Baker Street Boys

Baker Street Boys

Some days …I awaken to still being

a Baker Street boy

A Texas fog of childhood

memories

Old run-down house …slowly remodeled

basement shared with brother David

Tree house construction – injuries

paper route days

Rock and roll came to town

Dallas concert

Shot guns by the railroad tracks

black bass dinners

Cousins next door…funny fence stories

Thanksgiving

Growing pains…Daniel’s asthma pump

James playing under the Christmas tree

Transformative time in our childhood…personalities

….likes and dislikes…longing again for Amsden

Mrs. Cook’s History class and trips to Colorado

Funerals to remember and riding the bus

Bicycle Saturdays at the Rialto…six Pepsi caps

Mowing grass at Tanglewood…one dollar per hour

Fifty hours a week…chiggers all over…sulfur tablets

Hot summers and cold winters…sleet

Leaning to drive…drivers’ ed…license

Thinking and planning…dreams

Memories of Baker Street …boys

page 95 – 96 Old Photographs and Wild Dreams

only available in hardcover on Amazon- order yours today!

Riding the Katy

The first time was special, remembering the cold

funeral in Dallas, for someone not so old

Fresh from the round house, engines did race

Denison station, big scary place

Mounting wrought iron steps to find the right seat

train car so full strange rendezvous meet

Shiny steel sculpted with curtains and wood

ladies in hosiery swishing a lilac good

Hearts beat as one when the whistle blew loud

feeling the movement riding a steel cloud

Sherman came fast fields of black dirt

gentlemen in their newspapers starchy white shirts

Gathering speed across empty winter grounds

foxes dance in the sunlight scatter at the sound

So elegant a world on heavy round wheels

windows in the dinning car table cloth meals

McKinney came next and then Dallas station

husbands and wives foreign relations

Riding the Katy a distant recall

dead rusty cars behind a rotting wall

A sweet dream of Texas gone for the time

only in dreams can you ride the Katy line

Page nine – Old Photographs and Wild Dreams

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Back Cover – Old Photographs & Wild Dreams

In the late nineteen nineties, during a construction boom, several blocks of downtown Los Angeles businesses closed their doors to make way for high rise luxury apartments, organic grocery concerns, work out spaces, and coffee shops. One of the stores scheduled for demolition was an antique shop with an eclectic array of sundries for sale. Since it was the last of a third generation family, when faced with extinction, they were happy to retire in a sunny climate with a generous nest egg. They held a “going out of business sale” event in which every item must go.

Some large items were from old circus venues and sideshows such as authentic costumes, swords, and historical documents. Stuffed animals sat beside some prized period furniture. After the sale was over, the shop was bare except for a stack of old dusty pictures in the storage area. The boxes moved to the alley near the dumpsters and forgotten. That same night a windstorm attacked the city and blew the boxes in the air and all over the streets. One such box contained old photographs, some over one hundred years old. As they blew across the city and picked up and wondered at, stories came alive and fired a few new, wild dreams. Here are those stories.

New Photographs and Wild Dreams

32

Thirty two counties and thirty two friends

Irish legends everyone of them

A pot of pure gold and an Irish grin

Step forth and enjoy the fun and sin

The walls tell the stories, ghosts whispering true

Guinness in the pint glass and Jameson not a few

Patrick is the Lord, lift up his banner

Associate with his angels and their heavenly manner

A well worn stage where music is born and played so well

Songs of a green homeland, a shepherd rings his bell

The bar is a friend to all who garnish a stool

To doubt or not believe this, why only a fool

St Patrick’s Day and Christmas, the ground swells and shakes

Funerals and birthdays, the love they do make

A star in the Almighty’s sky, the devil would agree

A long, long way from Claire, but its citizens you can see

-John K Bucher Sr,

from Old Photographs and Wild Dreams

To order a copy click on the link below:

Old Photographs & Wild Dreams

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My latest book is now for sale and you can get it from the link below. This is a beautiful hard back book with 100 poems, prose and stories covering a range of subjects: trains, bicycles, bars, cafes, California beaches, streets, Denison, abstract feelings, coffee shops, night hours, Hollywood, East Texas, old preachers, and cowboys.

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Homage to the Paper Boys and Girls of the Denison Herald

Denison Herald

When I was twelve, one of my class mates asked me if I wanted the throw the newspaper. On an impulse I said yes and accepted my first job. He told me to show up at his house with my bicycle about five am on Sunday. In the cold fall darkness in the Cotton Mill district of Denison, I learned to roll the largest size Herald of the week and how to wrap a rubber band around it into a growing pile. It was winter and freezing that morning but soon I was warm from squeezing fresh news print into a presentable round package. After he showed me how to load the one hundred and twenty papers into the dirty faded cloth paper saddlebags and then heft them onto my groaning handle bars, I had to quickly adjust to balance this heavy shifting load and still pedal fast enough to go down the early morning streets.

I was playing little league baseball at the time and even though I was not very good, I could still manage to throw out some heat behind each paper I slung into my customers’ yards. Sometimes I miscalculated and it flew on top of the roof. I had a few extra newspapers and on bad days, I used up all of them. For two years, I faithfully delivered the only news most people had access to on Coffin, Florence, Ford, Chase and Wilde streets. The Herald cost 40 cents per week back then and most of my customers worked long hours at the Cotton Mill. The mill paid them every two weeks and many of those mill workers had to pay me 80 cents right after payday as they could not afford it any other way. Even back then, some would try and dodge me when I came to collect what they owed. Soon I realized if I stopped giving them the home delivered paper, they would call the office, complain, and then pay after I resumed delivery.

Collecting the 40 cents each week took me out at night every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, to make the entire route. The Denison Herald wasn’t printed on Saturday, but all paper carriers were required to pay their  bill on that day. We owed the Herald 25 cents for each paper we received that week and got to keep the 15 cents. If enough customers weren’t home, or wouldn’t answer the door, there wasn’t much left, so a lot of Saturdays were spent going back to attempt collecting again. Since I lived in the Cotton Mill area, a man in a car dropped the bundles of papers in front of my house; others who lived near down town had to go to the plant on Woodard where it was printed and wait for it.

Those times are still burned in my memory. It was a daily adventure that included rain and sleet, hot summers, huge Sunday editions, dogs, and sketchy homes where things twelve year olds shouldn’t have seen was common. At Christmas time, a lot of elderly women presented me with home made candy. I always had money and often stopped at Coffey’s Store and bought an RC. They let me rummage through the bottle cap reservoir and take out enough Pepsi caps to go to the Rialto on Saturdays after I paid the paper bill.

I will never forget those two years. Much has changed now and most humans don’t read anything much less a local newspaper. The demise of the Denison Herald is one of the saddest events of my life. I know it is called the Herald Democrat and is merged with Sherman’s paper, but it is not the same.  I accept that times change and this bygone era will not return. This is definitely not a complaint but I just wanted to pay homage to US, the carriers by bicycle of the Old Denison Herald. I can not finish this with out taking my hat off to those who still carry on this thankless tradition of delivering the news. Cheers!