Sunday, May 31, 2009

Part 11b - Claire & Family




Claire’s boys chose a wide variety of professions:

Richard Fredrick, Jr. was educated at FSU, moved to Beaverton, OR and is a retired Biology Teacher. He was selected as Oregon's Teacher of the Year once, and was presented the presidential merit of Excellence for Science Teachers of the US.

He and his wife, Rebecca, have no children. Becky was an accountant. For a number of years, he has spent a good part of his summers, leading groups of Science teachers from all over the country on a tour of Australia.

Bruce Wood Duncan (Bruce) also graduated from FSU. He and his wife, June live in Tallahassee. He was a drug dealer.....No, it's legitimate. He was a licensed pharmaceuticals salesman in the State of Florida. Bruce had to take early retirement due to his having MS. June is a retired High School Counselor and cosponsor of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for the school. Their son Adam is married to Jessica and they have a beautiful daughter, Reese. Reese is her Big Daddy’s special angel. And, the girl in the family that Claire always wanted.

Roland Steven (Steve), another FSU'er is retired from the USDA in agricultural science. He and his wife, Betty live in Pace, FL. He and Betty plan to build a house in the Little Flat and retire there.

Jamie is married and lives in New Orleans. Jonathan lives in Atlanta.

Joseph Thomas (Tom) attended FSU for a while and, like me, decided that the working world would suit him better. He and his wife, Sheila live on part of the old home place in Millry. Tom has worked in construction in Portland, OR, Saudi Arabia and New Orleans, LA. He is now employed by Gibbs Construction as their General Superintendent. Sheila is a bookkeeper. Together, they have no children. Sheila has one daughter, Donna.

Claire was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in April 1993. Following surgery, she underwent several types of chemotherapy treatments for over a year. The lack of her body's ability to resist the cancer cells and going through the end of medications available at the time, she died, in her bed, on Saturday, May 21, 1994, at the age of sixty-six and at peace with the world.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Part - 11a - Claire & Family



(No Picture Available)

Eleven and one-half months after Mother and Daddy were married, Claire Louise was born, on May 11, 1928. She was, by all accounts, a VERY active child, getting into almost any place she should not be. She was a "meddler!" Mother said she had to investigate most everything, and nothing held her attention for very long.

She was very talented in several areas. She had the opportunity to take art lessons from Mrs. Carpenter, the Silas Charge, Methodist Parson's wife. Providence was, and still is on the Silas Charge.

I don't know about any piano lessons that the girls took, but I do know that both were accomplished pianists and organists.

I think Claire got some advantages from Mother Minnie that Sylvia wasn't privileged to have. Kinda think Claire knew just how to get on Mother Minnie's "good side!"

Claire painted in several mediums; oils, watercolors, acrylics, color pencil and pen art. There are samples of her artwork in most all family members' homes as well as all around the South.

Claire married Richard Frederick Duncan, of Langdale, AL while both were students at Livingston State Teachers College (now the University of West Alabama). Fred graduated from LSTC and attained his Master's Degree from Peabody College in Nashville.

Claire didn't graduate from Livingston, as she had to take time out to have a couple of their four boys. She did finish her degree work through correspondence courses and summer school. Later, she completed her education by attaining her PHD from Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL.

She and her family lived in Selma and Autaugaville, AL, and Baker, Ft. Walton Beach and Tallahassee, FL. They stayed in Tallahassee until Fred's retirement. Then, they moved back, and built their home on the "New Ground" hill. She named their place, "The Rockin' D."

Fred worked as Assistant Recreation Director for the City of Selma, coached at Autaugaville, Baker and Ft. Walton, and retired as Assistant State Transportation Director for the State of Florida Education Department.

Soon after his retirement, Fred's health began to fail. He had several major surgeries, including heart by-pass, and an aneurysm. Also, he developed Sugar Diabetes requiring him to have to give himself daily insulin vaccinations. He died of heart disease on June 11, 1988.

Claire worked for an MD in Selma, taught school in several places, worked with the State of Florida in elementary education program development, and retired from the Washington County School System as Science Teacher at Chatom Middle School.

After retirement, she did consulting work for the School System and the Bureau of Indian Affairs in developing programs for the MOWA band of the Choctaw Indians at Reeds Chapel School. She was on the Southern Board of School Accreditation (or similar name) and went to several schools to evaluate them for Accreditation.

