As most readers of this column know, a lot of my writings are about growing up in Chelsea in the 50's & 60's. Chelsea back in those days was probably similar to Anytown, USA. Everyone knew everyone, most went to church together, shopped in the same places and just simply lived the small town life--which today, most of us would glady return to.
Today's column is dedicated to a childhood friend of mine who died last May 3rd. Gordy was part of the 'ol Chelsea gang when I was growing up. He was several years younger than me and had five brothers and sisters. The Fetters were a major part of Chelsea. And Gordy had "Chelsea" written all over him. Let me share my thoughts on him, and please know that I write this with the deepest and utmost respect of him and his family.
First of all, Gordy was a kid who absolutely never turned down a "dare." He was afraid of nothing. He was one of those kids where someone would eventually state, "I bet Gordy will try it." And he usually did. And he reaped the consequences of his fearlessness--the joys of victory when the dare was successful and the agony of defeat when not so much! But Gordy always got himself up and was ready once again. However to go along with this unfearing trait, he also was a "mouthy son of a gun," (only way I could put it). You see in a small town, kids sometimes got to arguing over things and even now and then, fighting. Being a little mouthy, Gordy always, I mean, always got the last word in--even if on his bicycle from thirty feet away. He used, (as did others from time to time), variations of my last name, when he wanted to "rile me up." And he did!
Gordy had a unique physical trait that may or may not be known to very many people. His belly button was NOT in the center of his belly like everyone else's. He loved showing it off and if I know Gordy, he probably charged five cents to a new kid in town to see it. You see, Gordy accidently shot himself when he was very little and, if memory serves me correct, the bullet went in near his belly button. During surgery, instead of just removing it, the surgeon simply placed it about an inch or two to the side of its' original spot. Ah, don't even ask or wonder where the bullet exited!!!
Another memory I have of Gordy is the day he was going around town spending all kinds of money. Remember, this is Chelsea in the early 60s and none of us kids had money. Pin ball machines cost only a nickle and only every now and then did we have nickles to play. But one day, Gordy was buying cheeseburgers, malts, pop, candy and playing PinBall to "beat the band." Where in the world did he get the money? Well, found out later, Gordy had found his Dad's coin collection. Gordy had one whale of a time until.....
After I got into high school and beyond, my time with Gordy became fewer and fewer. That's what happens when we "grow up." I was very saddened to hear of his death but I found out that Gordy grew up, became quite a man and made some wonderful contributions to the world. In other words, this young man who never turned down a care, made a huge impact on his corner of the world. He was a man that didn't believe in the word "can't" and always gave his very best in everything he did.
I remember the Gordy of ten or eleven years of age. I learned so much more of the Gordy of 58 years of age. He went on mission trips and made his life a life of helping others improve their lives. He was a strong Christian who did what we all seek to do---"he walked the walk as well as talked the talk." He had the biggest smile, (sometimes so big one wondered just what was he up to) and a huge infectious laugh.
Yea, Gordy is what little towns like Chelsea are all about. In his own way, he defined Chelsea just a little bit.
That's the Way I See It.
Let me know how you see things at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 319-327-4640. I miss Gordy Fetter and Chelsea in the 60s.