The Early Years

Peter Lamb At Six

My Mum's Pet Name For Me

My earliest recollection of my boyhood was from late in 1935, when I was three years old. I remember getting carried on the shoulders of my brother-in-law Curtis Meyers, and getting a lot of attention from the entire family. I had no idea what the fuss was all about. A lot of folks were in the house, talking quietly. Most confusing was the impression that my brother John was all dressed up and asleep on our piano, and he wouldn’t wake up to play horsey-back with me like we did most every day. Johnny had died of pneumonia a day or two before, and the viewing was in the Theobald living room. A fine and gentle boy, and a good brother. He was only 13 years old.

Johnny-12 Mary-14 Pete-2
Very few incidents stand out for me over the next few years, other than fun times, helping to tend the garden, and hawking beets, beans and radishes door-to-door to help with the family finances.

One day when I was about six or seven and my older brothers were at work, "curious Pete" did a little rummaging through one brother’s dresser drawers. Among the wonderful treasure of interesting items collected by teenagers, I discovered several small tinfoil packages, with the most unusual balloons sealed inside. In the upstairs bathroom, I proceeded to fill one of these balloons with water. I was surprised that the whole sink was filled with the container of water, and even more could fit in there.

I heard my brother scream from his room “Pete, where are you?” (There probably were a few other choice words mixed in there somewhere.) I panicked, and locked the bathroom door. My brother tried to talk me out gently, then with threats. I had no idea of the seriousness of my offense.

Taking a running start down the hall, my brother burst through the paneled door, breaking it into dozens of pieces. As I cowered behind the toilet, he tore open the “balloon” to dump the water, and stuffed the ill-gotten booty into his pocket.
Cookie came bounding up the stairs at all the commotion, demanding an explanation. (The boys were all pretty smart, and quick on their feet.) My brother said that he heard me choking in the bathroom and when I didn’t answer, he had to get to me quickly. He was a hero, and I knew better than to ever reveal the whole story.............until now.

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