Claire enjoyed singing, her artwork, squirrel hunting, etc., which kept her very busy after she retired. She sang at Millry Baptist, Providence Methodist and New Hope AME Churches, taught Sunday School at Millry Baptist, and sang a number of duets with Mother and some trios with Mother and Sylvia. Of course, Sylvia would accompany her unless she was using a tape to sing by.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Part 10 - Granddaddy & Mama Wright



(no photos available)

Granddaddy Wright had the opportunity to run his own store in Deer Park, AL, so he moved his family there from Yellow Pine. He would go to the store early in the morning and would close about nine at night. I don't know if he closed the store for a while after noon, but Mother said that he would go home and get a nap in the afternoon.

After he closed the store, at night, he'd go home and milk the cow by lantern light, while Mama Wright fixed his supper.

Mama Wright would go to the store once in the morning, then back late in the afternoon and stay until closing time. She enjoyed horseback riding, visiting friends all around the Deer Park area.

At thirty seven-years-of-age, Granddaddy Wright had appendicitis. He had to wait for the train to get him to Mobile to a doctor, some sixty miles away. His appendix ruptured and he died on the train enroute to Mobile. Mother was fourteen at the time.

After her father's death, the family kept the house in Deer Park, where they would return some week-ends, but they rented a small apartment in Chatom where Mother and Uncle James went to school.

Mama Wright took in sewing and did crochet and knitting to have money for food and rent. There wasn't much more than that.

Mama Wright moved to Prichard after Uncle James finished school. I really don’t know how she made a living down there except that she rented out the front two big rooms in her house and lived in an enclosed back porch and another room.

She was always generating some sort of funny stuff or was fussing about some things that others would do. Once, she had a few drops of water left in her glass and decided to throw it on Daddy. Well, he had a little more water in his glass and threw it back on her. She got the dipper out of the water bucket and threw a dipper full on him. He turned the water bucket over her head. She kept talking about it saying , “And poor Joe had to mop it all up.”

Once on Christmas eve, she threw a hand full of gravel on the tin roof and asked the question in general, “Did y’all hear Santa Clause on the roof? Y’all better get to sleep in a hurry!” Well, that just kept us awake longer.

There were kids that played their yards around her yard. If they accidentally let one of their balls go over her fence, she’d keep the balls and give them to Joe and I. We got quite a few!

In her later years she developed what was called “Hardening of the Arteries.” Now they call the Alzheimer’s. We had to move her in with us. She read a series of Earl Stanley Gardener books many, many times. I’d ask if she hadn’t already read one of them, she’d say, “No I haven’t.” Mother had to have someone to be here with her while we were all at school. She got into a walking routine and repeat it all day. She’d walk down to the pond and go about half way across the dam, and come back to the house; go to the cabinet and get a glass; go to the refrigerator and get something to drink (water, tea, kool aid, etc.); sit down and drink it; and wash the glass, dry it and put it back in the cabinet. Then she’d do the same routine by going to the mail box or go down to the yard gate at CD & MP’s and back. Finally, we weren’t able to keep her at home so she was taken to Bryce’s Hospital in Tuscaloosa where she stayed ‘til she died.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Part 9 - Granddaddy & Mother Minnie



Granddaddy served the people of Washington County in several ways. He was once Sheriff and Tax Collector, and later a Physician serving, at different times, in Frankville, Millry and Chatom. Once, while he was Sheriff, a group of about 20 men hanged a man named Chambliss. He finally rounded them up and with help from others, had them all chained up and marched from West of Millry to St. Stephens to jail. Another time, he was collecting taxes in Deer Park, he had spent the night with a family there, as was custom then. When he left to further his rounds, he saw someone coming down the road, at a distance, that he didn't know. He turned around, went back a ways, hid his money, and then proceeded back the way the stranger was coming. He met the man, nodded and spoke, and went on a little further. Then, when all was clear, he went back, got his money and proceeded. As noted before, he served sick folks all over the northern part of Washington County. He was a member of Woodmen of the World. (His gravestone is a W O W stone.)

