Granadpa’s car in front of the “infamous” garge.  I don’t know the make or model of the car.  If anyone knows what it is, please tell me.

Some time after my grandfather died, our family moved into his old house on First Street N.E. in Massillon, Ohio. It was in 1950, and I was 13 years old. Grandpa had a huge three stall garage that he parked his coal-hauling dump trucks and his car in. The big garage not only had 3 stalls, it also had a big walk-around attic, and a full drive-in basement. Grandpa worked on his dump trucks down in that basement, and he had a large work bench and a ton of tools down there.

The attic had all kinds of good stuff in it. My uncle Walter loved sail boats, and he had made large models of them and stored them there. Along with the boat models, there were old photographs of family members long gone, antique type dishes, clothes, blankets, and many things that I have forgotten about.

One day, for what ever stupid reason, I thought it would be a good idea to play with matches up in that attic. I picked up an old rag, lit a match, and watched as the rag began to burn. I quickly realized that I would have to drop the rag before it burnt my fingers, but also realized I couldn’t drop it on the floor of the attic or it would burn the garage down. I quickly opened a window and threw the burning rag out.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that there was another roof below the window that I threw the burning rag out of. It was an extended section of the basement, kind of like a big porch. The roof had a tar and asphalt roof coating, and it was in the middle of the summer, which made the tar hot and gooey and ready to ignite. The roof was just waiting for some stupid kid to come along and throw a burning rag on to it.

The roof quickly caught on fire, and when I realized what I had done, I ran downstairs in an attempt to put it out. The only thing that kept the entire garage from going up in flames was the fact that my Dad had seen the flames, and he had grabbed an old tarp and was up on the roof beating an smothering the flames by the time I got down to the burning roof.

I was of course very apologetic about starting a fire that nearly burned the huge garage to the ground, but extremely relived that my dad had been there to put the fire out. He was quite understandably upset about the playing-with-matches incident, but he didn’t discipline me for it, although he had every right to, and he certainly should have. I learned from my big mistake however, and never “played” with matches again.




I am a 77 year old retired Northrop-Grumman Corp. Facilities Engineer. I worked at Northrop's Pico Rivera and Palmdale facilities for a total of 13 years, and retired 1n 1995. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for over 54 fantastic years, and we have 3 excellent children (all boys) 7 wonderful grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. My hobbies are playing the piano (actually, more like learning HOW to play the piano) and restoring a 1937 Plymouth, although sadly, I have made very little progress on it in recent years. I drove road race go-karts until the age of 71. I never grew up, I just got old.
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