the fangs of a Diamond Back, Me with Nick the Beagle and Dad's weapons of choice. Me and the new arrival Kelly born some 9 years after Marty and 13+ after me, don't I look happy(and she looks even more so)?, and Dad and Uncle John's 66 station in South Venice in 1961.


Buck said...

Good stuff, Pat... especially the pics!

Lin said...

With this story, you have me thinking about my run-in with the diamond back again and how I worry about our two dogs trolling around out in the brush, especially after Earl told us about all his critters run-ins with them. Touch wood, so far, so good though.

I can see your mom's point on where to buy but I would have gone along with your dad anyway; more land, more garage, no question there.

BTW, there just happens to be a still reasonably priced place called Edgewood up near Red's, outside of ABQ. Just sayin', of course.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Sad story about the dog. There's nothin' like a boy and his dog. the rest is hilarious and fun to read. Had a few experiences in that creek in Missouri with snakes. Always a treat. Love the picture of the guns on the bed. Pure American that. Love it.