August 19, 1995
Most people born in August are considered to be under the sign of Leo. I am not well versed in astrology, but since that happens to be my birth month, I have heard some interesting things relating to it through the years.
For one, a lot of powerful and important people were born in August. A few that I remember offhand are Bernard Baruch, Gene Wood, Ken Schuermann, Bill Haynes and Fred Kohman. I'm forgetting many others but that condition gets a little worse with each successive birthday, so please excuse it if you're one of them. I probably remembered yours at this time last year.
For the same reason, some of my past birthday celebrations tend to blend together, or perhaps blur is a better description, with the passage of years. I remember my third birthday, though. Our family was taking a summer vacation in Colorado and Dad drove us up Pike's Peak that day. Harry and Edith Donaldson and their son, Bob, were with us. Some people say I could not possibly remember this, that I just heard my folks talk about it so much that I fancy it to be my own personal recollection. Whatever. I have a vivid mental image of the day.
Another birthday that I KNOW I remember was on August 19, 1937. That was the day the Exchange Bank was held up by a former employee of the state highway department here. Of course, that event wasn't timed just to coincide with my celebration, even though it did mark the year that I entered that golden era of teenagehood. As a matter of fact, when the stickup occurred I was just spending another summer day jerking sodas at our family drug store up the street from the Exchange Bank.
The holdup man entered the bank a few minutes before noon. The only ones in the bank then were Y. V. Willett, the president, two employees and a traveling salesman. The robber threatened to shoot Mr. Willett if there was any trouble. Moments later, our drug store janitor, Millard Mayfield, strolled into the bank to get some change for our cash register. His customary grin quickly faded when Mr. Willett explained what was going on.
Meantime, back at the drug store, I had gone upstairs to our family's apartment for lunch. I missed the downstairs excitement while eating dessert, probably a second helping of birthday cake.
Down at the east end of the corridor from our apartment was another one occupied by Jesse and Fredonna Eisenhauer. Their east windows looked out onto the Exchange Bank rooftop. When they heard some odd sounds below, they peered out a window but did not realize what was taking place before their very eyes. The holdup man's getaway car was parked only a few feet from their vantage point, but they only learned that later. Fredonna, now Mrs. John H. Dowell, still remembers the day quite well.
Of course, there have been many other birthday celebrations, more than I care to think about really, but I think the Exchange Bank holdup probably sticks with me most vividly. But now I can add one more memorable milestone: The 1995 birthday, this one, when I got to write a whole column about my birthday. Never did that before.