The Man with Outlaw Blood
By Dale Angel
There must be a reason for the name Profanity Lane. Do you suppose it’s because it is a street over from Hard Pan alley? The Oaks and Digger Pines love living there; add Manzanita and Buck brush. They make a cozy environment, especially for Rattlesnakes and Poison Oak.
Yet…at the end of the road is a group of pines nestled together creating a micro climate. When you step on the pine needles, it is soft and damp. It smells like pine resin in the heat of summer. I carry with me the conversation of the man who planted them.
He grew up during the Bonnie and Clyde era, the Daltons, and others like Baby Face Nelson. He talked with such familiarity, leftovers from his childhood. Somehow his blood lines were connected to these outlaws. He was a little boy with a severe cleft pallet and was shoved off not to be seen like a mistreated animal (his words).
His Uncle, his only advocate, was kind but he died. He left eighty acres to him. He sold it, put the money in his pocket, and walked to Kansas City. He knocked on doors until he found a doctor to fix his problem. It was as good a job as was available in those days. He was fourteen. His speech was impaired, but his joy in being able to communicate for the first time made up for it.
I teased him, calling him ‘the man with outlaw blood.’ A few minutes spent sharing thoughts made him happy. His humble graciousness made you happy to be in his presence.
He took home free Pines from the Arbor Day and Forestry trees and planted them in the Hard Pan among rocks. He put plastic pipes next to each tree. Every day, especially in the summer time, he put the hose inside the plastic pipes and deeply watered them. The trees began to cover the rocks. Today they tower over his yard. Shade is everywhere.
Profanity Lane and Hard Pan Alley off Keswick have history. I went to check on his project the street signs are no longer there, but his trees are.
A little house sits at the end of the road. In their front yard is a forest that is so wonderful to walk in it. The years have made the trees larger. The Perkins used to live there before they died. We never talked well, but we made social smiles and some transfer of material to share this with you. Coming up Keswick to a half mile to Lake Blvd the first road right will end in huge trees. It has been built up no one knows this history.
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Thanks so much to Dale for this snapshot of history. I lived on Keswick Dam Road back in the sixties very near to the location she wrote about. I wish I had known this at the time, but it’s better late than never.