MATCHSTICK DARTS

 

                        

                                 By Bill Scott, Class of 1961

I sure enjoyed the website article on Parkway Baptist. How wonderful it would be if all young folks had an opportunity to grow up in a church environment that provided them both spiritual and social type memories that you and others have of that time in your life. I made a point of recommending that story to my Anderson first cousins who live in the Phoenix area. They and their Mom, Johnnie Kate Anderson, attended Parkway when they lived in Minden in the 50’s. Aunt Johnnie was good friends with and still has fond memories of Nina Wright and her family.

                          

   Wanda Wright, Daughter of Nina Wright             Clarence Hardy

And speaking of fond memories, Nolan Bailey’s story of homemade Oakridge toys was one I really enjoyed. Especially his recollections of home made racing carts and matchstick darts. My cousin Clarence Hardy and I built a racing cart in the summer of ’57. Flying down the steep hill on North Roosevelt and trying to make that 90 degree right turn onto Park was a real challenge. Especially as the front axle/steering system got a little wear on it and would bind and not turn as much as you wanted. Or even worse, more than you wanted. And heaven help you if a car was coming down Park from the opposite direction. Steer to daylight no matter what! Usually the one not riding the cart would wait down by the curve and watch for cars. But that was no guarantee a car would not be coming by the time you got there. I wasn’t there when it happened, but my cousin reportedly flipped the cart in the curve one day. He told me he didn’t quit rolling/sliding till he hit the hedges in a neighbor’s front yard. He was pretty “skint” up so I took what he said as being true. I believe the cart had flipped when the front axle came off from the stress of too many runs into that 90 degree right turn.

 

I don’t recall when I first learned to make matchstick darts. I do remember the last time I made and used them. I entered Northwestern in the fall of ’62 and became friends with a fellow from Tallulah, LA. At some point during that first year we began playing matchstick darts in his room. Seems like he may have had a regular darts set but the sound of the regular size darts hitting a target board on the wall made too much noise in the old wooden dorm we lived in – appropriately called “Rebel Hall.” Our solution was matchstick darts thrown at home made paper targets thumb tacked to the inside of full length wooden closet doors. That entertainment lasted for months before we finally noticed that the thousands of matchstick dart strikes against the inside of that door had produced a “very noticeable” change in the surface. It looked as if someone had worked it over with a meat tenderizer mallet. He was concerned he would make him pay for the door if things got any worse so we put aside our darts and decided to study a little instead. Turns out that was the smarter choice anyway.

 

And the good memories just go on and on.