A Christmas Surprize

When the boyz returned home from visiting their mom’s for Christmas, Emmons carried in a large plastic storage box. I looked in the box. It had over a thousand photos from my childhood right up through our divorce. I didn’t know they still existed.

One of the images was a photo probally 20 years old.  I took it after my Mother and Aunt told a story about how they would walked to elemtery school together.

/Donna Emmons LaFolletteDarlene Emmons Blanford
The Emmons Sisters

These sisters would walk together to their elementary school somewhere on the south side of Indianapolis. I don’t think they had moved to Southport yet. They lived not so far south but still south of Prospect Street and Fountain Square. The school had a number for a name, something like PS-31 or 41 (my aunt corrected me – Eleanor Skillen School #34). It is over 123 years old. As only siblings can do, they sometimes tortured each other on these walks.

The story goes, Aunt Darlene would walk behind, hanging her arms over my mom’s shoulders, and resting her chin on top of Mom’s head, just like the photo. Except she would weigh down Mom (Donna Emmons LaFollette) so that Mom would practically carry Darlene.

The crux of this anecdote peculiarly notes, mom submitted to this sisterhood shenanigans several times, at least more than once. Finally, my mother realized the physics of the situation, squatted down, then sprang up, ramming her head into her sister’s chin. I’m not sure if an injury occurred or blood flowed, as they’d always started laughing and bantering at that point in the narrative, forgetting to finish.

I took that photo in the front yard of my cousins’ house. Their pose illustrated the event.

I wonder if my failing recollection describes the incident anywhere close to how they told it or if I’m overusing dramatic license? If the latter, I hope Aunt Darlene doesn’t out my nostalgic sentimentality.

When asked to confirm or deny this story, my Aunt,Darlene Emmons Blanford,said – “You nailed it, Mike.” 


So, there!

Walking to and From School

Eleanor Skillen School #34

Mom talked about walking to her grandparents, finding the Schomburg’s door unlocked, walking through the house, and finding no one was home. So she headed straight out the backdoor to walk to Prospect Masonic Lodge on Prospect Street.  She would find my great-grandparents cooking in the kitchen!

That’s over 10 Blocks, closer to 15!

Donna Emmons LaFollette grew up on a different day.

Old Prospect Lodge № 714. FA&M

Mom and Aunt Dart’s elementary school, back in their day.

Eleanor Skillen School #34
Eleanor Skillen School #34

My writing got called “smarmy”

A good friend of mine, who often suffers my little pieces of prose at my request, called my writing “Smarmy.” 

I had to look it up: Here


The school is 123 years old. It does have a new building. 

Eleanor Skillen School #34


As for Smarminess:

As for smarminess, I never use one noun when you can add three grandiloquent adjectives around an Oxford comma. If God didn’t want smarmy prose, he wouldn’t have created adjectives, damn it!



Stompers with Modifications
Stomper With Mods
Stomper Pull

Procrastinating My Morning by Reminiscing

In my Facebook feed this morning, I came across a post leading me to a video of a short autobiography piece with Eddy Goldfarb. Looked kinda fun, so I pulled it up on my second screen and let it play while I worked on the first screen, letting my emails trickle in on the third. I didn’t really pay attention; most of the video progressed without me noticing, then I heard him mention Stompers. The dude invented the Stomper!

Stompers! Stompers were a big hit at the start of the ’80s. I was in elementary school, 5th grade. Since my mother taught in middle school, she’d drive us all to that building in the mornings, and then my sister and I would then walk over to the elementary. We would often wait 45 minutes to an hour before our short jaunt to our building because the middle school teachers had to be in their classrooms well before the elementary building opened the doors for students. I remember waiting with the middle schoolers who had formed a Stomper club that met in the mornings on the mezzanine overlooking the gym.

They had a Stompers sled-pulling, climbing, and racing contests. The PE teacher Dan Mullins or the shop instructor (my 52-year-old memory fails me) made a climbing mountain and a sled-pulling arena. Kids would tinker with the toys to make them stronger, heavier, or give the wheels more traction. Some Stompers were elaborately painted. Kids would spend a lot of allowance money on accessories and modifications.

I remember being quite envious of the toys; they were not something my mom would readily dish out money for an impulse purchase. She joked that I could get one out of the items she would confiscate from disruptive students during her Language Arts classes. Santa must have left one or two in my Christmas stocking because I did end up with a couple. Alas, the fad had waned by the time I attended class in that building, and the club lasted only for that one year. My interest must have moved on, too, as I never became engrossed with the customization as others had. Still, Stompers were a damn cool toy for us, old-timers.


Stompers Collecting


Good ol’ fashion Stomper Pull

Wikipedia – “Stompers were first created in 1980 by A. Eddy Goldfarb and sold by Schaper Toys. These toys were battery-powered vehicles that ran on a single AA battery and featured four-wheel drive. They were driven by a single motor that turned both axles. They were the first battery-powered,

electric, true 4WD toys.”



Bradie Shrum Elementary
Bradie M. Shrum Elementary



Salem Middle School
Salem Middle School