A Few Episodes From My Wonder Years on Panther Street


I used to live here. A long time ago. We lived in the farthest unit back in the nearest building on the right. The one right behind the tree. I got the picture from a streetview google search. It was base housing on K.I. Sawyer AFB, located in the upper peninsula of Michigan, very close to a town called Gwinn and just south of Marquette. The base closed in ’95.

When I look at the picture it reminds me of a concentration camp. Which, is exactly the way that I remember it looking 40 years ago.

In the bottom middle of the picture, where the two sidewalks intersect, was my bus stop. It was my bus stop from the 6th grade through half of my 8th grade year. That was when we moved. It was early 1971.

When we first moved there I was in the middle of my 4th grade year and it was – if I have calculated correctly – 1966. Both of my parents were still alive and I hadn’t reached puberty yet. Puberty would come 2 years later. That was when I attended Gwinn Middle School – grades 6 thu 8 – and was the only kid in my gym class to have started it. I was the gym class oddity. It was awkward and I hated it.

*OMG, Davy Jones died*

Anyway, right there by the fire hydrant in the middle of the picture; well, that’s where I whacked David Treece in the head with a golf club. He had to get 5 stitches. It was a putter. He was standing right behind me and I swung it like it was a wood or an iron. I didn’t really know that much about golf because I was just some creepy little kid who was kinda clueless when it came to sports. 
 I wonder where David is now? I wonder if he still he still has the scar and if he does, I wonder if her remembers how he got it? 

A year later I joined little league and even though I totally sucked, I did become slightly more agile and knowledgeable about sports. The team that I was on, The Panthers, which by coindence was also the name of the street I lived on, came in second place that year. I got a trophy. It’s in a landfill somewhere.

The lone window, on the side of the building that is on the right, has some significance. I was staring out of that window exactly at midnight on New Year’s Eve, when 1969 became 1970. My parents had gone out for the evening and even though I was 12 years old, this is where my sister and I were being babysat. The babysitter wasn’t actually there. She was across the street with her boyfriend. There were five kids in that house and I was the oldest. So, I guess that technically I was in charge while the babysitter was across the street hanging out with her boyfriend.
Anyway, exactly at midnight I opened up that window and screamed, “Happy New Year”!

In the first unit of the building that is on the left and in the back is where the Barker family lived. There were 3 kids. Joe, Donny and an older sister whose name I don’t remember. I hated those kids. With a passion. Their mother was my cub scout leader when I was in Webelos.
Joe was the worst. He was a big time bully. During the winter he would through snowballs, and on occasion ice balls at me while we were waiting for the bus at the bus stop that I pointed out earlier. He was also the inventor of an incredible inane version of tag know as ‘dog doo tag’. He still owes me about 5 bucks for all of the lunch tickets that he swiped from me. I kind of hope that bitch is rotting in prison somewhere. 
Donny was a bully too, but he was a few years older than me and pretty much left me alone. The older sister whose name I can’t remember got totally plastered one time and walked through the neighborhood making an absolute spectacle out of herself. She was 16. I don’t think I’ll bother with wondering where they all are right now.

A lot more stuff happened to me while we lived there, but I guess I’ll talk about that later. I’m kind of over this for now. Plus, Davy Jones just died so I have to go look at all of the weepy fangirl posts on Tumblr.

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One thought on “A Few Episodes From My Wonder Years on Panther Street

  1. my husband lived on the corner warhawk and raider. 347 warhawks Ki sawyer. straight across from raider. they lived there from 1963 – 1966 . he has fond memories from there. though he was 3 when they moved there and 6 when they moved. nice to see someone else from the same time frame. he is very interested in more detailed photos of the building. we saw where you lived on panther, which is not too far from warhawks. the council of gwinn is talking about tearing that whole section down. he would love to see it at least 1 more time or at least have some photos of it. would you happen to have any? we would love to be friends with you. and share any info or photos we have on the property of ki sawyer.

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