The last time I wrote about the Perren family we had just returned from our first real vacation.

School started almost immediately. Now a sixth grader, I found that my stories about our trip were greeted mostly with yawns. Most of my classmates had already experienced trips to surrounding states and either pretended or were far more cosmopolitan than me.

Our recess games became more structured. For almost all of the boys, touch football was the "in" game. Needless to say, many arguments erupted between players. In fact, I had my first real fight over an argument with Harry Stein (unfortunately, Harry is deceased but his brothers Myron, Don, John and Kenneth all live here).

I think the fight resulted from one of us claiming that we had tagged the other and the other refuting the claim. Anyway, name-calling escalated into punches and a knockdown, drag-out fight. I got in a few good licks, but I must admit that Harry undoubtedly won because he bloodied my nose. In the end, I guess we gained more respect for each other because we became good friends.

Another good friend was Vance Gritton, who was a year behind me in school. Some considered him a nerd and I'm sure that at least a few also felt the same about me. In any case, he and I shared an interest in science and science fiction. We also enjoyed an ongoing game of Monopoly over glasses of ginger ale, which we bought by the quart. I also remember us getting into deep discussions about actually traveling to the moon or other planets. I don't think we thought man would be walking on the moon in our lifetime.

We both ended up in scientific fields, Vance in physics and chemistry and me in meteorology. Unfortunately, Vance has also died.

The year flew swiftly by, even more so with spring softball replacing touch football or snowball fights. We also played several different games of marbles. One that I enjoyed required nine shallow holes in the shape of a rectangle in bare ground. Each player would drop one marble in the center hole. We then attempted to toss our shooter into that center hole from a line about six to eight feet away, If you hit and stayed in the center hole, you got to keep all of the marbles in that hole.

During the course of the game, many marbles landed in other holes and could be claimed by the next player to land in that hole. Most of us used marble-sized ball bearings for our shooters. The rules allowed us to put another marble in place of our shooter rather than risk losing our shooter. Now playing marbles has joined the horse and buggy as something that was once common.

During spring 1941, two of our neighbor's cottonwood trees, in their pasture near Prairie Creek, blew down during a windstorm. Dad agreed to remove them for the wood. Unfortunately, my sister Dee and I got the job of sawing and cutting them up. We became intimately acquainted with a crosscut saw and a bucksaw, in addition to an ax.

The job took up a large part of our summer because each tree was nearly three-and-a-half feet in diameter at the base. In my mind, this ordeal was probably the closest I would come to being sentenced to work in a salt mine. We finally finished in time for me to start the seventh grade in September 1941.

For me, it was a new experience because our teacher was a male. After all of these years, I've forgotten his name, but I think he was probably the first man to teach a grammar school class in Enterprise. We thought that men only taught in high school or served as superintendents.

Little did we know that a national disaster was looming just three months away.

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