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Stories of Boogerville and beyond
by Billy Ginn

I

Dan roped me into this one. He was selling fake phone numbers to young soldiers, while we were selling papers at Fort Benning. Boy those soldiers were naive. Finally we got caught by four or five of them. They were going to beat us up, if we didn’t give their money back. I told them that if they came to Boogerville, I would set them up with a woman. Helen B. had told me a few days before, she needed some money, they came to Boogerville, six of them. Helen told me later, she charged them ten dollars apiece. She came back late the next day, with two hundred dollars and two half gallons of whiskey. I always called Helen Montana, her and my uncle Robert stayed drunk for two weeks!!

II

We lived on 14 street in 1951, I refused to go to kindergarten. I guess I thought if Darlene didn’t go I wouldn’t either, even if I am a year older. I noticed these two boys came by at the same time each day. I gathered some rocks and when they walked by I cut loose on them! They ran across the road out of my range. The next day I started throwing rocks again, this time they picked MY ROCKS and started hitting me all over my body and head!  I then realized they could throw rocks farther and harder. So I decided to be friends; It was the start of my lifelong friendship with Danny and Gary. They were my first friends in Boogerville. We really grew up in the golden age for children.

III

I remember a fight between Tom and I. He made a remark about Aunt Marie’s boobs, it made me mad. I popped  him, the fight was on. I was on top of him when he bit a chunk out of my face. I went crazy and started really beating hell out of him. Danny pulled me off of him. Tom said he was going to get Rex to get me. Tom never picked a fight with me again. Rex never tried me either although he said he was, maybe fear stopped him! Tom and I fought all the time, sometimes he won, but as I got bigger he always lost.

IV

In 1956 Gary and I picked up empty whiskey bottles around the neighborhood. We sold them to my grandfather, Sam, for a nickel a piece. He filled them with moonshine to sell to people that came to Mr. Jim’s poolroom. Sam also sold cokes and snacks for the poker players that played at the poolroom. He and Mr. Jim split the profits. Gary’s grandpa, George gave us a nickel apiece for robins we shot with our BB guns. One day we went to George's house on Proctors Alley. As we passed Mr. Robinson’s house his big red rooster attacked us again. We were both bleeding when we got to George's. He saw what happened, he told us that he was tired of eating robin’s breast, he would pay 50 cents for a big red rooster! We went to Gary’s house and got his ball bat. I won the coin toss. As we turned off Virginia Street onto the alley I was in front, one Mickey Mantle swing took the rooster’s head clean off! I always thought that was George's way to get us out of the whiskey business.   

V 

My Uncle Pete said that one time in front of Dave Mullis Store, Cleve asked Sam if his chickens bothered him?  Sam replied no, why do you ask me that? Cleve said if they don’t bother you why don’t you leave them alone. Cleve then said Sam is such a good chicken thief he can feel of a tree and tell you how many chickens are roosting in that tree!!

 

VI

My sister Jeanette, had one sweet little girl and three holy terrors, Johnny, Jay and Jimmy. John, the oldest, could cuss with the best of them. My dad and his two brothers along with Uncle Pete taught him every cuss word in the book. We built a new little league ball field in1963.They raffled off a pony, Johnny had quite a number of tickets bought by the family. The MC at the dedication was hall of fame pitcher Dizzy Dean, it was a live radio broadcast. Ole Diz spotted Johnny on the front row. Jeanette had dressed him in his Easter outfit. Dizzy saw those blue eyes, red cheeks and blonde hair, cute little fellow. Come on up here son,I know you are going to win this pony with all those tickets. What’s your name he asked as he put the mike in his face, Johnny was the response. Well Johnny I saw your name on the winning ticket, reach in here and pull it out. Johnny pulls out a ticket but his names not on it !! He stomps across the stage talking to himself. Dizzy said wait a minute, what did you say? He sticks the mike to his face, and Johnny said it’s just like my mama told me you are a lying drunken S.O.B.  Jeanette jumped out her seat and took off for the house.

VII

The Hero of Boogerville Award should go to U.L.Cain. Most of us called him Cootsie. After we got in trouble under the viaduct, I was standing on the corner of 11th and Virginia St. and he asked if I had a S.S.card? I said no sir, he told me to go to the library and get one. In 1961 you could get one at Bradley Library. When I showed it to him he put me to work delivering groceries on a bike. I worked after school and Saturdays. Later I drove his car delivering groceries, he trusted me to go downtown to pay bills pick up presents for his girls, go to Jack Webb drugstore. Sometimes the girls would ask what I had got, if it was a secret I didn’t spoil the surprise. He instilled confidence, a work ethic and compassion for my fellow man. Those are the main things I remember and loved about him. He probably fed half of the community of Boogerville out of his pocket. He and his wife Nellie always made me feel welcome into their home. I used to watch Friday night fights on T.V, with him. We saw Emile Griffith kill Benny Paret in a middle weight bout, I think that may have been the first death televised in a boxing match. Mr.Cain was a mild mannered fellow but he could be pushed too far, that’s another story.

 

VIII

Curt and Nelson broke a window in the back of  Dock Lipsey’s store one night. They couldn’t get in the window so they put their little brother into the store. Someone noticed them and called the police. When the cops got there they found Lou in the yard with a loaf of bread and two cans of viennas. The cop asked, what’s your name boy? He said my name is Lou, but my friends call me Snookums, you can call me Snookums too if you want to. They sent poor Snookums off to jail, he spent the next eight years in Alto boys prison for one loaf of bread and two cans of viennas. Jay Anderson can verify this story from 1957. Its one of Jay’s favorite stories.
Where is Snookums now? Snookums got out of jail when he was 19 yrs old, he went to Detroit and went to work. He took early disability but died at age 45.The boy never really had a chance to enjoy life. He will live on forever for the funny but tragic story of Snookums.

