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October 5, 2005

One of the purposes of a column like this is to help people remember the joys or woes of their childhood. When that happens, readers will be reminded of good and bad times that they experienced, and often they will share those moments with the rest of us. One such regular contributor is a gentleman named Don Stoddard, who now lives in retirement at the Perry Apartments. I knew him from another age, when he played football at PHS for Coach Hump Daniels during a time of special interest to many of us because we were either in high school or military service during World War II. A few days ago we wrote about something that had to do with the scrap drives that took place during that period as part of the war effort. Don has shared some of his memory about that, and now I pass it on to you. Nothing earth shaking, just some recollections of "how things were," back then.

Don writes: "I was watching a tape of 'The Little Rascals' and 'Our Gang' comedies the other day and in one segment 'Our Gang' was collecting scrap material for the war effort during WWII. That brought back memories of the scrap drive we had right here in dear old Perry, Oklahoma, U.S.A. during that same period.

"I was a member of a Boy Scout troop back then and Ed Malzahn was the Scoutmaster. I remember we met at the old Presbyterian church building. I recall one time that we had a big paper drive. People would bundle up all types of paper products and set it out near the curb for the Scouts to pick up. I remember my troop getting a truck load and taking it to the old feed mill that sat on the northeast corner of Fifth and Delaware street, where it would be weighed. Part of that old mill is still there. I recall also an area that was fenced off on the northeast corner of the Courthouse Park. All types of aluminum pots and pans and what have you were put there.

"When a load was collected, a truck would load it up and haul it off. One time our troop camped out under the stars at the old rock structure on the hill on the east side of the CCC lake. I can still remember how brilliant the stars were that night as we lay there and caught glimpses of shooting stars as they streaked across the sky. I miss those "good old days."

Nothing spectacular. Just a few memories of days long ago.