Ernie B——t was one of the first fellows that I got to know when I began working at the Chrysler truck plant in Fenton in 1968. His real last name was Bullock and maybe still is if he’s around. I was 18. He was 33. He’d be 88 today.
Ernie grew up in south St. Louis. I have always been fascinated with the city. All of my grandparents lived there or had at one time or another. Grandma Amy lived on Virginia near Marquette Park. Grandad and Grandmother Jackson lived on Potomac near Hampton and Chippewa. To a boy from the country, they lived in another world.
They had something in St. Louis that we didn’t have in Jefferson County. Pavement! I can still remember how great it was to ride a bicycle on pavement. Didn’t matter what pavement. Streets, sidewalks, parking lots. They were all fabulous compared to the gravel road that ran in front of my house. We had no pavement anywhere. None. Roller skating was impossible. Riding a one speed, balloon-tired bike on a gravel road wasn’t impossible but you weren’t going far. I was always comparing city life with rural.
On a Sunday, you might find Ernie at Sandrina’s on Arsenal. He once told me of an alley game called Bottle Caps. I’m not sure if he played it there. It had rules like baseball but was played with bottle caps and a broom stick. I’ve never tried it but it seems like it would be very tricky to hit the pitched bottle caps.
This post about Charlie Notter and his corkball games put me in mind again of Ernie and his bottle caps.
Much thanks to Charlie’s son, Ed, for sending this along.
Doug Houser February 26, 2023