I lived on the wrong side of the tracks for that. It wasn’t really the “bad” side of the tracks; just more like the “old people with no kids” side. There was a total of 8 kids on my side of tracks, and 6 of them were in my family.
There were, though, a couple of kids that I was friends with who lived out on the highway. One summer, one of these buddies had a cousin stay with him for a few weeks. It was nice to have someone new to hang with and to call a friend. He was from a place that I had never heard of called Decatur. He was kind of quiet, but he liked to play baseball, and that was nice. He told us about cable television and a channel called Home Box Office where you could watch movies all the time. It all seemed a little far-fetched to me. I didn’t know it until later, but this kid’s family had all recently been killed in a house fire - his mom and dad, and his brothers and sisters. He was the only one who survived.
After his Philo vacation was over, he went back to live with relatives in Decatur. He gave me his phone number so we could keep in touch. A few times, I called him to see how he was doing.
My mom wasn’t happy about me having a friend in Decatur that I wanted to call on the phone. According to her, it was expensive to call there. Whenever she let me call him, she would set an egg timer out, with strict instructions not to be on the phone when the timer was up. That’s okay, though, we usually ran out of things to say before we ran out of sand.
Recently, I tried to do a google search of fatal Decatur house fires and his last name, but nothing came up. It would have been interesting to read about it after all these years. It could be that, even though his new home was in Decatur, that isn’t where the fire happened. I’m not sure. To this day, I can't see an egg timer without thinking of my month-long best friend Tim.