Revisiting the infamous “Ditch”

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Most of our readers have no idea what I’m talking about when I tell them I was a raised in a ditch.  Yes, it’s one step up from being raised by wolves which explains most of my problems. The Ditch must have had its source somewhere in the Tundra and traveled through my yard and Martha’s on its way to the Gulf Coast.

Today I paid a visit to the ditch and had a long talk with my “Ditch Mate” Martha McHaney who died in an automobile accident in Houston on Friday. I could feel her spirit and know she is okay.

If you can envision that square space surrounded by seven or eight barefoot sunbaked kids, some turning summer salts around the iron bars and others setting off fireworks under the street in the tunnel which led to Martha’s house across the street, then you can understand the attraction of The Ditch.  It offered mystery, danger (snakes showed up from time to time) and a great place to hide from your parents.  During the rainy season, it became rapids we could ride on cardboard boxes.

It was like Six Flags on Broad Street.

There’s no telling what kind of toxins lived with us in “The Ditch.”  I credit my health today from the immunities I built up while playing in The Ditch.  No sanitizer existed in those days.

Phil, Martha, Larry, Barbara, Lota, Linda and I ended up in the ditch almost every day of our lives. Sometimes even Olivia and Tinker from the good side of the tracks joined us.  We talked about life in terms only a ten-year old can understand.  Sometimes the hooligans from Westbrook Street would invade our space.  But they would soon tire of our philosophical discussions and go back home.

Today, I longed to take off my shoes and run in The Ditch again.  One day soon, I’m going to do that. I’ll take my walker with me.

7 thoughts on “Revisiting the infamous “Ditch”

  1. My mother just called and told me to go to your website. I had no idea why, but like a good daughter should, I did as I was told. I can’t believe I’m at my table with my 3 kids off at their first day of school, reading about “the Ditch”. I am one of Phil’s daughters and feel like I also grew up in the Ditch!! I have such wonderful memories of it and all of West Point. This just put a smile on my face, on what was already shaping up to be, a too-busy-for-words day. I’m so glad I stopped what I was doing to listen to my mother!!!! Thanks for writing this.

  2. Oh Paige! I want you to know that I helped name you. Phil had that name picked out when he was 12. Just so glad he had you first and got to use it!!! Hope to meet you somewhere down the line. They are coming up in Oct. for our reunion and I’m sure I’ll see pictures. There’s a most recent post on The Ditch – i went back over there yesterday and played all by myself.
    Emily

  3. “The Ditch” was one of the best things about going to your house to play!
    The other attraction was your BB gun! When the days are cooler this fall, let’s meet and walk around some of our childhood “spots” and remember all of those that played there with us! What a wonderful time it was!

  4. My Daisy BB gun! I’d completely forgotten her. Yes, I wanted to be Annie Oakley. Failed at that almost as badly as I failed at being Julia Child.
    Yes. Let’s. Ruthie may be able to get the little train car from Prairie Arts and we can chug around town remembering the Glory Days of our Youth and places where we had our first kiss! Great idea!

  5. Isn’t it interesting how the “ditches” of WP filled so many of our lives. As a child, the “ditch” on Brame Avenue filled many hours for myself, Gerald, Glen, Lloyd, and Kenneth Taylor. They were great “brothers” to Sandra and I. Aside from the ditches, playing on Wyman’s tennis court and our home made baseball field in their pasture and swinging from the tree at Harry Steven’s pond, life would have been very boring. WP was a great little town to grow up in, such a close knit community.

  6. I was saddened to hear of Martha’s death. Her passing made me remember and appreciate the wonderful weekend that 14 of my classmates spent at my house about six years ago. We had a wonderful time together!
    It was good reconnecting with Martha (and others), and I will treasure all the memories…..especially those of Martha. Rest in peace, my friend.

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