|Bowler Hall (today)|
The Proctors lived in one of the other houses. He taught music at Hiram College and played the organ at the church, conducted the choir. One odd memory: If you sat downstairs in the church (not in the balcony, where I preferred to sit in adolescence--my parents couldn't see me and I could screw around), all you could see of Mr. Proctor, seated at the organ, was the top of his balding head--except when he was conducting, then you could see an arm now and then pop up into your sight line, keeping time, cuing singers.
Mrs. Proctor had suffered from polio and was in a wheelchair. Every morning, Mr. Proctor would carry her in his arms downstairs. Even my self-centered 11-year-old heart was moved by the sight of him carrying her out to the car, her arms around his neck, her head lying gratefully against his chest. She had a little dog, Judy, she kept in her lap, a dog that made White Fang and Cujo look like Beanie Babies. If you got anywhere near Mrs. Proctor, Judy would snarl and bark her grim, sanguinary promises. Once, Judy ran over into our yard and bit my grandmother in the ankle, then raced back, leaped into the wheelchair of Mrs. Proctor. Who apologized. (I have never in my life been afraid of something so small.) The Proctors had three children (as we did): Jane (a bit younger than my older brother), Mary (a year younger than I), Johnny (about my little brother's age). So we got to know them pretty well. Jane had in her room a little shrine to actor/heart-throb James Dean, who'd died about a year before in a car crash. She did not think James Dean jokes were funny. But the three Proctor kids and three Dyer kids were friends. I saw Jane for the first time in decades last summer at our Hiram Schools reunion. She looked wonderful, and we laughed about Judy.
(Oddity: In a couple of years we moved down the hill north of town to 11917 Garfield Rd.; soon afterwards, the Proctors bought the land next door and built a house designed principally for her--all on one floor, wide doors, low counter tops. And Judy reigned as before. One day, in high school, I parked my dad's car in our drive but didn't get it all the way in Park. Walking to our door, I heard the sound of a rolling car--ours. I ran after it, never pausing to wonder what I'd do if I caught it. It ended up in the Proctors' yard, its back wheels in their little artificial fish pond. My dad saw nothing amusing about it. Though the tow truck guy sure did.)
I don't remember what music Mr. Proctor played on 3 June 1962 for the Processional. I'm sure it was something stately.
TOMORROW: The Baccalaureate Saga continues!
And a reminder: I have some books available on Amazon--some "real," some digital. See link: Dyer's Books on Amazon