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Goldie  

    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!
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    My search 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 leave.

    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 was 1937.
[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 winded.
    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.]
   When 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.

Epilogue

    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. 

Try never to get that attached to anything!!