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Kathleen's Castlewood, or "Been There, Done That" (about 1935 through 1940s)
by Kathleen Barrett Price
My favorite memories of Castlewood go back to:
Swimming from a dock in the Meramec River. Also crossing the rapids in groups to walk down to Lincoln Beach so we could save a dime (the price of the ferry);
Riding the running boards of the cars or their front fenders whenever we took a short ride to one of the stores; going through creeks to catch crawfish for my brothers’ fishing excursions;
Going wild blackberry picking so my Mother could bake her blackberry cobblers;
Shooting skyrockets and roman candles off the cliff on the Fourth of July;
Having company almost every Sunday, enjoying Mother’s pot roast and fried whole new potatoes;
Ewald’s famous breakfast every Sunday morning after going to Mass at the church at the foot of the hill. The church only had benches and we knelt on the floor. (Fans were distributed when the weather was steaming.)
Walking through the woods and to the cliff, which was our great delight, and climbing down to one of the caves;
Swinging on the bag swing from one of the great oak trees.
One of the great events was the election of a Mayor for Castlewood. It was, of course, not for real but it gave the community a lot of fun during the course of campaigning.
We were campaigning for the Swish Swish Party. The Swish Swish Party won the election. After the acceptance speech on the steps of the Cross Roads Inn (also known as Nig's for Nig McDaniel), the victory party began at the All Inn Club. Well, you never saw so many cars and so many people -- no more cars could come up the hill to our place, so they just stopped on the road. There were barrels of beer rolled up the hill and the party lasted and lasted until one of the fun lovers left one of my mother's canaries out of the cage, saying that it needed to be free. Things cooled down after that. I was young at that time and couldn't understand how a person could down so many beers, but I still had fun watching all the merriment.
My other stop was the Bob-o-Link Club. That's were Mary, Les and their friends had their clubhouse, which was directly down the hill from our All Inn. Well, a bunch of fellows rented the place and they did a lot of partying there. I was always welcomed, especially by Les. Mary would tell me to go up the hill to our place, but Les always insisted that I could stay, and so I did. There was always singing and dancing and acting crazy -- fun for me to watch.
A memory from Doris Curran, sent from her daughter Kacy (11 Jul 2006):
My mom Doris and your mom Kathleen spent many good times together in Castlewood as children, along with "the twins" [Kathleen's older brothers]... One of mom's favorite memories is when the boys would drive your mom and herself down to the restaurant. they would sit each girl on the big headlights of the car and head down the hill.
7.11.07 - photos added
Photo (top): Kathleen Barrett on the bag swing.
Photo (middle): Bob Barrett on bag swing.
Photo (bottom): Kathleen Barrett at 15, in 1940.