The Story of My Life
A September 1960 assignment for Mrs. Clara Garrison’s Senior English Class, Tullahoma High School, Tullahoma, Tennessee
Many people write their autobiographies when they are fifty or sixty. I’m going to write mine right now while I’m seventeen so it won’t be so long.
My life started in Fort Worth, Texas on April 28, 1943. I don’t recall much from the first few weeks, but later I was told that we spent time from my birth to the end of the war moving around. My most vivid memory is the time I spent on the beach at Miami. While we were in Philadelphia there was a great snow which I also recall.
I was a very active baby. Once I rolled down a flight of stairs in a baby buggy. I came through without a scratch.
When the war was over we moved into a large, white house with my great-grandmother in Irving, Texas. It was here that my brother came. The moment he was born I was determined his name was to be Butch, and to the very day he is called Butch instead of Arthur Keith.
At this age I was very shy. The sight of new people terrified me. There weren’t many children my age who lived near us, and if there had been I would probably been so shy I’d have run and hid. By myself, however, I was a wild and wooly cowboy. I strung my mother’s dolls up to the nearest tree. This she didn’t care for too much.
I was an avid radio fan. Sky King, The Lone Ranger and Roy Rogers were my favorites. During this activity I found time to cut off my big blonde curls on my forehead. I was a devilish little imp.
At the age of six we moved to Mt. Pleasant, Texas, and there I started to school. I had a very enjoyable school life except for a few incidents. My teacher wasn’t a very good sport. Once when I got in a fight with a second grader, she made us hug and kiss in front of the whole class. Then there was the time I accidentally knocked over her favorite flower pot. This time I was locked in a dark closet. I didn’t care though. At least I got out of spelling and arithmetic. I also set a field on fire. The fire department came and we all had a very nice time fighting fires.
I got my tonsils taken out this year and ever since I was kind of sickly. I missed about a month of school but I passed.
In the second grade I got along much better. We played baseball a lot and I had a few close friends. We were cowboys of the highest degree and we made a habit of camping out in the wilds of my back yard. My mother never would let me camp in anyone else’s yard.
The next year I joined the Cub Scouts, an organization I stayed in until I joined the Boy Scouts.
We played football a great deal in the afternoon after school. I was always the smallest one out there, and I wasn’t very good.
During March we moved to Pomona, California. Ah, sunny California! When we arrived it was raining and the temperature was about sixty degrees. The teacher thought I talked funny because I said “ah” instead of I, so they sent me to a speech teacher. They couldn’t convert my Texas drawl though.
The only good thing about California was the nine or ten television channels. We moved back to Texas six months after arrival.
When I started the fourth grade, I went out for the grade school team. I played third team tackle and never got off the bench. Except for this, however, I never cared much for school I constantly day-dreamed and never had my assignments.
In April of this year we moved to Tullahoma, Tennessee. The day we moved in it was rainy and cold. I rode my bicycle to school the first day. I tried to ride it through a field but I got stuck in the mud. My first acquaintance was Norris Brewer, who must have weighed about one-hundred and sixty in the fourth grade. He helped me out of the mud. The fifth grade came quickly and I met more and more people. We played football every day on the school grounds. I especially recall the day we were playing in the rain, and Fred Grider came by. He made us quit and go home.
In the sixth grade I had many firsts such as first paddling, first girlfriend, and first real party. Of course no self-respecting sixth grader could miss the Friday night show. I went out for junior high football in the spring of this year and later for Little League baseball. I didn’t make the baseball team.
In junior high I went out for football but got kicked off for laying out of practice.
I attended my first dance early in this year at the country club. My social life began at this time.
I went out for Babe Ruth baseball but was cut. This was a great disappointment to me.
The eighth grade went better. I lettered at tackle. We went undefeated this year. I received my Eagle badge in Boy Scouts. I also got twenty-four licks for various reasons in school.
The ninth grade will always stand out a one of the most enjoyable years in my life. Our gang of boys and girls at West Junior High was constantly together. We had get togethers every Friday and Saturday night all year.
I played football until I broke my collarbone in the Columbia game, which we won 14 to 7. We were also the runners up in the state junior high basketball tourney.
This year I went out for Babe Ruth baseball and made it. I played center field and got three hits all year.
Stuart Horn, Fred Hollenbach and I were fortunate enough to go on a canoe trip to Canada with other Boy Scouts from Tennessee.
In 1956 we came to Tullahoma Senior High and were immediately branded the worst sophomore class in the history of the school. I had a very unlucky year in sports. In football I had a burst spleen and in basketball I broke my nose.
I got my first car when I was sixteen. It was a ’41 Plymouth in excellent condition except for the brakes. The first week I hit a policeman’s private car.
My junior year was a very eventful one. I played on the CTC championship football team, went to the state basketball tourney, and was elected sports editor of The Echo, the school newspaper.
My parents always let me go on vacations with them even when I don’t want to. This year we went to Washington, D.C. When I got back I discovered the police wanted me for carrying a boy around in a trunk. Besides this I spent my summer at the back breaking job of lifeguarding.
Well, now that I’m through I don’t think I’ll sell too many copies of this though.
Note from Mrs. Garrison: Maybe the sequel will be more romantic! Grade: A-
Note from me: This piece has been transcribed exactly as I wrote it in 1960, spelling and punctuation errors included.