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Hometown 1955

Former Barnesvillian and Gordon Military alum Carl Voelker penned this poem about growing up in Barnesville. He thought readers – particularly those coming into town for the big Gordon reunion this month – would enjoy his missive. There’s no place better than my old hometown It’s not too big to get your arms around You can know every inch if you’re curious And wander around and pay attention to stuff Yet it’s still big enough to have all that you need Like a small Frosty Palace or a big Feed and Seed And a case full of knives at the hardware store They’re next to the watches, in a case near the door There’s a barber or two and a place to shoot pool Where you learn about English they don’t teach in school At night when the young folks want someplace to go You can call all your buddies and meet at the ‘˜show’ Houses in my town are built for the hot weather On Thomaston Street they’re not too close together And still have their barns from the old days of course When most folks kept chickens, a cow and a horse There’s more I could add to describe my old home But the best thing of all was the freedom to roam Back then things were safe for young boys in my town So no one would mind if you wandered around You could set out on bikes without saying a word And ride anywhere, you were free as a bird You could go to the depot and race with the train Or play on the catwalk on days it would rain Or ride out Forsyth Street and in less than an hour Pedal up to Hog Mountain and climb on the tower Or go ‘˜cross the golf course then down to the pool Where they make a grape snowcone and lifeguards act cool You could roam anywhere from the edge to the center But you better make sure that you get home for dinner See, meals were like roll call, that’s how they could tell If you’d broken your arm or were trapped in a well For many a day to your parents’ distress Would find you or your pal in some terrible mess Like stuck in a culvert or tied to a tree By your mischievous cousin, abandoned with glee Getting cut with a knife was considered routine Or bit on the leg by a dog that was mean Riding down pine tops or crawling in caves Were ways you could prove to your friends you were brave You might crash in bike wreck or fall on a harrow And it wasn’t that rare to get shot with an arrow But the freedom was worth it, you took it in stride Just get back on your bike and take off for a ride The ice plant. The shoe shop. The Greenwood Street gin The tank and the cannon, the Tubby of tin Cadets in formation, police in a booth These are more things I recall from my youth When my children now ask ‘what’s it like way back then Growing up in the fifties with Margaret and Lynn?’ I tell them the stories, ‘When I was a tyke And roamed my hometown on my trusty red bike.’

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