Editor’s note: This is the 58th of a series about growing up in Marysville during the late 1930s and the 1940s written by Bill Boyd. Each article is a snapshot of the people, businesses and activities during that era as seen through the eyes of a young boy.
Boyd was born in Marysville in 1932, graduated from Marysville High School in 1950, and lived the greater part of his life here.
Like most other young boys, I had a fascination with fire trucks when I was a kid. I got a really nice toy fire truck for Christmas one year, and I played with it a lot. It even had tiny hoses on miniature reels in the back part of the truck. You wouldn’t believe how many imaginary fires I put out with those hoses.
As I got a bit older, I played less and less with that fire truck. However, I didn’t lose my fascination with real ones. In fact, whenever there was a fire in Marysville, I jumped on my bicycle and went to it. That was easy to do, because we all could tell pretty much where the fire was by listening to the siren on top of the fire station. There was a kind of code that told you what part of town the fire was in. A single long blast signaled that the fire was in the downtown area. I have long ago forgotten the code for the other areas. However, two blasts might mean the fire was on the north side of town. Three or four or five blasts would mean it was in other areas.
So as soon as I heard the siren, and pinpointed the area of town, I hopped on my bike and was off to the fire. In the fall, primarily in October, fires were often outdoor leaf fires. It was a common practice then for people to rake their leaves into piles on the driveway or garden. Then they would burn them. I loved that smell of burning leaves, but sometimes a wind might come up, and the fire would spread. So autumn leaf fires were not uncommon.
(Those wishing to contact Bill Boyd can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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