When my son was moving into a college campus apartment a few years ago and needed furniture, a kind neighbor offered all the furniture from his deceased parents' house. They were clearing it out, getting it ready to sell, and all of the sentimental pieces had already been distributed to family. "He is welcome to whatever is left," the neighbor said with a sly smile. "But there's only one catch."
"Uptown" in my small hometown in northwest Ohio was a half block south of our house and four blocks to the west along the lengthy main street, which crossed the river. In those days of the mid-1940s, it was safe for us kids to walk, run or play anywhere in town as long as our parents gave permission. Since I had already run errands for them uptown, my folks decided that at age 9 1/2, I was...