The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D. Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip.
One of Spot’s tricks
One day I acquired from our washwoman a little half-breed Fox terrier pup which I named Spot He was a bright little fellow and I taught him many tricks, rollover, play dead, chase his tail, not touch the most tempting morsel held in front of him until I gave permission, beg, shake hands, speak, come to heel, stay put until I called, etc. He was quite a show-off and one day I dressed him up in a little jacket and pants like a monkey, with a little hat, got out an old hand-organ of my father’s that played music rolls, and, with myself dressed as an organ grinder, called on several neighbors who did not recognize us at first and seemed to derive much amusement from the performance until Spot’s pants fell down and we were recognized.
I now attended high school which was a long walk from our house and sometimes, when I started late, I would have to run part of the way to get there on time. (They didn’t take children to school on buses in those days.) Possibly it was this occasional spurt of running that gave me the idea, furthered by reading of the Marathon runners in Greek history. Possibly the medals I had won for distance running at Sunday School picnics had encouraged the idea. However, I was never very active in athletics and reticent about pushing myself forward, so it wasn’t until our high school talent scout, spurred by the upcoming intercity high school athletic meet to which all of the surrounding towns sent their best contestants, persuaded me to train for the mile race. From then on I ran back and forth from high school until I felt in top condition. The great day came – the biggest event of the school year – and while nervous and none to confidence I lined up with the contestants from eight other schools in the county. BANG! went the starting gun and we were off. I don’t recall how many laps it took to equal a mile, but my strategy for the first few was to merely keep up with the majority and save my reserve powers for the final laps. This I did and finally found only one runner ahead of me. I put all I had into it but my utmost brought me in still second. However there seemed to be some controversy among the judges until it was officially announced that I was the winner, the other fellow having cut a corner on one of the laps. This caused a bitter argument between the two top schools involved, Mount Vernon running about neck and neck on total points with its nearest competitor and on the decision of this race hung the balance and my role therefore, assumed undue importance. Anyway, my schoolmates in their enthusiasm, hoisted me on their shoulders and, being the hero of the day, escorted me all the way home.
For the rest of the week I’ll be continuing the story of Grandpa in his own words.