I had a good childhood. A really good childhood. My mom (God rest her soul) stayed at home with my brother, Jake, and I. Dad says she did a great job raising us. Dad was a high school teacher and also worked evenings at the Gateway Restaurant in Breezewood, Pennsylvania to make sure that my mom, brother, and I had everything we needed. He's happily retired now (and recommends retirement for everyone).
I grew up in Bedford, Pennsylvania. South Juliana Street to be exact. We rented a house on the south corner of South Juliana Street from Mrs. Witt. Harry Keller lived next door to us. His house (which my parents would buy in the early 1980s) was the original farmhouse in the area. He had a barn in the back yard with a large driveway behind it. Harry worked for Bedford Borough and, based upon how he treated my mom and dad, was a really good man. Going down the street...the Henderson's lived next to Harry...Mr. and Mrs. Brown lived next to the Henderson's...Mrs. Witt lived next to Mr. and Mrs. Brown...the Showalter's lived next to Mrs. Witt...the Heming's lived next to the Showalter's...the Clark's lived next to the Heming's...and the Corle family lived on the north end of the block.
|Harry and Francis Keller -- 1977|
|David Raymond standing in front of Harry Keller's house on South Juliana Street. The sidewalk on South Juliana Street would be the place all the neighborhood kids rode bikes on long, hot, summer days -- June 1976|
Jake and I weren't the only kids on the street. Beau and Lacey Henderson lived two doors down and Robbie Clark, Chris Corle, and Heidi Corle lived at the end of the street. Robbie, Heidi, and I were the same age. Rob and I played high school football together. Two years behind us were my brother Jake and Heidi's brother Chris. Beau was one year behind Chris and Jake in school...and Lacey was two years behind Beau. There were other kids in the area, too. Charles and John Koontz lived near Jake and I. Shannon Rogish lived near Robbie, Heidi, and Chris at the other end of the block.
|Jacob Raymond, Beau Henderson (sporting IRON MAN Underoos), Robbie Clark, David Raymond -- Summer 1979|
|Jacob Raymond (yes...ROBIN Underoos), Robbie Clark, David Raymond -- 1979|
|Top Row: Beau Henderson, Jacob Raymond, Sheila Rogish, Lacey Henderson, Heidi Corle, Shannon Rogish|
Bottom Row: Chris Corle, Robbie Clark, David Raymond
My first real bike was sparkly blue and had a red banana seat. I loved that bike. We kids would spend our summer days riding bikes "down the hill" from my parent's house to the Clark's house. We had a Big Wheel, too! The kind that had a side hand break...which allowed us to spin in circles as we careened down the side walk! To this day, I still remember how uneven and bumpy the sidewalk was in front of the Showalter's and Heming's house. We'd ride the sidewalk...our own little piece of South Juliana Street...all day long. Over and over and over again.
|My father, Dave Raymond, resting behind Harry's barn -- Summer 1977|
Thanks, to Harry, we weren't just regulated to the sidewalk. Harry gave us permission to ride our bikes "behind the barn" on his big driveway. Sometimes mom and dad would come back to supervise...but not always. Hell, it was the 70s and 80s...we drank out of garden hoses, let our feet dangle from the back of pick up trucks, and used Big Wheels with side brakes...none of which killed us. Yeah...I had a really good childhood. Parents who loved me...friends to hang out with...neighbors who were good to us...bikes to ride...ice cream cones...push up popcycles...and a street that connected all of it together. Growing up in Bedford was really good. Growing up on South Juliana Street made it extra special.
|David Raymond in the Henderson's back yard. You can see part of Harry Keller's driveway on the left. Loving my authentic YODA t-shirt -- 1981|
Life is a journey...not a destination.
David A. Raymond -- March 19, 2017
|David Raymond (age 3). Riding my tricycle on South Juliana Street -- September 1976|
Where did you ride as a kid? Tell me about it in the comments...I would love to hear your story.