Mother Minnie was a Teacher to the "nth" degree. She served as Postmaster in Frankville for a time, but her calling was to teach. She taught for a number of years at Yarbo School where she was working until the time that she was forced to retire, by State law, at the age of 70.
After retirement, she moved to Mobile and began to tutor children that were having a hard time learning in school. She taught from her old Primers, Spellers, Readers and Arithmetic books. She taught Phonics, (which now sells millions of tapes and books) so the children would have the needed basics to sound out words, therefore learning to read very well. She taught the basics in arithmetic and spelling. She never tutored a child that didn't show vast improvements in school. When she had gotten too weak to care for herself at the age of 86, she was still tutoring one child. The day we were moving her to a nursing home, she stated, "Well, I'm going away to die. I only have one regret. That is, I wish that I could have had two more sessions with that child."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Part 8 - Mother & Daddy's Retirement



Daddy and Mother REALLY enjoyed themselves after they retired. They worked hard; getting the place "fixed up" again, building new pasture and lot fences, barn, etc. But, they stayed in pretty good health for a number of years. Daddy would tease Mother and say that when he was building lot fences, Mother would be so close behind him painting that he'd get paint on his hammer head. Daddy would build Purple Martin houses, windmills, etc. in his shop (the old smokehouse) and Mother would paint them. They only sold some of these a time or two when they set-up a stand at a Catfish Festival and Craft show. Mostly, they made things for us chillun and the eleven grandyounguns. Mother enjoyed knitting, crocheting, tole painting on towels, etc. also, to give away. Daddy and Mother would visit us in Mobile every week or so and usually spent the night with us. When they came in Daddy would say, "Well, here come the Worry Warts again!" Mother would always marvel at how fast Jo Anne could "whip up" a big meal for Company coming in with no notice. Though not as frequently, only about once in three to six months, they seemed to REALLY enjoy visiting us in Oak Ridge. They, especially, enjoyed "Foliage Season," in the fall when the leaves turned so many colors. We'd tease Mother about pecking on the window with her index finger saying, "Oooo! Look how pretty! Unh! Unh! That's SO pretty!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Part 7 - Mother & Daddy's Courtship



Mother and Daddy graduated from Chatom High School in 1923. That's where they began "sparking" at each other.

Mother taught at Deer Park school and made tenth grade in school at the same time. They only had eleven years of school then. During a teachers' meeting that year, Mother Minnie introduced her to Daddy.

She had been going with John Chason, another boy in her class, but she and Daddy started passing notes back and forth in classes, and he started carrying her books home for her. Also, she worked in the library after school to help pay her tuition. Daddy, in spite of not liking to read very well decided it was time for him to start reading some, so he'd go to the library when she was working.

Their first real date was when they went to St. Stephens for the unveiling of some sort of monument. That was in the fall of 1922. They dated, off and on their senior year.

The next year, she taught with Mother Minnie at Yarbo. She and Daddy dated "pretty heavily" that year. He'd drive his old Ford roadster down to see her. He was living in Millry at the time. They dated for about four years.

Later, she taught at Chatom. After school was out in 1927, she had gone to Prichard, where Mama Wright and Uncle James were living, to spend the summer.

She had gone over to Bay Minette, across the Mobile River delta, to visit with John's Mother, Mrs. Chason. Daddy drove down to see her and she wasn't home. He made a telephone call to Mrs. Chason's, and John answered. He wanted to talk to Mother. He told her that she'd better be on the next train to Mobile or she'd never see him again.

Well, when the train rolled in the station, at about 11:30 that night, she was on the train. They rode around all night, and then drove to Pascagoula, MS. They went to the courthouse as soon as it opened, got their license, and went to the Methodist Parson's home where they were married.

They drove back to Mobile and told Mama Wright that they were married. She was disappointed that Mother was not going to get to spend any time with her. So, Daddy left her there, went to Millry to tell Granddaddy and Mother Minnie, and to make a place for them to live. That took two weeks. So, as Mother put it, they were married "in name only" for that two weeks.

They shared the old house at Millry, actually, the community was then called Dunbar Post Office, with a Mr. and Mrs. Seibert for a while. After the Seiberts moved away, Granddaddy and Mother Minnie lived with them for a while.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Part 6 - Mother



Mother, Leanora Forest Wright, was born in Walnut Lake (now Pickens), AR to James Lee and Clara Alretha Miller Wright on August 2, 1903. She was their firstborn child and only daughter. Therefore, her mother (Mama Wright) called her "Daughter".
Later she had an only brother, James Albert Wright, appropriately called "Son" by Mama Wright.

Walnut Lake was a farming community, primarily owned by Mother's great uncle, Doff Pickens. He had hundreds of acres that he farmed. A large part was planted in cotton. He owned his own cotton gin and store. Granddaddy Wright was managing the general merchandise store for him at the time Mother was born.

