I first met Goldie
when I was about 12 years old. I had accumulated nearly two
hundred dollars selling rides on my little Shetland pony, Tony.
I had gotten too big to ride the little pony, and I wanted a horse.
I didn't want just any horse. I wanted exactly what I wanted!
eventually landed us at Dave Schock's place in Pitman, New Jersey.
[His house was still there the last time we drove by, but the barn and
the beautiful track are long gone.]
My father was also shopping
for one more horse, so we told Mister Schock what we were
looking for. He patiently brought out one horse after another
and let me take it around the track. I was getting embarrassed
for taking up so much of his time, but I was determined that I wasn't
going to buy anything until I found exactly what I was looking for.
Finally we gave up and quit trying. We apologized and started to
Then, Mister Schock said that before we went he wanted me to take a
ride on his personal horse. He brought out an authentic zebra
dun buckskin mare named Goldie. My chin dropped! Time stood still!
I was trying to hold back the tears. I rode the horse around the
track once. When I got back I said, "This is the one I want!"
He said, "Sonny, this is my personal horse. She's not for sale.
Besides, if she were for sale, the price would be 150 dollars." This
[WPA was paying 37 1/2 cents
an hour then.] 150 dollars?!? Without a moment's hesitation, I said,
"I'll take it." I remember that I reached in my pocket and pulled out
all my money. He looked over at my father. I think my father had
just messed himself.
Mister Schock was
so moved he let me have Goldie for my very own.
| From that day until
the day I left for the military she was my friend, my transportation,
and my recreation. She had such a smooth back that I seldom
bothered to use a saddle. Contrary to what you see in the
movies, horses can't run for very long at one time, but they
seem to be able to maintain a brisk trot for many miles. In the
Cavalry we rarely asked the horses to run and, even then, for just a
short stretch. But we would trot for miles at a time. Goldie
used to trot from Riverside to Lumberton without getting the least bit
I always took her to the same blacksmith for shoes. He did nothing but
shoe horses his whole life. He said that Goldie was the soundest horse
he had ever shod. [His daughter
told me that I had the prettiest blue eyes she had ever seen. I
told her that she had pretty things, too.]
we moved from Riverside to the farm on Ark Road, one of the
things I missed most was my weekly gymnastic classes at "The Turners."
Of course, Goldie was the answer. Every Friday evening Goldie
and I would set out for Riverside as soon as the cows were
milked. Friends near the gym took care of her while I was
inside. When the evening's activities were all over and all of
the girls were gone, Goldie and I would set out in the dark for home.
Most of the trip involved Creek Road. Creek Road was a gravel
road back then with practically no light. In one section it was
so dark I couldn't see at all. But Goldie didn't seem to have a
problem. When I saw a few lights in the distance as we approached Masonville, I knew she had made it again.
On nights that we weren't going to Riverside, IT WAS ICE CREAM. There
was a small country store and gas station 3 or 4 miles from our farm
where they sold huge double-decker ice cream cones for five cents.
Kids from all the neighboring farms gathered there almost every night
to eat ice cream and do what kids do. When Goldie and I arrived,
we would just hang around until some family pulled in with little
children. They all knew how the routine went. The kids
wanted a ride on the horse more than they wanted ice cream. The
parents would pay for my ice cream in exchange for taking Goldie into
the orchard to play with the children. Goldie loved it. She
loved little kids. It beat standing around waiting for me to go home.
During the school year I often rode Goldie to school instead of taking
the bus. My father had a friend who had a small farm next
to the high school. I left Goldie there while I was in school.
The old man loved Goldie almost as much as I did. He even kept
feed there for the days I came by. He would always meet me and take
the horse so I could make a dash across the field to the school
grounds. He would unsaddle her and brush and feed her and just
treat her like family. Often the man's grandchildren would come
over and he would saddle up the horse and lead her up and down the
driveway with one or two kids aboard. Goldie loved it. The
man really spoiled her. I used to sit in French class and watch
them across the field having a nice time. [When I wasn't gazing
at Miss Tucker!]
| When I left for the
army, my good friend Harvey bought her and moved her to Bellmawr,
where he lived. He gave me the same 150 dollars I had paid for
her many years earlier. He loved her, too. When I came
home on leave from the army, the first thing I did was go to Bellmawr
to see Goldie. However, when I got there, Harvey and Goldie were
out for a ride. However, as I approached the front porch I
saw a girl. She had the brightest eyes and the sweetest smile I
had ever seen.
I said, "This is the one I want!"
Mae and I were soon engaged to be married!!
| Harvey later sold
Goldie to his friend George. George invited me to come down and
ride Goldie whenever I wanted to. I would ride her to Mount
Ephraim so Mae could see the horse that brought us together.
| George sold Goldie
to Tex Ritter, father of John Ritter. Goldie appeared in several
movies with Ritter, although she was getting along in years.
When her movie career was over, she was retired to a farm in
Pennsylvania. Someone told my brother that she had lost all of
her teeth and couldn't eat regular horse feed. Jim said that we
would buy her at any price, but they wouldn't even talk to us.
We even tried to find the farm in Pennsylvania. Our plan was to steal
her and take her to Jim's ranch to nurse her back to health. We never
found the ranch or Goldie.
Goldie lost a shoe once.
Even though it was still in good shape, I didn't try to have it
remounted. My uncle owned a chrome plating business in
Philadelphia. I asked him what it would cost to have this
horseshoe cleaned and chrome plated. Uncle Harry knew what it
meant to me, so he promised to give it the best he had for nothing.
He really went all the way. It is beautiful.
I eat breakfast in exactly the same spot every morning. I have
Goldie's shoe placed on the wall in such a way that every time time I
look up from eating I can focus on that chrome plated horseshoe.
Mae and I talk about what she should do with it when I'm gone. I don't
know what to say. Sometimes I think I want it with me while I'm
being cremated. Other times, I think about just having it added to the ashes.
never to get that attached to anything!!