Told by James Heath (retyped by April Heath Pastis)
One day when we were coming home from school, we came across some kids playing in front of their house. Well like all kids would we stopped to say hi and pretty soon they asked us to come inside. So, we did of course and we went up to one of the sons’ room. There were three kids that lived there. We had a great time and pretty soon it was getting dark.
It was a rule that we should be home before the street lights came on, so we hurried out of there. They asked us to come back tomorrow and of course we did.
They didn’t live but three or four houses away from us and we spent a lot of time over there after school. It never occurred to me that I didn’t see them at school, I just enjoyed playing with them. As I recall they had a lot of great toys. We were poor and most of the toys we had had been made or carved out of wood. But these kids had store bought toys. They seemed to enjoy our company though they didn’t talk much.
Every day and weekends we’d go over to their house and hang out with our new neighbors. One Saturday, we were all Derald and I, were dressing quickly to get over there to do some serious playing. Kittie, who always tagged along, was rushing to catch up with us.
Well, my mom noticed that we were getting ready to take off again and she asked where we were playing these days that took up so much of our time. Well, we told her about the three kids who lived down the street.
“What house?” mom asked, trying to figure out what we were talking about.
With a look of puzzlement, she decided she’d walk over with us.I thought she was just being friendly and wanted to say hello to our new neighbors.
So, Derald, Kittie, my mom and I all walked down the street to the end of the Ridgeway. When we arrived there was nothing there. I mean there was a lot and a house foundation, but there was no house.
“Is this where you’ve been coming every day?” mom asked.
“Well, Yes and No,” I said. There was a house there and there were three kids that we played with.
“Jimmy,” my mom said softly, “I used to play there with three kids when I was little. But the house caught on fire and everyone, including the three kids, died in the house.”