Both men grew up in the same neighborhood in the 1960s, along Cuthbert and Storey, near Hill Park. They rode bikes, made the grades, chased girls, went away to college and came back to continue the legacy their parents had established for them a generation earlier. Those growing up years show that a kid didn't have to stand out in order to be an integral piece of the bigger Midland picture.
"We grew up in an interesting neighborhood," said Swallow. "Within a one block radius of our house, from 4 years older than I was to 4 years younger, there were 120 kids. It was a prolific neighborhood."
Water balloon throwing was a favored pastime, but it was tossing water balloons at cars that was the undisputed shenanigan of choice, and Hubbard remembered one Easter weekend when the country cousins came in for a visit and were indoctrinated into the ritual.
"It wasn’t a good day until somebody in one of those cars started chasing you," Hubbard recalled. "My grandparents came in for Easter one year, and my cousins from Borden County came with them. We were out in the front yard. We hadn’t done anything yet, but my cousin John threw a water balloon at the first car he saw and it was an unmarked police car. And we all scattered. We knew where to go because we all knew where the hiding places were. But my country cousins, they were running around like chickens with their heads cut off because they didn’t know where to go. I ended up under the porch of a neighbor's house until I thought the crisis was over. I looked up after 20 minutes, and right outside sat a police car with my cousin John in the front seat."
Swallow and Hubbard shared a good laugh over the memory at a lunch recently, and although that was the only water balloon memory shared, it doesn't take much to see that there were many others much like that one.
Both men also remembered well the flood of 1968, when they were teenagers.
"They were planting trees out front of the Midland High Youth Center," Swallow remembered. "Even though it was raining like crazy they served lunch that day, and I remember we were all standing in the trophy room at the front of the school and we were all watching the rain come down and we were dumbfounded because of how hard it was raining. We watched two guys take off running toward the youth center. And remember, they had dug holes for those big trees, but they hadn't put the trees in the them yet. And all of a sudden you saw these two ... both of them hit those holes and they went in over their heads. The completely disappeared for a minute. They were just gone."
Both men are unapologetic in his love for Midland. Swallow almost gushes at his boyhood memories and continues to this day to be one of the town's most outspoken champions. Hubbard, though quieter, is not far behind in his admiration of a town that was good for him as a boy, and is now good to his family.
"We rode our bikes from one end of the town to another. And we never worried about anything but whether or not we'd be home before dark," Swallow said.
Hubbard and Swallow both said that as bike-riding preteens, they never worried about crime, quite simply because there wasn't any.
"I know it sounds corny," Swallow said. "But I love it here. It was a great place to be a kid."