Me? I was dying a little. He doesn't understand. He is driving his bulldozer/crane-whatever-monster machine right into a major part of my life. Removing large beams effortlessly and dropping them outside in a pile.
Much of who I am today was molded to some degree in that building. It wasn't my home or my church but it was a place where I spent many, many hours of my childhood and quite a few as a young adult.
It was the Elizabeth City Boys Club on Ehringhaus street.
I remember attending the Boys Club on main street in an old building that was also used as the Elizabeth City Police department. The boys club, I believe occupied two floors, the second and third floor of this old building. But the gym was possibly on the first floor but only assessable to us by going up stairs from the outside entrance and then back down some stairs on the inside.
Then some property was bought on Ehringhaus street. I remember in 1963 they had a special celebration on the empty property. We roasted hot dogs over open fires and played lots of games.
After the building was built, I spent many hours playing ping pong, pool, basketball, boardgames and dodge ball and so many other things. There was a library for reading and a shop for building things and a TV room and a game room and of course a gym.
I can still smell the fresh popcorn and hear the sneakers squeaking on the gym floor and the constant slapping of the ball on wooden paddles and the whizzing of the woodcutting saws. I can hear the shouts of competition and the storytelling and the laughter of boys of all ages.
One particular night we were having our annual Christmas party and it came to the time of giving away prizes so we were summoned to the bleachers in the gym. They drew the name for the flashlight and I did not win. Then the radio and I didn't win it either. My hopes of winning were over because I certainly was not going to win the bicycle. In fact, when they called my name I just sat sadly on the top bench waiting to see who won. Somebody must of smacked me or something to get my attention. "YOU WON!" What? "I won? I won!" I jumped off the bleachers and ran out to my new red bike. They told me to ride it around the gym in front of every body and I almost forgot how to ride a bike all of a sudden.
My whole football career happened right there on that property one day. Yep, my whole career in one day. During practice, someone stole my watch and I got mad and quit football. Shame really, I probably could have been a great football player. After all, I weighed in at about 115 as a senior in high school.
Later in life, I began coaching basketball at the boy's club and had some pretty good teams. In fact one of my boys is now the High School basketball coach at a local high school. (He must have forgotten everything I taught him).
Well, another part of my past is by now flat on the ground and soon to be hauled away. Makes it a little tough to ride by there now.
But I still hear the sounds and smell the smells and am grateful for Mr. Don Helms and Mr. Rose and David Hodges and so many others who invested in me and hundreds of other young boys over the years.