I don't have the memories of Dallas Village that my brother and sister have because they are older than me. We moved out of the village when I finished the 3rd grade at Rison.
The memories that I have are centered around the YMCA and Mr. H.E. "Hub" Myhand. Most of all of our activities involved the "Y." In the summers we played baseball at the Dallas Park, now the Optimist Park; and during the winter months, we played basketball and indoor softball in the Dallas YMCA gymnasium.
Hub Myhand was the Director of the Y and his wife was the village nurse. Mrs. Myhand had an office or clinic in the Y. Both Myhands were paid by the owners of the cotton mill. Hub and those that we could get involved in sports as coaches were the babysitters for the village. One of the things that is vivid in my memory was our practice of slipping into the ballpark in the morning when the park was closed. I guess we just couldn't wait for Hub to open the park in the afternoon or it could have been that this was all that we had to do. To get in, we had to scale the wall. We always climbed the wall on the east end of the grandstand opposite Hub's house. His house was located at the corner of Oakwood and 5th Street (Andrew Jackson Way).
Since I was too young to play on the team, my job was to sit I the grandstand and watch for Hub. If he came out of the house towards the park, I would let everyone know and we would hurriedly vacate the park.
There was a team from uptown who called themselves the Cavaliers. The team, as I remember, was made up of students from the Catholic school located on Holmes Avenue. Sammy Citrano, now a prominent dentist in Huntsville, was their pitcher. We played this team all the time in the locked ballpark. I remember once we were playing the Cavaliers and to my great fright, I saw Hub heading toward the park. I alerted the group and we started to scamper out of the park over the east wall. One of the Cavaliers had brought their younger brother with him (even younger than me); and when he got on top of the wall, he was afraid to jump down. Everybody was pleading with him to jump, and finally just as Hub was entering the park, the child jumped.
As I think back, I am almost certain that Hub knew all along that we were slipping into the park, but he never let us know.
After my senior year of high school, I had the honor of playing baseball on one of the last Huntsville Booster teams that Hub managed. Most of the players were much older than me. Players like Slick McGinnis, Jack Troup, Jim Tally, Bill Daniel, Floyd Bryant and Freck Payne, to name a few and I felt that Hub was rougher on me than the others, but it didn't bother me because of the respect that I had for him. I guess he still considered me one of his kids from the village.
Hub Myhand was my hero. He was the Bear Bryant of Dallas Village and East Huntsville. I recently attended a dedication ceremony of the new sports complex at Optimist Park. Several fine people were recognized and honored for their efforts in making the new complex a reality. It was nice, but throughout the ceremony I couldn't help but reflect back to the days of Hub Myhand. I hope one day that a life size statue of Hub Myhand can be placed on the premises of the new complex.