I ran through my early childhood Saturday morning during the Badger State 10k, and sweet memories helped the miles pass smoothly.
We entered Colburn Park and I remembered all the hours my brother Mike and I spent in the swimming pool there. I also remembered the time he and I had slipped out of our house during nap time, met up with the Watermolen brothers, and made our way to Austin’s Grocery Store where we shoplifted candy. I think we were three and four-years old.
“You were so young,” my mom said. “But, we marched you right back down and made you return the candy and apologize.”
During Saturday’s run, I also passed an old tree my Mom saved by threatening to chain herself to it. Somewhere, archived in some television news station, lies the evidence of her 1968 stand, when she stood in front of the tree and refused to let the city cut it down. They re-routed the road. Score one for the stubborn housewife in the bouffant hair.
I saw the back porch of our old house as we exited the park and remembered my dad and his teammate Jim Weatherwax building that porch over the course of a summer. It still looked remarkably solid as I jogged by.
The 10k route took me down Fisk Street and past St. Agnes Parish, where I attended school briefly before we moved away. I remembered being very excited to wear the school uniform. This passion probably stemmed from an unfortunate kindergarten bullying incident at Jackson Elementary in which an older boy called me “ketchup legs” when I wore red tights and “mustard legs” when I wore yellow tights. The blue and white St. Agnes uni precluded such rudeness.
I missed the four-mile marker as we passed Pilgrim Lutheran Church because I was reminiscing about how I attended nursery school there. Packer tight end Marv Fleming used to drive me to school every morning because my mom had just given birth to my sister Kathy and my dad was recovering from shoulder surgery.He recalls with great humor that the first few times he dropped me off the teachers and staff were not sure what to make of our little duo.
I chugged along happily, lost in memories more than half a century old. I’ve run faster races, but I don’t think I’ve run sweeter.
It’s been 46 years since I lived in Green Bay, but I still remember an unassuming neighborhood filled with friendly families, and really good times.