When Mother was a year old, they moved to Yellow Pine, Washington County, AL where Granddaddy Wright ran the Commissary for E. W. Gates Lumber Company for eight years.

Mother was a teacher all her life. She taught first grade at Deer Park while making tenth grade in Chatom. Then, she taught at Yarbo for a while. She went to Daphne Normal School and Livingston State Teachers College for a while. She continued taking courses by correspondence and going to summer school at Livingston until she finally graduated in her mid-fifties.

She didn't teach for a long time while Claire, Sylvia and Joe were coming up and until I started to school.

The year I started to school, Mr. Green, the principal at Millry School, asked her to teach second grade. She agreed to do so, and taught second grade and one year in first grade, until she retired at age 65.

She was one of several teachers in our family. They were Mother Minnie, Mother, Claire, Dick, Dianne and Debbie. June, Cathy, Don, Joey, Karen, and David and Tonya are also teachers. Sylvia has taught teens in Sunday School for years and I have taught Sunday School on several occasions and a number of Construction Safety Courses. Andy has taught several courses for Samford University, Wayland Baptist and Regency University

Mother taught Sunday School Classes for years at Millry Baptist. She also played piano for the church for a long time. She dearly loved to sing, especially church music. She sang many solos, duets, and trios with Claire and Sylvia in her later years. Many's the time she would play piano, and she and I would sing songs from the old "Golden Key" gospel hymn book after the others left home and Daddy would be away at work.

She, also, loved flowers, pretty things and to fish and paint. She once told me that she was happiest when she had one of two things in her hands; that was a fishing pole on the bank of the pond or a paint brush painting anything from the barn or fences with a 4" brush, or an artist's brush painting pictures.

Lots of times, she'd just be walking through the house and she'd sit down and play the piano for a while. Her most favorite song was, as is mine, "Amazing Grace".

She had pretty good hearing for quiet things and not so good for loud things, depending on what it was. For instance, if I was out a little late at night and tried to ease in very quietly, as soon as I tiptoed in the door, she'd say, "Where ya been?" If I came in fast, bamming across the cattle gap and slam the car door; I'd never hear a thing. The next morning, she'd ask me what time I got home!

One night, she told Sylvia and Joe not to leave the house. Well, it clouded up and they thought about something down in the little flat that didn't need to get wet. They got on the tractor and took off. For some reason, they went down to CB’s house before coming back home. When they got back, Mother was waiting for them with a switch. She got Sylvia first. While Sylvia was getting her whippin', Joe was stuffing his shirt with hay. Mother caught on right quick and just switched him on his legs. Then he had to get all the hay out to stop the itching.

She remained in very good health through her mid-eighties. Then, she began to "show her age" by not being able to do things she used to do and began to show senility. In later years, she had to have someone stay with her at all times to see about her, and to bathe and care for her.

She died, in her chair, in her house on Saturday, December 5, 1992. Sylvia and I had gone to Waynesboro to get a suction device to help her to breathe better. Claire had come over to the house. A few minutes before we got back, she died.

There were people from all over the area that came to her wake. She had taught so many of them as children, and they came by to offer their respects.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Part 5 - Daddy



Daddy was born on August 13, 1904, the fifth of six sons of Dr. Andrew Jackson Wood and the first of two sons, Sam and George, of Minnie Granade Wood (Mother Minnie). Granddaddy's first wife died leaving him with three boys, Will, John and Percy, (Thomas died as an infant) and three girls, Mae, Lucy and Lacy. The youngest, Aunt Lacy was two-years-old when he and Mother Minnie were married. They lived in Frankville, AL, not far from Peavey's Landing on the Tombigbee River.

Daddy spent a large part of his childhood with his grandfather, James Samuel Granade (Papa Nade) and his grandmother, Nan Thompson Granade (Mama Nade). I think he was kinda "spoiled" by them. He told of times when he would go riding with Papa Nade. He'd ask about every day, but Papa Nade would only let him go at certain times. When he could not go, Papa Nade would say, "Not if the court knows itself." There was no use asking any more for that day. The days he was to be allowed to go, he knew that all he had to do, if he got hungry, was to reach up in Papa Nade's coat pocket and get the buttered potato biscuits or ginger cakes that Mama Nade had put there for him.

