The summer before I entered the 8Th grade we moved from our home in Pratt, Kansas to a little town in Grant County Oklahoma called Lamont. It has a population today of 465 people and I think it was not hardly any bigger back in the summer of 1964. My stop-dad had gotten a job transfer and that is what packed us up and took us on that little summer jaunt. And that is what it was...cause we moved back to Kansas before school started in September. Can't remember the circumstances of the move back, but I know we came back. Anyway....I digress. This is my memory of Lamont, Oklahoma.
This was just a tiny town and you could walk anywhere you wanted to go. The Main street was about a block long. There was a grocery store, a restaurant , and movie theater. And that is about all I remember. I remember a man named Leroy who stuttered and made fun of himself. Whenever he would start to stutter he would say "back up and start over Le.Le.Roy" and then he would try again. We thought he was a hoot. And he taught all of us how to drive a wheat truck. We would help out in the wheat fields with harvest and he would give us a bit of cash. Not much, but any cash made us feel rich. Driving that wheat truck was so much fun.
I remember the movie theater would have a show that would be there for about 2 weeks. It cost 50 cents to go. And once you bought a ticket and went you could go back and see the show again as many times as you wanted while it was in town. We did, too! Maybe that is why I can't watch movies over and over again anymore. And I don't remember the title of a single movie that I saw that summer but I remember hanging out at that theater a lot.
That was also the year the Beatles came to America. So listening to Beatles music was a big part of that summer...."I want to hold your haaaaaaaaand" A neighbor girl, Susan, and I would swoon in front of her TV. I was in love with Ringo and she with Paul. She was also in love with my brother Fred. Wonder what ever became of Susan.
The biggest thing to happen the summer we were in Lamont, Oklahoma was the night the grocery store burned to the ground. Heck it was probably the biggest thing to EVER happen in Lamont. We heard the sirens. Everyone got out of bed and dressed and ran to main street where the whole town gathered to watch the grocery store burn. All of the kids thought this was a big block party. We ran up and down the streets playing and having a great time. I am sure the adults were huddled wondering where on earth we would have to drive to get groceries now. And some were probably worried about what would become of the jobs they would lose due to the loss of the store. But to us it was just a big party. Turns out we did most of our shopping 19 miles up the road in Tonkawa, Oklahoma.
I remember once evening walking home from the movies and getting closer to home and hearing our mom crying out loud. We raced to the house. She was doubled over having intense abdominal pain. We had seen her do this before but this time it was much worse. I don't remember the details or how it was worked out but I know that my grandpa came from Valley Center, Kansas, about 70 miles away, picked her up and took her to the hospital in Wichita, Kansas. She had her gallbladder removed.
And we packed up and moved to Kingman Kansas.....that was one fine summer!