In 1960s & 1970s, 4-William (Billy) King 1954-, POSTS on April 19, 2010 at 8:52 am

(Editor’s note: Uncle Billy/Bill explains: “This picture was taken of an impending rocket launch — you can see the look of concern on my part, the nonchalant confidence of my friend Billy Bell, the rocket owner, and all of our other friends hiding out in the dugout (in case there was an uncontrolled explosion). We would build these vehicles out of Estes Rocket kits and launch them — this one was for a 7th grade Show-and-Tell.

“It looks like we are launching in that old ball field called Kafer Park that sits across George Street from the old cemetery. (Amazing to think that I grew up in the same town as you did, isn’t it!) From this picture it looks like they have torn down the bleachers. I’m told that way back (before my time) it was the Colored Ball Field where the Negro Semi Pro baseball team played.”

When I asked Uncle Billy/Bill for the names of some of his fellow rocket-launchers, and good New Bern friends, he was smart to first raise an eyebrow: “If I give you names, will they get in trouble?” But, lucky for us, we got the list: “Joseph Lipman, Bobby Hughes, Guy Rose, David Francis, Ed Hancock, Billy Bell, Gary Peterson, Paul Stephens, John Crump, Albe Thomas, Warren Keyes, Steve Predaris, and Scott Hudson are a few of the names I remember.”)

  1. I believe you’re right about the location being Kafer Park. What were you using for a motor? I remember a rocket we used to launch at 1806 Tryon Road, but it seems like it had a baking soda and water motor. I remember it worked pretty well, reaching perhaps 60 to 80 feet, but I don’t remember who made it. I remember the box was about the size of a shoebox, so the rocket would have been about 10 inches long.

  2. So I vaguely remember this ball field… wasn’t it near the middle school that we all went to downtown? Wow, that really takes me back! If you were shooting off a rocket, I would have been in the dugout!

  3. What a great picture!

  4. I remember this!

    Steve Predaris

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