Daddy said that, in 1918, there was an Influenza epidemic going round in the area. He was 14 at the time. For most of that winter, he would drive Granddaddy's Model T Ford from one sick person's house to another one, all day and night. Granddaddy would get under a quilt in the back seat and get a nap while they were riding, and Daddy would get his nap while Granddaddy was inside doctoring the patient. Seldom did they make it home during that time. Granddaddy treated 218 cases during that epidemic. That may seem to be only a few compared to modern medical facilities, but in that rural area, it was a large number of cases.

Daddy went to The Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) completing a two-year course in engineering. His failure to go for a four-year degree proved detrimental to him, particularly in job advancements while he was with the U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers.

He began farming when he and Mother married, and did so for several years until farming got to where it just didn't pay off. During World War II, Daddy got a job at the Alabama Dry Docks and Shipbuilding Co. in Mobile, as a piping draftsman. ADDSCO built ships for the Navy and Merchant Marines for use in the war.

Later, after a few more years of farming, both row cropping and raising cattle, he returned to off-the-farm work. He worked for Ewing Engineering Co., in Mobile, as a Party Chief on a survey team and with Blount Brothers Construction and Engineers in Montgomery, AL. Then he joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District as a Construction Inspector. This work took him to Montgomery, Selma, Thomasville, Mobile, and Enterprise, AL; Greenville and Columbus, MS; Altus, OK; Conway, AR; Sedalia, MO; and finally to Bay St. Louis, MS where he worked until he retired at 62-years-of-age to return home to the farm.

Daddy loved sports, especially baseball. He would referee football games for Millry, score basketball games and umpire baseball for Millry High School and in the Pine Belt League. Teams from Chatom, Citronelle, McIntosh, Jackson, Grove Hill, Thomasville and later Millry played in the league. Daddy also served as League Statistician, keeping records on all teams and players in the league.

He was an AVID Auburn fan. He devised a method of charting the Auburn football games as he listened to them on the radio. He sent lots of the charts to Joe when he was overseas, in service.

Also, he listened to and scored baseball games, both from radio and TV broadcasts. He got to where he could hardly write, so Mother would write out the rosters for him so he could score the games. They both watched the Braves from the Satellite dish so regularly that they kinda felt they knew the players as their hometown team. I guess they fit into WTBS-TV's; the Super station, description of the Braves being "America's Team!"

Daddy was a "counter." He could tell how many people that were in the choir each Sunday. In the old Church, the row of ceiling lights on the East side was along the seventh row of ceiling tiles form the wall. On the West side, it was on the sixth row from the wall. He could tell you how many miles it was from home to about anywhere he'd ever been, and how many miles, along which roads between any two places. He knew how many ears of corn it took to make a bushel, and how many to shell-out a half-bushel for corn meal. He knew how many steps it was to the barn, the toilet, (We were "up town" because we had a "two holer" with both a Sears Roebuck and a Montgomery Ward catalog to use for toilet paper!) to the mail box, etc. (Hmm! Wonder where I got that from!?!?!)

Daddy could calculate math problems in his head about as fast as most folks could with a calculator.

He had a very neat handwriting, but, due to some weird nerve problem, he developed a bad trembling in his right hand as soon as he put his hand down on paper. His hand would shake so that he could hardly write at all. A strange thing was that, if he was using a ruler or drawing template that did not require him to put his hand down on the page, the trembling never happened. If he was doing any type carpentry work, fine painting, etc., he had no trouble.

He always did say that he thought he was naturally left handed, but Mother Minnie insisted on him writing right handed. Back then, it seems that something was wrong with you if you were left handed. So, he had developed a pretty good writing style left handed until he had surgery to clear out his right carotid artery.

Doctors had to take longer than anticipated to keep blood supply blocked from the carotid. When the blood supply was released, he had a "mini-stroke." The only after effect of the mini-stroke was that when he was very tired or excited, either tense or elated, his left shoulder would twitch causing his left hand to jerk. So, from then on, he did all the writing that he could on his old Underwood manual typewriter using the old "Hunt & Peck", two finger method.

He began to type a daily journal. When we moved to Oak Ridge, TN, in 1978, he began making a carbon copy for me. That was a much-anticipated mailing each week for me. It allowed me to keep up with what was going on back home. After a few months, Joe went to Saudi Arabia and Daddy began making two carbons so he could send Joe a copy, too. I still have all my copies of his journal.

When Daddy was "up into his seventies," he was going up the side steps to the house, he tripped and fell on the porch and broke his right hip. He was taken to Mobile Infirmary, had surgery and had the hip set, which entailed putting that leg in traction so he couldn't move it.

