By Roy Pace
Copyright 2010 Roy Pace
Miss Deadman’s Kindergarten School was aptly named. When I was four, I walked miles to get there every day, and I remember feeling so tired from that long walk that I thought I would die. The path was always the same. I left the front door of our house in Old Hickory, went down the steps, and then passed the huge tree in the front yard on my way to the street. There were no sidewalks, so I walked in the wet grass most mornings. The first stop sign was a mile uphill from the house. I crossed the street there and walked several more miles down to Miss Deadman’s house. I had to be there by nine to be in time for Romper Room. I usually trudged down the stairs to the basement just in time to watch the black and white program on the big console television.
After school, at about noon, I had to repeat my arduous journey back home. I was always starving and ready for lunch and a nap after such a tough day.
I followed many paths growing up. Some were short journeys; some much longer. Some paths were familiar, while others were ripe for new explorations. Back then, I didn’t know I was adventurous. I just did what the day called for.
On most days, I explored the woods in my back yard. We had moved from Old Hickory by then and lived in some hills northeast of Nashville on New Due West Avenue. Of course, it wasn’t an avenue, and it was a little too crooked to be due west, and it certainly wasn’t new, but the hills and woods provided endless journeys for kids who were desperate for things to do. Our house was in a little valley between Water Tank Hill where the city had built a new tank for drinking water, and Cactus Hill, a large hill covered by prickly pears. A creek seeped out of a spring on Water Tank Hill and ran all the way to the road in front of our house. I built more dams in the fifties and sixties than TVA and the Corps of Engineers combined, and my dams had more character than theirs.