Growing Up in Proctor: A Cold Dip in Proctor Creek
One very cold winter day when I was about six or seven, for some unknown reason my older brother Chuck and one of the two older Gibson cousins (Ed and Leroy) decided to hike down from the top of Anderson Run Hill where we lived to the Alley’s Hole trail along Proctor Creek. For some unknown reason, they allowed a much younger kid (me) go with them.
In most places the creek was frozen solid but of course, since water was flowing underneath, the ice thickness varied greatly. For some other unknown reason, I stepped out onto the ice at a place where the steep bank steep dropped almost straight down. Or perhaps I just fell from the bank onto the ice. In any case, I experienced a sudden and complete immersion in a deep pool of literally ice-cold, flowing water. Fortunately, the older boys fished me out before I slide under the ice. Even if I hadn’t gone under the ice, I probably would not have been able to crawl out and been a goner. Man, that water was cold, as was the two-mile hike up the steep hill back home. I was always careful around ice after that.
It was about a fifteen-mile bus ride each way between our house and Magnolia High School, where I attended seventh through twelfth grade.
The bus was driven by our neighbor Emery Huggins, who lived about a mile further out Proctor from our place. Emery had little control of the kids on the bus. Most days were uneventful but occasionally pandemonium would break out. Spitball wars using compacted wads of chewed up paper could be epic and paper airplane contests were common (Emery was a special target, of course). Practical jokes with chewing gum were routine.
You always had to look where you stepped or sat down. The best place was the last seat in the bus, but of course the big kids always commandeered that spot.
The school bus also was the scene of my first and only fistfight. For some reason, an older and much larger kid who lived further out Proctor started to sit behind me and torment me in countless ways.
Of course, telling him to stop only gave him the response he wanted.
After several days, I lost my temper, turned around, and bloodied his nose with a well-placed punch. Never again did he bother me. I learned something that day about bullies.