 

IX

Eddie Graham and Ray Vilmer were wrestling the German twins, Kurt and Karl von Brauner. It was a big crowd, everyone was pulling for Eddie and Ray. Somehow we got into an argument with 6 soldiers. there were five of us, Danny, Ronnie, Tommy, Bobo and me. Ronnie shouted Karl is a dirty punk, this man down on the front hollered back no you are a punk. We not only had trouble coming with the boxheads as we called all soldiers but this guy with his wife and kids. As soon as we got to Broad St. me and Tommy had a fight, two of the boxheads and we both won. Tommy picked another fight and lost, none of the boxheads would fight Danny or Ronnie as they were too big for them. At the age of 17 Danny and Ronnie were big guys not many wanted to tangle with them. Then the man who called Ronnie a punk showed up. He followed us down Broad 4 blocks and followed us back up Broad St to 13th Ave.We started up 13th going home, the man was taunting us, telling us we were white trash and he was going to whip all of us and teach us a lesson. He said you Boggerville punks are going to get your asses whipped tonight, meet me under the viaduct if you ain’t too scared. The whole time he was following us, his wife was begging him to just go home. When we got to 5th Ave. we saw him parked beside the meat company on 6th Ave. under the viaduct. Ronnie had a knife, Tom and Bobo picked a whiskey bottle each, I grabbed a brick, Danny pulled a 1x4 off a picket fence from in front of a house being demolished. I have always thought the man knew who I was, he had caught my uncle with his wife and beat him up a few months before. As we got closer to him we spread out, he was crouched beside the building with a tire tool in his hand. As he stood up I saw it and said watch out he’s got a tire tool. He feinted at me and started to hit Danny, but Danny was faster and hit him with the edge of the 1x4 across the head. I mean Danny hit him with his Mickey Mantle swing, it cracked like a 22 rifle his feet went up and his head hit the pavement. By the time he hit the ground Tom and I were going up the stairs heading for the house. The man’s wife screamed Danny and Ronnie were a few minutes behind us up the stairs, Bobo took off up 6th Ave. toward his house. None of us knew Larry was in the back seat of a car with a prostitute. When the law got there Larry told who we were. The next morning we were at Linwood playground playing scrub softball, Danny and I were in the outfield we saw a detective talking to Ronnie on the pitcher’s mound. Danny said you ready to run, I said no Ronnie pointing at us. We walked in and gave up the cop asked, where’s Tom? I said he’s a late sleeper we can go by his house and get him. They let me and Tom go late that night, but kept Danny and Ronnie and booked them for aggravated assault and attempted murder. I guess they were charged because they were both 17 and bigger. The man had to get a metal plate put in his head and stayed in the hospital for several weeks. He learned a lesson, don’t mess with Boogerville. Danny and Ronnie were glad he didn’t die but still worried about the upcoming trial. After hearing all the testimony from all the witnesses, the judge ruled self defense and threw the case out of court. I have always said the asshole got what he was looking for; TROUBLE and he never messed with Boogerville ever again!!!!

X

Ann beat me up once in 1956, she had me down when my cousin Melvin broke a milk bottle over her head to get her off me. Before she could get up we took off for the house. The next year Danny and Dennis got into a fight with her, she had both of them on the ground beating on them. Dennis's cousin Kenny hit her in the head with a metal garbage can lid, I ran up and put the can over head and pulled it down to her ankles. Dennis and Danny pushed her over, then rolled her down the middle of 11th Ave. We all ran away before she could get loose.Yes you read it right, it took four of us to whip one girl, man she was tough. Ann and her cousin Mary Ann swore they were going to get all of us for that little episode. We stayed away from those two for a month, we gave them plenty of time to get over it. We knew if we tangled with those two we were going to have to get some help.

XII

In the spring of 1956 we saw a boy scout troop on a nature walk across from Linwood playground. We decided we wanted to be in the boy scouts. We went across 13th Ave. to the scoutmaster to join up. He was taking our names and addresses down, when he realized we lived in Boogerville. He told us to get back across the street, we don’t want you white trash around us much less in our troop!! That made us mad, we swore we would get even. Later that summer someone said they are taking archery practice on 13th St. We had been waiting for this moment. There were 8 or 9 of us, we waded Weracoba Creek under the 13th Ave bridge up to the scout house. We came over the creek bank throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at them. They threw down their bows and arrows, they ran into the scout house, the scout master with them. We picked up the bows and arrows and took turns shooting. We held them hostage for awhile, until someone stopped on 13th Ave. and yelled we are calling the police to you white trash. We went back down the creek and headed for Boogerville. Officer Dupriest came up to Cootsie’s store, he told me and Ronald Tyler to get in the car. We said Mr. Dupriest we didn’t do anything he said don’t lie, your pants are still wet. On the way to the scout house, I told him what the had said to us earlier in the spring. When we got to the scout house, Mr. Dupriest got all over that guy. He said the boy scouts are supposed to help kids like this not shun them. The scout master then offered to sign us up. We refused his offer by saying we didn’t want to be around a bunch of sissies like them. Mr. Dupriest took us back to Boogerville and said stay away from them. We got our revenge and never joined the scouts. Later in life after Boogerville had the first reunion, everyone had a reunion even Wynnton School. I believe that U.S. Senator  from TX. that came to Wynnton reunion was one of the boy scouts we terrorized. I do know Mr. Dupriest’s son married Martha W. Dan can verify the attack on the troop.