Gamboa News

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Some Gamboa Remembrances

chronicled by
Mark "Jim" Driscoll

I too remember Hidalgo's pool and the good times there. His Dad once told me he had buried one of Bill's spare motor cycle engines in the back yard - apparently he didn't have room to store it. Also down the hill from the signal station were the biggest perch anywhere - I think it was Jake Baker who showed me that fishing hole (next to where the raw sewage pipe that empted into the Canal.) The fish we took home were usually caught off the bridge.

Jake also gave me two Guinea pigs when I was about eight - they quickly multiplied to about 30 - Randy Trower made me a cage for them. I was told not to cut the grass for them with a machete - I never did as I was told and cut my finger with the it, hid the cut from my father to avoid a spanking, got blood poison and ended up in Panama Hospital. Upon my return from the Hospital all my pet pigs were gone - later the gardener told me he ate them, and how good they tasted!. I remember his name - Mr. Yard, who was also the caretaker for the chicken farm that Alton White and Randy Trower that was had located near the gravel pit.

I also bought a Cushman scooter - when I turned 16 for $30, it did not run well so Art Holmes honed out the cylinder wall, I painted it, and sold for $60. Used the money to buy Anton Peterson's Indian 440cc bike (he was away in the Army), it didn't run until Fritz Cheney baked the magneto to eliminate the humidity, sold it a couple of months later for $120 and bought a BSA 500cc that was literally in pieces which Mr. Zelzman in Peter Miguel put together. Had a great time riding to school everyday with George Harris and on weekends with Penny Pennington's dad.

When we were in first grade the "older" kids had a smoking Club - they met under a large vine growing on the hill up from the school. To "join" one had to bring a pack of cigarettes, naturally I did and on about the third day there were about 20 of us all lit up when we heard a fire engine coming our way. We all ran out from under the vine as we thought we were producing so much smoke that someone had called the fire station. The fire truck passed - but there were some adults watching from up the hill and they had a good laugh (I think Mrs. Hope was one of them).

I believe the Shobe's lived next door to the Fueille's, was that Sibert Avenue?, we used to go read the comic books as they had the best collection in town. Was it Jimmy Shobe who made a helmet connected to a hose and a hand pump in order to retrieve golf balls from the golf course second hole - pretty well cleaned out the place. One day I was there diving for balls when Mary Joe Cole's husband ( ? Churchill) showed up with brand new scuba gear - still in a box - and asked me if I wanted to try it. So I was his guinea pig and when he saw it worked he used it.

This could go on and on so I better shut down - I sure enjoyed the hearing from all of you and perhaps Coila could send us Jeff's email, and Doris Henry's, and David Camille's!.

Do any of you remember when the Dredging Division moved to Gamboa, i.e. when the townsite was complete? I believe it was between 1935 (Lucy's birth year) and 1938 (mine) as she had lived in Peter Miguel for a year or two.

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