The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
Take a trip down memory lane as bloggers Danny Batson and Gary Thomas recollect their experiences while growing up in the Chillicothe area. We hope our discussion starters, pictures, and articles will evoke your personal recollections of Chillicothe; we invite you to share your stories with all of us. So, let us discuss the days gone by and have fun!
Let's Run Away by Danny Batson
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About this blog
By Gary Thomas
Hi, I am Danny Batson (Knouse) and I am a lifelong resident of the Chillicothe area. I was born in 1951 and graduated from CHS in 1969. I took over my dad’s septic tank business that he founded in 1937. While I have been in every state ...
Chillicothe: As We Remember

Hi, I am Danny Batson (Knouse) and I am a lifelong resident of the Chillicothe area. I was born in 1951 and graduated from CHS in 1969. I took over my dad’s septic tank business that he founded in 1937. While I have been in every state (except Hawaii and Maine), there is no place like home! I love taking pictures of old and unusual things and sharing them. There is beauty in everything, if we look for it. I have three Facebook pages filled with local pictures that may be of interest: “Where Has Danny Been,” Chillicothe Now,” and “Danny Batson”.

Hi, I am Gary Thomas and I was born just across from Central School in 1942. I graduated from CHS in 1960 and MU in 1964. After two years in Army, I completed a graduate degree at the University of Chicago in 1970. After working in software development for more than 40 years, I retired from Raytheon in 2007. I have an abiding interest in history and in researching past events, places, and people. My latest project is developing a history-based chronology for Livingston County from 1801-2000.

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By Gary Thomas
May 4, 2013 6:38 p.m.

"Let's run away tomorrow. Let's see if you can stay all night with me. Then we can get up early in the morning and head down the railroad track. We'll have to be back by supper though."
That's how we would work it when we were young. There was a railroad going out of Chillicothe in every direction and we knew the first stop for each. Some were further away than we could go in a day's journey, but we would go at least four or five miles away from town.
We wouldn't get far before we were side tracked by something interesting to see or do. A good "dump dig" was a gold mine of treasures for kids. After a little exploring, it was back to the track. Walking the rail without falling off was always a challenge. The bridges took the most time to explore and were the scariest. When a train came we did not want to be in the middle of that bridge!
Throwing rocks off the bridges into the water was the most fun of all. We became good at rock throwing. If you've never hung from under a bridge while the train sped just over your head, you have never lived. Trying to catch the animals we saw along the way was the next best thing.
Putting pennies on the track and watching the trains run over with those heavy wheels was cool. We would take the flattened coins to school and show them off. I know all this was "child's play" and might sound boring; but we were young and had to make our own fun back then.
We respected private property. But we just thought that if no one saw us, it was OK to go on in. We just wanted to see new places, animals, and have fun. Sometimes we would run into the farmers and talk. Once they found out who we were and what we were doing they left us alone to do as we pleased.
Some would even tell us stories of their young life. You know, I think that helped us later on in life (we learned how to listen).
BB guns were a lot of fun to take along and as we got older we took our 22s. Of course, as young kids we never checked the weather before leaving home. We never had enough food or water either. That's how we learned to drink rain and river water. Maybe that's why I remember some of those trips so well!
Lightning and rattlesnakes were the top fears, it was the sign to leave the area. Coming home ringing wet, cold and muddy was the norm. If we got home late, which happened often, my parents would always ask where we had been and we would always have the same answer "Oh, just down the track aways."
Living next to the rails was a good life. Even when the house shook and my bed moved from the vibration. When a train came through you couldn't even hear each other until it had passed. It seems now that I'm older I can see why they call the past the "Good Ol' Days." Most people will always make do with what they have.

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