Shelf Life Community Story Project
Amplifying community voices, learning from neighborhood stories, and interrupting narratives of erasure in Seattle's Central District.

Doing Push Ups at the Boys Club

Bruce and Daryl Lockhart

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Photo by Jill Freidberg


The Boys Club was such a, it was a catalyst for a lot of kids growing up in that area.  Uh, in the right the direction.  They have sports there.  We went to camp. They had a big huge basketball court.  Um, the pools, like he was saying.  They had a piano room.  A library.  It was just a pillar of the community, as far as somewhere to go when you're out of school.  And I'm telling you, that's where we hung out.  That's, that's where we would go, the Boys club.   My mom would know exactly where we were.  If she called, she knew we were there.  And, we weren't allowed, basically, to go anywhere else.   We did, of course, but that's where we hung out, at the Boys Club.  

And, of course, Rotary was the community office of business men and they would pick a director.  Mr Taylor was first.  Mr Bishop was next.  And, then, I remember, Mr Gully. Mr Gully. Black gentleman. 6 foot 2.  Ex-army sergeant. And, he did not play. He did not play. I remember him keeping us in line and doing things. Some of the things he would make us do was push ups.

Let me tell you a story.  This is funny.  We were smoking, in the back of the Boys Club. I was too chicken to inhale, so I'm puffing away, and Robert said, "you're not doing it right, this is how you do it." And he's just, "That's how you do it." And I'm like, "eh, I can't do that." So we're in the back of the Boys Club.  Outside.  Somebody must have smelled it, or told Mr Gully.  So, I take a little puff, and as I walk out into the open area, there's Mr Gully standing in the stairway and the smoke comes out. Ohhhhhm. Gully says, "Lockhart!!! Come here!"  I went, aw man.  "Who else is with you?!" Robert.  "Shine!  Get over here!"  So, we're standing there.  "Are you smoking?" mmm mmm. "Are you smoking?" mmm mmm. "Lockhart. You smell Shine's breath. Do you smell smoke?" Noooo. "Shine.  You smell Lockhart's breath. Do you smell smoke?"  Noo..  "Give me a hundred push ups!" Now, he's yelling so loud, half the Boys Club is there.  Standing around looking to see who's getting beat up this day.  Ok.  Gully says, "Johnson, you watch Lockhart and make sure he does them push ups!" This big kid goes, "Aw man..." He didn't want to be there to watch this little skinny, bony kid do 100 push ups. And I'm going like, one.... two..... So he's standing there like, "one, two, twenty-five, forty-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred.  Alright." I did three I think altogether. "Lockhart, you do your push ups!?  Did he do his push ups!?" Yes, Mr Gully he did it. Never forget that.