By Richard Karns Special to the Herald Review Let me tell you about some people who influenced me while growing up in Reed\u00a0City. Growing up in the 1940s and '50s, Reed City was very different than it is for those\u00a0growing up here today. I have wonderful memories growing up in our neighborhood. There was always someone to play with, whether in a large group playing tin can alley,\u00a0capture the flag, hide and seek or just a few going swimming. My childhood friends\u00a0were Jim Carlson, Karl Jonsson and Phil Peffer. We had such imaginations. The\u00a0neighborhood kids would play at the \u201crock\u201d (several cement slabs) or at the old mill and\u00a0pretend it was some castle, pirate ship or anything else we could think of. I remember\u00a0one year when Karl\u2019s folks built their new house. The big pile of dirt that was left over\u00a0from digging the basement was a great place to play cars. We would ride our bikes and\u00a0were with each other all the time when we were pre-teens. As time went on we each\u00a0found new things to occupy us. Change and time doesn\u2019t stand still for anyone, and it\u00a0didn\u2019t for us either. I still like to remember those times. I remember those neighbors that were my parent\u2019s age, and some older. I\u00a0grew up visiting them, too. It was interesting to hear what their lives were like growing\u00a0up and listening to their stories. Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Knapp and Mrs. Hesselsweet lived\u00a0across the road from us, and it wasn\u2019t uncommon at all for me to go visit them. They\u00a0never seemed to mind and paid attention to me. I remember Mrs. Knapp always had\u00a0cookies on hand. Mrs. Hesselsweet would tell me stories from the books she had on her\u00a0shelves. She was wonderful and full of all kinds of knowledge. I remember sometimes\u00a0coming home from school, and would see Mrs. McInnis, Mrs. Wing, and sometimes my\u00a0cousin Louisa Carlson sitting on Mrs. McInnis\u2019s side yard and I would stop and talk to\u00a0them. I don\u2019t remember what we talked about, but enjoyed being with them. I think they\u00a0enjoyed me too. Growing up the youngest of 12, I didn\u2019t do any thing new, it had already\u00a0been done by my siblings, so at times it wasn\u2019t easy fitting in. Being part of these\u00a0people\u2019s lives was significant to me, because it helped me fit in with those around me. Looking back, maybe they needed me as much as I needed them. Mom and dad would not let us go down town unless we had a reason for going. We couldn\u2019t go just to look around. When I was old enough to go by myself, I would ask\u00a0mom if I could have a penny to buy a two-for-a-penny candies. Going to Star\u2019s or Ben\u00a0Franklin\u2019s was always the destination. Ida Sharlow, Midge Puff and Eva Kienitz were\u00a0like an extension of my parents, making sure we didn\u2019t get into trouble, and if we didn\u2019t\u00a0act like we were suppose to, our parents knew it before we got home. Was this\u00a0meddling? My parents never thought so, and really, we knew what was expected of us.\u00a0They were there as a reminder. My sister Arlene worked at the Red and White Grocery\u00a0Store on the corner going north on Higbee and Upton. One of her co-workers was Vera\u00a0Morlock. I would go there with mother, and Vera would smile and say to me that she knew\u00a0what I was there for. Arlene would buy me two hot dogs and I would eat them on the\u00a0way home. To this day a hot dog cold out of the package is still one of my favorite treats. I remember Alberta Norman. Of all the teachers that ever took an interest in me, she had\u00a0the biggest impact growing up and to this day. She was the music teacher for the Reed\u00a0City Public School and directed the choir of the Methodist church my family attended.\u00a0The lessons she taught me: your voice is like any other instrument, you need to take care\u00a0of it and exercise it. She told me annunciation was just as important as hitting the\u00a0notes, and that all the words of the song were important. Those listening should hear\u00a0them all clearly. Ronald Telviti was the band director and glee club director. He gave me some\u00a0singing lessons that helped build up my voice and vibrato. He had me sing\u00a0"Oh Danny Boy," and "Moon River"\u00a0with the high\u00a0school band during two concerts. Nine of my older siblings were born in Irish Town, and is where my mother\u2019s\u00a0mother and six of her siblings lived. When we would go there to visit, we were able to\u00a0go to Houseman\u2019s store, which was just across the street. My Uncle Erv Dolley was the\u00a0janitor and bus driver at the school. I remember in one of the early grades I called him\u00a0Uncle Erv, and was told to call him Mr. Dolley by my teacher, and I said to her that he\u00a0really was my uncle. Life was simpler then. There seemed to be more rules and the whistles were\u00a0apart of them. There was the 8 a.m., 12 noon, the 5 p.m. and the 9 p.m. curfew.\u00a0We always needed to be home, or on our way by the 9 p.m. curfew. Do you remember\u00a0when the stores stayed open until 9 p.m. on Fridays? This wasn\u2019t only for\u00a0shopping, but socialization as well. I remember that on some Fridays, both sides of downtown Upton Avenue were full of cars. Although times have changed and many of the people I have mentioned in this\u00a0article have left this world, I think it is good for the soul to remember those who have\u00a0influenced your life and helped you become who you are today.