Before I get into my proper school years, I should probably deal with the first place I remember living. It was a small house on Reece Rd. in Salem, Virginia. To be honest, there's not much that I remember about that house, but what I do remember, I liked.
It had a good sized back yard. Could have just been that it was large because I was so small. Just off of the house there was a concrete slab that acted as a patio. I'm sure I would bounce a ball there from time to time. What else is a kid gonna do with a concrete slab, aside from fall down and scrape a knee? I also remember a stairwell leading to the basement from the outside. That stairwell gave me the creeps. Spider webs and fallen leaves from several previous autumns lay in front of the basement door.
Elsewhere in the yard was an apple tree. I don't remember this first-hand, but Dad said that from time to time he'd pick apples and bake a pie. I'll take his word for it. There was also a swing set. I remember the day Dad put it together and I remember being so excited because now I had something to do outside other than chase around our dog.
In those days we had a cocker spaniel named Sandy. He was a sweet dog, but dumb as a sack of hammers. I'd throw a ball for him to fetch it. Then he'd go looking for it. And he'd keep looking. He'd even sniff over the ball a few times before he actually picked it up and brought it back. Dumb dog.
I'm pretty sure that, technically, it was a two bedroom house. Seems I had the run of things until November of '82 when April came along. Then she got the proper bedroom and I was pushed into some sort of in-between den-type of room. It was between the kitchen and the hallway. Just the first example of April being the favorite.
For the most part, we weren't in a young neighborhood. In fact, most of the people I remember living on our street were of the elderly persuasion. Next door we had the Cundiffs. I don't remember anything about them, other than the fact that they gave us apples on Halloween. We had an apple tree in our back yard. We didn't have a Milky Way tree. Which of those things would be a better treat for a kid to get while out trick-or-treating?
Two houses down lived Grace Kelly. No, not the Grace Kelly from Rear Window. Though I do remember being devastated when the news reported princess Grace's death. This Grace Kelly was my first babysitter. She taught me the alphabet before I could even talk. She would line up letter blocks on her sofa and then ask me to go and get specific letters for her. I think one can conclude from this that I showed early signs of genius.
Behind us were the Looneys. Bob and Jane had three daughters, Cindy, Brenda, and Beverly. For a lot of years, Brenda was another of our babysitters. Where Ms. Kelly would watch April and I during the day, Brenda watched us when the parents would go out in the evening. I remember that Bob kept an immaculate yard and had an enormous garden on his property. As a kid, I could have sworn there was a farm behind our house.
There's not much more to say about 1668 Reece Road. It's where I spent the first five years of my life. It's the place that introduced me to ColecoVision and Mork and Mindy. Soon after we learned the error of our ways and moved from Salem to the far away land of Roanoke.