ABC, as easy as 123, as simple as do re mi, ABC …

The first time we came to look at the almost-finished spec house at 6324 Blackhawk Road, what was then the last street in Indian Hills, the street was filled with assorted kids from just about my little sister, Cathy’s, age (she was 6) to just a bit older than me — I was 10. It was second semester of the fifth grade for me, what could have been a hard time to be the newcomer on the block. I was excited about the prospect of moving to the suburbs — IH was way the heck out back then — but after having spent a hellish few months in El Dorado for the first part of the fourth grade, I knew moving wasn’t always a walk in the park.

But this experience was about as pastoral and park-like as you could imagine. “Come play with us,” some of the kids shouted. They were deeply into a game, the rules and object of which escape me, but the chant my sister and I still remember.

“Bum, bum, bum; here we come, blowing our bugles and beating our drums.” I know teams were involved, and that actually sounds rather warlike, but they were friendly and welcoming warriors and we jumped right in (after excitedly looking at the house, of course.)

The four Fisher kids were there, of that I’m sure — Vickie was pretty and sweet and Rob’s bright red hair stood out in a crowd — but the rest are a blur of interested, smiling faces. We were excited about the house but even more excited by this tribe of suburban children who played right out in the street! We didn’t do that at our old house. But when you’re on the last street of a lazy suburb with nothing behind you but miles of woods, what little traffic there is yields to kids.

I’m not sure how big a selling point that was for our parents, but Cathy and I were hooked from the start. And the tribe grew by the month. We moved in in late spring, followed by Pam directly across the street (and my age!) in June. Beth and Buddy (Cathy’s age) arrived two houses down, on the corner, somewhere around the same time. We were all newcomers. But we immediately became part of the Blackhawk tribe of wild Indians.

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