From Raymond (the oldest boy):
I remember when we lived with Grandma M. One day she and mom got into it about something, and mom ran out the front door and said, “I’m leaving here." She went out to the road and then turned around and came back. (Grandma lived with her mother-in-law for twelve years.)
I remember going blackberry picking and getting chiggers all over us and putting kerosene on the bites to kill the chiggers. We used kerosene for a lot of things like when we cut a toe. We just put it in some kerosene, and it stopped the bleeding.
The first day in spring when we got to go barefoot, us kids running up and down the gravel road in front of the house to toughen up our feet.
How mom worked over a hot wood stove trying to can enough to last all winter, and at hog killing time she could make the best sausage I ever ate.
There was a tree at the school that the bigger kids used to swing on, and they wouldn’t let us smaller kids swing on it. One evening dad and I went down there and took a cross cut saw and cut it down.
In third grade our teacher was Leona H. She used to throw a rubber ball at us if she caught us turned around talking to someone. In eighth grade the teacher caught Calvin B. and I talking, and he made us get up before the school and sing. We sang “She’ll Be Comin’ Around the Mountain”.
One day we kids were playing Annie Over, and I decided to bat the ball over the house. I thought I could really send it over if I batted it. I batted it right through the bedroom window. I knew I was gonna get a whipping before the glass stopped falling.
One time when Everett L. was staying at our house, he and I went down to the Casino Club. He got drunk, and when we came home he had a bottle and was trying to hide it underneath the porch where dad or mom wouldn’t see it. He crawled around all over the yard and thought he had it hid, but the next morning it was sitting on the walk, right in front of the door. I got in trouble for that, too.
I often think of growing up in the 30’s and 40’s and how simple life was then compared to today. Back then things were either right or wrong. Right was what daddy told us to do, and wrong was what he better not catch us doing.
The winter Jimmy was a baby, he and mom were both sick. I think it was the last day of school before the Christmas break, on the way home I remember passing the car taking him to the hospital. That Christmas the neighbors were all kind. I remember Miss Virginia bringing some gifts and Laverne S., a boy in the same class as Paul and I, bought Paul and I candy. Paul’s was hard Christmas candy and mine was chocolate drops. Laverne said his mother had told him that you always bought a girl chocolate.
Paul used to trap animals to sell their hides, and one morning before school he went to run his traps. He had caught a skunk. It wasn’t dead, and he got too close. When he got back to the house mom wouldn’t let him come in. She gave him a pan of water, a bar of soap and clean clothes and sent him to the barn.
Mom used to make Annabelle and I these long legged bloomers with elastic in the bottom of the legs. One time we had done something and she told us that she would have dad to spank us when he got home, so we went upstairs and stuffed our bloomers full of old clothes for padding. When dad got home he didn’t spank us right away, and we got tired of carrying around the padding and took it out, but we got the spanking later.
During the war, we had a battery radio, and we all loved to listen to the music and the programs that were on. When the battery started to get low then dad would only listen to the war news. On Saturday night we would listen to the Grand Ole Opry.
We didn’t have electricity until 1947. We had coal oil lamps for the house and lanterns if you went anywhere at night.
I came into this world on a warm July night in 1937. That was the year of the big flood, and they say one catastrophe follows another.
I bought mom and dad’s first television set in 1957, when I worked in Chicago. Daddy’s favorite western was Gunsmoke on Saturday night. I think I bought the first refrigerator from someone by the name of Claude. I bought it when I worked as a janitor at the school. I made twenty dollars a month, cleaning and building the fires.
Daddy traded a team of mares we had to Bud F. for a team of mules. Dad told him the old mares didn’t look too good. The red mule was blind. She ran over everything in the barn lot. Bud came back to dad about it being blind. Dad said, “I told you the mare didn’t look too good, in fact, she doesn’t look at all.”
Me thinks I know where daddy got his sense of humor.