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Remembering Miss Sadie

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Aug. 26, 2001
I had a rare opportunity to return to a childhood place this summer. For two weeks I carted children to Highland Park each day for swimming lessons.
What a wonderful chance it was to stroll the grounds again, remembering how things were when I was a girl. Anyone in my 30- to 40-something age range is sure to remember the bears, the raccoon, the monkey, the owl and the deer that once lived there.
And the plane, gray and old, hoisted in front of the swimming pool. And Pancake Field, where you could get a free drink for turning in a fly ball.
I took a walk over near the carousel and stood, reminiscing a happy childhood at Miss Sadie's place. Anyone remember Miss Sadie? If you ever did meet her, you wouldn't forget her.
She lived in a beat up trailer across from the carousel, just in front of the creek that runs through the park and next to Watson's Drive-In, home of the best hamburger in town. She had a large, white horse and a pony that all the kids rode. She didn't mind if we fed her animals, bathed them or played on them. Puppies were always around. Kittens, too.
And Miss Sadie loved children, too. She put on puppet shows each day, puppets she made herself. She had even handcrafted a stage. She was a master story teller. And although she had a sign saying "10 cents a pony ride," I don't remember her ever collecting a dime from me or any other child.
She was our babysitter during the summer months, the answer to any mother's prayer, grinning at us though sparkling blue eyes. Her wrinkled smile told us we were welcome. She lived to have children near. Every kid in a 12 block radius knew her. And we loved her, too.
I remember her coming home one day, pulling up in her light blue Volkswagen bug, spreading her arms around us waiting children as she got out of her car. It was unusual for Miss Sadie to not be at home, and we had waited patiently for hours for her return.
There were no pony rides that day. Instead, she retreated into the quiet of her trailer. It was one of the last times I saw Miss Sadie.
It wasn't long after that they came and took her trailer away. Where she went, we never knew. We only knew we missed her.
Now all that remains of Miss Sadie's place is a bed of manicured grass. The bridge connecting the pool and the old Pancake Field is no longer there, nor are the bears, the raccoon, the owl, the monkey or the deer.
The plane is gone, too, along with Watson's and their wonderful hamburgers. What will always remain are the joyful memories of Miss Sadie, happy summer days spent with the little old gray haired lady who loved us all.
Thanks for the memories Miss Sadie, wherever you are.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for the Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.