Little Steve Lewis Arrowood, and all the Arrowoods lived not far from Lineberger Park, growing up. It was a hilly and open park, and had a great creek running through it. This creek was perfect for performing daring "Superman" feats of “creek jumping,” “bridge flinging,” “stump jumping,” and the like.
The park was a great place for a kid to play when he had his trusty bicycle.
One day when Steve was just a 'youngun', around 1936 or 1937, he decided to prove his 'Superman abilities' by going airborne over the creek on his bicycle.
He pedaled up the steep hill overlooking the creek came flying back down it at breakneck speed, and went flying over the creek. His “Superman abilities” were definitely put to the test and he crashed into the creek.
The jump proved to be too far, and he was not able to make the span of the creek to land on the other side. He was knocked out, and it was not good.
Luckily “Old Man” Coletta, as Dad called him, was happening past with his ice wagon, and he either heard the crash, saw it, or saw the aftermath. However it happened, it was lucky for our little “Superman” that Mr.Coletta happened along, at just that moment.
Coletta was a man that operated the ice company and ice cream store in town. He was an Italian immigrant and started his company in 1915. [The beginning of Tony’s Ice Cream.] He had a horse drawn wagon that delivered ice in town to his customers.
In the 1921 Gastonia City Directory on page 145, there is listed, a 'Charles Carmine Coletta, ice cream manufacturer' at 312 South Willow Street.
Well, dear "Old Man" Coletta loaded the unconscious boy onto the back of his wagon and took him home. He apparently knew Dad and knew where to take him. So the kindly man delivered the limp bundle to his, no doubt, 'scared to death' parents.
Steve was completely 'out of it' (his words), for three days.
Imagine keeping the kid at home during that episode these days! I suppose the Doctor was summoned to the house to attend to him as quickly as possible.
Happily, he recovered, and decided that being Superman wasn't as great as it was cracked up to be and he tempered his actions from then on (somewhat).
They have completely restored Coletta's Ice Wagon and it is on display in Dallas, N.C. in the County Museum.
Attached is an image of the Arrowood Children of Lewis William "Pat" Arrowood and Maude Hull Arrowood. Left to right: Ray Arrowood, Ben Arrowood, Steve Arrowood, Ann Arrowood, Hilda Arrowood, Patsy Arrowood and Bill Arrowood. The picture was taken in front of home on Laurel Lane, Gastonia, NC.
(Martha Arrowood Miller)