The Good Olde Days

As recalled by Jean E. Wise

My only claim to notoriety was way back in 1929 when my frequent brushes with the “law” resulted in the Akron police department referring to me as the youngest “flapper” in Akron. I was only two years old, and I liked to run away – what can I say? I remember those adventurous escapades quite vividly. I knew that if I walked far enough and stayed away long enough I would be picked up by the police. I still remember the thrill when they put me in the police car and drove up and down the streets trying to get me to tell them where I lived. I was too smart for them, I would only answer “in a house.” So they had to take me down to the police station. I remember being put up high on a counter, they bribed me with ice cream and candy. After getting my fill, I finally broke down and told them where I lived, and they brought me home.

I felt a little disappointed when the family didn’t seem happy to see me and they acted like they were mad at me. Mom would make a fuss shaking her finger at me, and I was having such a good time. Sometimes my Mom would send my brother Bill out on his bike looking for me, I remember how disappointed I felt when he would find me, and that was the end of my fun for the day. Sometimes I would run and hide in St. Paul’s church on Brown st. in the confessional, or the choir loft. I felt proud when Fr. Boeke himself found me in church and would walk me home, but first took me to the corner store for candy. Years later Mom said that as Father patted me on the head, he winked at Mom saying, “Now Mrs. Lampe, you’re not going to punish a little girl for running off to church.” I ran away so much that the police knew me pretty well, and knew where I lived so they didn’t have to bribe me anymore, so I turned over a new leaf and stopped running away, it wasn’t fun anymore.

At the time my Mom was in the last few months of her pregnancy with John. She wasn’t feeling too good and had to stay off her feet. I remember her laying on the davenport with a headache, so I went into the lavatory off the kitchen, got a wet washrag and laid it on her head. She always had sweet words to express her gratitude. Mom and I were inseparable, but when she fell asleep, I would slip out of the house. When I was 3 or 4 I had a crush on a handsome 17-year-old from across the street. He had a motorcycle with a sidecar and he would take me for a ride. My Dad could understand the thrill of it because before he was married he owned two Harley-Davidsons. This man and his family came from Germany, I seem to recall their name was Spitz. They were rich and had a beautiful maroon car (Packard). I remember this car so well because one day I was taken to the doctor’s office in it when I tried rolling my own cigarettes and smoking. The flames singed my hair and I had blisters hanging from my nose. I gave up smoking for quite a few years.

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