Everyday as a child I wanted a new adventure. My adventure with stilts lasted a long time. On one of our trips to California I saw stilts and pogo sticks for the first time; in fact my cousins had a pogo stick. They taught me how to use it and I fell in love with them. I wanted a pair stilts and a pogo stick badly.
After coming back to Chillicothe it wasn't long before our Green hills grocery received a shipment of stilts. I began to whine about needing a pair and I wouldn't stop until I had them. Back then I had to work for Dad to get what I wanted, so I did. We were doing some concrete work so I shoved sand off the truck. I have a picture to prove it.
I learned to walk on my new stilts quite well. I would walk up the steeply banked Leeper Street to Hwy 65 (Washington Street) and startle people in their cars as they zipped along. Then I would stroll across the viaduct on stilts. They didn't know if I was going to fall into traffic or off the bridge to the railroad tracks below.
I got so good I would walk into stores with them and everyone would stop and watch. It wasn't long before they broke because they were made of thin metal tubing. That's when my Grandpa came to my rescue. He volunteered to make me a new pair out of wood. Wow! I thought this was a cool idea because he could make them even taller. By that time Grandpa had moved into town and lived in Highview at 220 E. Polk.
I made a lot of friends in my neighborhood. The boys that lived on the corner had a small pond across from them. We played around it all the time. One day they dared me to walk across it on my new and improved tall stilts. I was brave (dumb) back then so I accepted the challenge. This is so neat! First, I walked around pond’s edge to learn how to walk in mud.
But as I struck out across the pond I began to realize that the mud near the middle was much stiffer and deeper than around the shoreline. My 2x2 poles were getting harder and harder to pull out of the Missouri gumbo. Finally, I realized that I could not move at all. My friends were laughing their heads off. Now what to do--- I'm bogged down and it's not a warm day.
I had never stood on my stilts so long. My arches were getting sore from standing on the narrow boards so I would shift back and forth to ease the pain. I kept trying to wiggle the stilts out until finally I got one loose. With one leg out that meant that it was impossible to move without pushing the free leg back down into the mud.
I was lost on what to do; I tried and tried to pull the other leg loose. Finally, I tumbled face first into the water and mud! For you see this pond was very shallow. It had maybe a foot of water---the rest was mud. Well you can guess the rest of the story. My little adventure for that day was over and I had to go home. My friends had a big laugh at my expense. DB