DRAW!!! Boy Slaps Leather

Reader Steven McKeown sent me an email the other day, “Ken, I have some old pics of Cape … tornado damage; home coming parade pics, etc. … are you interested in them? They are all digitized…”

To be honest, I normally turn down photos from other folks because I still have a gazillion of my own to go through, but he said the magic words, “They are all digitized.” That might mean that all I’d have to do is to do some minor touchups and size them for posting.

When the 300-plus images taken by his dad, James D. McKeown III, showed up, I was blown away by some of the the images. These two shots of a boy in his backyard drawing down on the photographer are iconic. I wish my name was under them.

Another one bites the dust

Here’s what Steven could tell me about the photo:

Location is our back yard on 1736 Independence (house is still there, right next to the parking lot) … picture is facing north towards Whitner. The houses in the backgroud are on Whitner. I’m not sure who the boy is, but very possibly one of my best gradeschool friends, Brad McKee, who lived down on the corner of Whitner and Caruthers. I have long since forgotten who lived right behind us. Bobby Drace (sp?) lived up the street. We used to race the coaster carts down Whitner (and try to get them stopped before going out into traffic on Caruthers … or have spotters and we would coast all the way to the High School parking lot.

The little boys I shot a generation later were better armed.

6 Replies to “DRAW!!! Boy Slaps Leather”

  1. Wow, it’s good to see the old neighborhood as we knew it in the 50’s and 60’s. That is the view, sans cowboy, I remember from the McKeown’s back door.

  2. Steve,
    Bobby “Cob Knob” Drace (younger brother of Ricky Drace)lived across the street from the Brune’s on Luce St. the first block east of Franklin School. His best buddy was John “Monger Louie” Lewis who lived on the same block. Monger reminded us of “Pig-Pen”, the lovable dusty friend of Charlie Brown.

    We started the Coaster Cart Craze in the mid 1950s and our “track” was the Franklin St. hill that comes two blocks from North to South and dead ends into Luce at Franklin School’s Playground. There was no stopping before hitting the curb at the playground so we built ramps. After gathering considerable speed coming down the double steep hill we would literally fly 10-15 feet onto the playground. Needless to say – our hand made coaster carts were constantly having to be repaired, and bumps, bruises, and scrapes were common.

    Our favorite trick was to attach two or three carts together (in train fashion) with the bigger kids up front to guide and the little punks like Cob Knob and Monger Louie holding on for dear life in the caboose. Many times we had 7-8 kids on one “coaster train”.

    Sadly, I can think of 5 of our regular riders that are prematurely deceased. Joe Brockmeyer, Mike Schuette, Ricky Drace, Bobby Drace and John Lewis.

    Those were idyllic days of innocence.

  3. I was a couple of years behind this group. But it all seems so familiar. In my Franklin School class was Fred Vincel, who lived in the last house on the left as you were coming down that hill onto the playground.

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