A Springtime Adventure in the Hills

It was Spring in the W.Va. hills. The Daffodils were out and so were the Morning Glories. The April showers had turned everything green once more, and the neighborhood kids could now play outside without their heavy coats. It was Spring break and Easter was just around the corner. Most of the neighborhood kids were thinking about their new suit of clothes for Easter, or where they were going after Sunday School to show off their new outfits.

Not “Squeaky.” She thought of other things. Difficult to understand, “Squeak’s” Mother had always called her an enigma. She didn’t fit. Although she dressed up like the other little girls and went to Sunday School, “Squeaky” didn’t care much about clothes and shoes and having ribbons in her hair like they did. No, she preferred catching June bugs, climbing trees or just wandering off into the woods to pick blackberries, alone. She had a mind of her own and an independent spirit that girls weren’t suppose to have back in the fifties. Called a “tomboy,” “Squeaky” could out-run, out-jump and out-climb most of the kids on her block. For an eight year old, she was little
but tough.

Home for Spring break, “Squeaky” decided to build a Soap Box Derby. She had watched Stymie, Alfalfa, Buckwheat and the other fellas on “The Little Rascals” build one and had, also, seen how her brother, Joe, and his friends made them too. They always tried to run her away saying, “this is for boys only,” and “girls are jinks,” but she watched them anyway. Soon she made her very own. For more than a week, she worked on it in her backyard. Using old pieces of wood, some rope and four wheels from a baby carriage, she hammered and nailed them together. Finally, her Soap Box Derby was finished, and ready to be driven.

As “Squeaky” pulled her Derby up the steep hill called Miller Street, neighborhood kids came running to watch. Reaching the very top, she climbed in and with a mighty push, she was off, rolling down the hill in her very own Soap Box Derby. ” Whee,” she said, as the girls cheered her on and the fellas watched. Down came “Squeaky,” almost reaching the bottom, when suddenly, her rope broke, she lost control and ran into a tree. Bam! For a moment everyone held their breath but ‘Squeaky” was all right. She climbed out of her Derby smiling. “What fun that was,” she said, ” I almost did it!” “Yea,” said the kids as they all gathered round. ‘What courage you have to try that,” said one of them. “And you made that Derby by yourself!” said another. ” You’re our hero “Squeaky” said the fellas as they hoisted her up on their shoulders.” “From now on, we’re calling you ‘Squeaky Miller,” because you’ve proven yourself and we promise to never again call you girls. . .” jinks!”