In 2014 I lost two more people I grew up with in the 40’s and 50s. They were people I thought would live forever, but I guess that was because that is the way we think as kids. These two will join the others who made up my life back then, and now are no longer around. They are however still with me, and will be until my time is up. I wrote a Mid-Missouri Memory about some of those people, and why they are so unforgettable.

Characters make the memory

Sedalia was full of memorable characters when I was a kid, and I believe those characters were one of the things that made my childhood something worth remembering. The best thing about characters is they do not realize they are characters. As a matter of fact there are probably some people I grew up with, who put that label on me. I hope so-- because I think it is a compliment. There are several different descriptions in the dictionary on the word “Character,” but the one I am talking about is the one used to describe “a person with a unique way of acting, which sets them apart from others.” Characters are people who do or say things we remember all our lives; things we tell others about when we are older- (sometimes without mentioning they came from that other person.) Donnie Harbit was one of those characters from my childhood. I have written about him often, which is because he did so much that is memorable while we were growing up. In a past life I believe Donnie must have been a stand up comedian, or maybe a Court Jester. He was always center stage whether it was at school or in my living room. He was a naturally funny guy, who was always entertaining, and kept everyone around him laughing. When Donnie was on, it was like having George Gobel, Jack Benny, and Red Skelton as houseguests. John Closser was another of those unforgettable characters from my past. I tried my best to emulate John when I was young. In fact I made a fool of myself many times, trying to copy his mannerisms, and his way of turning simple everyday events into something interesting and humorous. I still find myself using some of the mannerisms, and quips, John used all those years ago when we were kids. Any one who knows both of us however would tell you I have never done John justice. Some characters I only appreciated as I got older, they were people I did not really think of as memorable while I was growing up. As I got older however, some people refused to stay forgotten: People like the old Wolf Hunter, and his half starved wolfhounds, the cat lady of North Hurley, who would let all the animals loose the dog catcher had in his truck every chance she got, and a man everyone called Lefty, who only had one good arm, but played a great game of horse shoes at Washington Park. That’s the way it is with characters, they keep popping up whenever we start thinking about those long ago days of childhood. When they pop up for me, I can-not wait to get to my computer, and write their story. I often think how boring my past would have been with out Donnie, Lefty, John and all those other characters who populated my past. I also think about how un-interesting my stories would be without them.

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