My Life Before QE2 - #1

In the 1940’s we were living in Galesburg, IL, my birthplace, as well as that of the great Carl Sandburg. Ronald Reagan had also lived there decades earlier. Our life was centered around the First Christian Church, a church Reagan could have easily attended when he was a kid there.

My first starring role came as a singer in the children’s choir, which was led by the much loved Dr. Sykes who sat at the organ console and directed the choir while playing the organ from there. The choir was on the stage behind the organ. But for my starring performance I was standing in the opposite direction near the back of the church, a floor up, in the front of the balcony. I was one of the kings featured in We Three Kings, but I don’t remember which one. It was surely a Christmas time service, hence the decision to feature the stars in the choir. Dr. Sykes had asked me to sing to the people in the farthest corner of the church, which I did, really belting it out. It was a high point in my early life.

They had outfitted us with white robes tied in the middle of the front with giant red bows. It was okay for the girls in the choir, but I thought very inappropriate for the boys, especially those with solos to sing. I would have preferred to have wrapped the robe with my leather belt holding my holster and cap gun, but no one ever asked for my fashion advice.

On the drive home after church, my father always stopped at the store to buy a copy of the Sunday St. Louis Post Dispatch, the really big thick one of the week. I liked to read the many colored pages of the comics. And if I was really lucky there might also be a picture in the sports section of my friend, Stan the Man Musial.