Archive for Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ode to a good friend, Bill Powell

June 5, 2008

This week I lost a good friend. A friendship that lasted over 70 years, and I would like to tell you about some of my own memories of Bill Powell.

Although Bill was five years older then me, at that time the age difference didn't seem to matter. I was just a little kid that liked to tag along with my older brothers and their friends.

In recent years we did a lot of reminiscing about grade-school days, and he helped me a lot to remember things when I was writing my column for The Current. He had a good memory of people, places and events.

We also talked about some of the crazy things we did as kids, namely the rubber gun fights a bunch of us had in the old Rumsey barn, which was next to Seven Mile Creek right south of the bridge. Or the times we all played kick the can under the street light at the east end of Lansing.

We played Wiley Post and Will Rogers going around the world. We had a rope attached to a long pole centered in a big haystack on the Jamison Farm and we would swing around the haystack until we would crash. That was in 1935 when he was 12 and I was 7. There would be at least 10 or 12 kids involved in these antics.

We both had turns of coaching the grade-school basketball teams long before there were paid coaches. We both did an oral history for the Lansing Museum that can be read at any time after the museum reopens.

Both or our fathers were employees of the State Prison and there is much to be read about that.

When he got home from the service, we played softball at Hawthorn Park in Leavenworth and a lot of other places in the area. It was the original Lansing Merchants team and this was all through the late '40s and early '50s. He batted left-handed and had the best left-handed swing that anyone would want to see.

We rode back and forth to the games together many times and after the games, a carload of players would head for Homers Drive in.

Bill always laughed about how many Bar-BQ ham on rye sandwiches we would order, sometimes as many as 30 for one car, then Homer himself would treat us to a round of drinks.

Bill loved fishing and gardening but I think he was probably one of the greatest Lansing High School sports fans ever.

We will always have fond memories of Bill and will miss him very much.

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