I read with interest in the newsletter about Dr. Mitchell, since he was our family doctor, delivering me and each of my siblings, and since he lived in the house next door to the house where we lived in my early years. There was one detail in the story that I think may be incorrect. It pertained to the “large sturdy sliding board in the back yard.” My father Bud Thurman and my grandfather Uncle Bob Thurman built a large combination sliding board, swing and teeter-totter in the vacant lot to the east of our house. Later Billy Miller’s house was constructed on the site and the sliding board-swing-teeter-totter was moved to the backyard. When we moved to the house at 226 E Elm which had previously been the funeral home owned and operated by my grandfather, the sliding board-swing-teeter-totter was moved again to the new house and a basketball backboard was added which I spent many hours on during my high school years.
I do have a story about the sliding board involving Johnny Mitchell. When he was quite young, probably 3 or 4 years old, I climbed to the top of the sliding board and encouraged him to follow me. I must have been 7 or 8 years old at the time. He reached the platform, but could not hold on, and fell to the ground below the sliding board, breaking his arm in the process. Needless to say I was not highly regarded by Lucille, Johnny’s mother, after that event, I can well understand why she was unhappy. Doc Mitchell took it all in stride as just one of the obstacles Johnny encountered in growing up.
I have a couple of other items about Dr. Mitchell. He was a real fan of sports cars. I remember the classic MG he owned when we lived next door, and later he owned a Jaguar. I was very envious since that was a time in my life when I had a very high regard for sexy sports cars.
Behind his garage he built a workshop where he made rifles from scratch. He could be found in the workshop many an evening turning a rifle barrel on his lathe or preforming some other rifle building task. He never did anything halfway.
One of Dr. Mitchell’s friends was a doctor in Springfield who owned his own plane. The friend like to show off by doing aerobatic stunts over the field behind Dr. Mitchell’s house. One time he decided to land his plane on Hwy 60, which was a nearly new road around what was the southern edge of Republic. It was not a smart move, since his plan clipped a pickup truck which happened to be driving on the highway at the time. It was all very exciting to me, a young boy at the time, but I wasn’t aware of any consequences that came from that action. While the plane sustained some damage in the encounter with the pickup, I think the pilot was able to take off from the highway and fly back to Springfield.
Bob, thanks for the corrections; if something is recorded wrong and not corrected it soon becomes the truth.
I, too, remember the plane and sports cars.