Editor’s note: This is another column in Bill Boyd’s new series, “The Way It Was,” about growing up in Marysville. Bill continues to work with the Union County Historical Society to obtain information for his stories. With Marysville and Union County celebrating Bicentennial anniversaries in 2019 and 2020, respectively, these articles help depict what life was like in those early years.
When I was a kid, I really liked apples, and I always looked forward to our late summer and fall trips to the apple orchard. It was located on Orchard Road, just outside of Milford Center.
The best part of visiting that orchard was when we first stepped into the big room where they displayed the apples. There were bushels and bushels of freshly picked apples in the room. The varieties changed with the season, but the wonderful smell there was always the same.
Maybe 40 feet or so from the display room was their cider press. We always stopped there to watch the cider being made. My dad would buy a gallon, and I couldn’t wait until we got home to start drinking it.
By the way, I’m sure there are a lot of readers who also drove down Orchard Road to buy apples over the years, but I bet very few of them know how the road got its name. It wasn’t because the apple orchard was located there. It was named before the orchard existed. The Historical Society tells me it was named after a family of early settlers in the area named Orchard. How ironic is that?
But as fond as I was of that orchard with its row after row of apple trees, I must tell you that my favorite apple tree was five miles or so away. It stood in the backyard of our next-door neighbors, the Robb sisters. They lived on Fifth Street, where Dave’s Pharmacy stands today.
What made that apple tree so special? First of all was its size. It was the biggest apple tree I ever saw, larger than any of the trees in the orchard. Then there was its growth pattern. The branches were positioned to make it perfect for climbing. All the neighborhood kids loved to climb the tree. A lot of its branches grew horizontally so there were great places for kids to sit and talk. Bill Porter and I spent a lot of time in that tree just climbing and sitting.
But the best thing about the tree was the apples it produced. They were red apples that ripened in late summer or early fall. They were a lot like those Winesap apples my dad bought at the orchard. Sometimes Bill Porter and I would spend a good part of the afternoon eating those apples as we climbed. When I got home for dinner I couldn’t eat a bite. My mother might feel my forehead to see if I had a fever. If I wasn’t eating, she thought I must be sick. I wasn’t sick, of course. I was just full of apples.
There was one other thing that made that tree really special. During the ‘30s and ‘40s, Hollywood was turning out Tarzan movies one after another. For the next few days after a new Tarzan movie came out, the tree drew kids from all over the neighborhood. It was the perfect place to play Tarzan. The oldest kid, usually it was Richard Liggett, got to be Tarzan. I can still hear him saying, “Me Tarzan …You Boy.”
Bill and I were almost always the youngest kids in the tree, so one of us would be Boy, and the other was Tarzan’s pet chimpanzee, Cheeta. Actually, Bill and I both preferred to be Cheeta. You can’t imagine how much fun it is for a six- or seven-year-old boy to pretend to be a monkey.
Those wishing to contact Bill Boyd can e-mail him at email@example.com
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