Bob Harrison Pt.6 180-01O
JULY 2000

It was the summer of 1932, a hot, humid day in southeastern Ohio. The state road running by our house was a blacktop highway composed of a mixture of gravel and tar, an acceptable mixture but not as good as our modern asphalt roads of today. In those days, we kids went barefoot from the middle of May till the first of October, give or take a week or two on either end.

I mentioned the composition of the road for a reason. During the hot months, the tar would “bubble” up into little mounds so that when cars or trucks would pass by you could actually hear the pops as the tar bubbles exploded.

They could also be exploded in another way, i.e. by barefoot kids walking along the highway and sticking their big toes into the bubble, which was another way I found to entertain myself back then. However, it may have been for my entertainment but it was to my Mom’s despair. She had the job of cleaning off the congealed tar at the end of a long day of bubble busting. Mom would beg and plead, cajole and threaten but we invariably found our way back to the road when all other means of play were exhausted.

It is possible that the reader will not remember what historical event took place on March 1, 1932 but rest assured that I am going to tell you.

It was the day that Charles Lindbergh’s baby was kidnapped and was the primary news item in every newspaper for months. Along with the news items were other articles warning all parents to watch their children and cautioning all children to avoid strangers or anyone who tried to entice them into their cars. Today, we would call it a panic that had invaded the homes of all Americans. Parents were constantly reminding their kids about what could happen.

Today, I suppose there would be “counseling” for all the children but I guess we didn’t have sense enough to be traumatized by the event.

At any rate, we continued to live our lives much as before except to watch suspiciously if a passing car seemed to be slowing down as it approached our position, ready to flee for our lives if it looked as if we were the target of some nefarious kidnapper.

It didn’t occur to us that kidnappers wanted money, not kids. And, as we were the poorest people in Clermont County, maybe the entire state of Ohio, any would-be kidnappers would turn up their noses at two young lads with tar-covered feet. We were definitely non-kidnappable material BUT WE DIDN’T KNOW THAT!! Well, on this particular day, two cousins from down the road came by and asked Bill and me to go swimming with them. After getting Mom’s permission, we grabbed a pair of short pants, (no swimming trunks for us--they cost money) and set off for a two-mile walk to the swimming hole. The swimming hole was located on Lucy Run, a creek not big enough to be called a river and not small enough to be called a creek so it was called a “Run”. I guess.

When we reached Lucy Run, we could see huge carp swimming easily, looking for all the world like goldfish in a family aquarium.

We walked upstream from the road about a quarter of a mile and were soon frolicking in the cool waters. After an hour or two, when we were pretty well shriveled from the cold waters, we called it a day and set out for our return trip home.

The first quarter mile of the road consisted of a small hill with a bend or two before it leveled out into a straight stretch home.

It was on this hill, just out of sight around the first bend that we heard the sounds of a child screaming and a man’s stern voice telling him to get in the car.

As we approached apprehensively, our fears grew, for we all had the same thoughts. SOME KID WAS BEING


Suddenly, there they were, and we were witnesses to a sight that made us tremble with something other than the cool breeze playing over our wet bodies.

The man was physically forcing the kid into his car and, after getting him settled down securely, drove away with the kid still screaming something about, “I don’t wanna go with you.” We scurried home much faster than we had left it a few hours earlier.

After telling our story, Dad walked to the next farmhouse where my Mom’s brother lived, called the County Sheriff and reported the incident.

It was the next day when we got the Sheriff’s report. They had found the man and the boy. It turned out that the man was the boy’s father, that the man and his wife were separated and divorced, and that the man was taking the boy with him for the weekend as allowed by the divorce court’s visitation decree.

And that ends another summer afternoon of my childhood.

Eventually a man named Bruno Hauptmann was arrested, tried, convicted, and executed for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby.

Today, there is much controversy as to whether the wrong man was executed. There is even a theory that Lindbergh, himself, may have been involved.

Bob Harrison - July 24, 2000