This was a very painful situation, and he was sedated quite heavily. The sedation caused some delusions. He'd tell tales about driving a truck up to a gate, trying to put on brakes, but the brakes wouldn't hold. He surely was glad the gate was open so he could let the truck coast to a stop at the bottom of the hill. Also, he'd look up at the wall by his bed and say, "See my old shotgun up there! It sho' is a goodun!" Of course we would agree. Once he asked me what the other gun up there was. I told him it was mine and security let me bring it in out of the car for safekeeping. That was ok with him. He'd, also ask for a cigarette, from time to time. He couldn't have one as they had oxygen on to assist his breathing.

The day after, he had gotten some less delusions, but yet some. I had to get back to Tennessee, so I went by to tell him Bye. He said, "Ok! But next time don't come if you have to upset the Apple cart!" We've all had some good laughs over that one.

When Daddy's health began to fail, he developed Congestive Heart failure. This was most evident by his having coughing spells to get the fluid from his lungs. Although he tried to do many of the things he had always done, his health prevented him from doing them. One of the hardest things he had to give up was driving his tractor. He kept saying he wanted to drive it, and everyone would tell him not to. Finally, JoAnne told him one day that if he thought he felt like driving it to do so, but just remember that if he got tired, to stop and get off. He said that was the best advice he'd heard. So, a little while later, he tried it. After only a very short time, he found out that he was overly tired. He never tried it again.

A week before he died, he had to be hospitalized in the CCU at Mobile Infirmary. I took off work to help see about him. There were rules about visiting times in the CCU, but very soon the nurses found that he wouldn't eat for any of them, but he would for me. After that, they would come to the visitor waiting room to tell me it was "feeding time!" I stayed there all week, until Sylvia got in from a Postmasters' Convention in Texas. He had rallied some, so I told him I was gonna go back to Oak Ridge Saturday morning to check on JoAnne if he was still doing well, then.

I went by Saturday morning and Sylvia had aptly taken over my "feeding" job. They had him up in a chair with a top on it similar to a high chair. I told him that he looked to be in good hands, so I was gonna go to Oak Ridge. I told him that if he needed me for anything, to tell Sib and I'd be back ASAP. After I left, Sib said he told her that I had said that if he needed me, I'd be back. Then he said, "He meant it, too!" That REALLY meant a lot to me.

I got to Oak Ridge about 5:00 PM, Saturday. About 5:00 PM Sunday, Claire called and said to come back. So, we headed back shortly and got to the hospital about 5:00 AM Monday, September 1, 1986 (Labor Day). Mother, Claire, and Sylvia and Andy were there, along with their pastor, Frank Tribble and his wife, Sibyl.

The nurses had told us that we could go back there when we wanted to. I'd go back from time to time, hold his hand and talk to him. He would acknowledge by squeezing my hand. Andy and I went back about 3:00 PM. I took his hand and told him that we had talked with Joe in Saudi and he was on his way home, so everything would be all right. He feebly squeezed my hand and gave a sigh of relief. About 3:10 PM, the nurses came out and told us he was gone.

After the long week at the hospital, the trip to Oak Ridge and back, and going through greeting so many friends at the Mortuary, I had a pretty bad Angina attack, the night before his funeral. JoAnne took me to Chatom Hospital, and the doctor said I needed to stay there. So, I didn't get to go to Daddy's funeral. Bro. Tribble came by that morning to see me. I asked him to have Daddy's seat ribboned off with his Bible on the pew. He did that. I think he kinda had a hard time finding black ribbon, but he did it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Part 4n - House & Land



The Praries & Deer Bluff

Daddy once owned 40 acres in the "prairies," about a mile north of the gravel pit. He used that for pasturing cows during summer months. He, also, cut the timber off it a couple of times. (More on cows later.)

Just southeast of that "40", there is a rock cliff that runs as high as about 20 to 30 feet. It is known as "Deer Bluff." There are a number of small holes into the coral rock and limestone walls that several type varmints use for a den. I've known of wild cats, buzzards, squirrels, etc. being in those holes. Also, the only coral snake, the most poisonous snake in Alabama that I ever saw, I killed at the bluff.

There are initials, names and dates carved into the soft, limerock parts of the bluff that date back into the 1800's. Of course, mine are there, too. (Mother had a saying; "Fools' names, like fools' faces, always seen in public places!") I don't know that the bluff is so public, but there are lots of names there!

It has been a long time since I've been to the bluff. I just may go there on some winter day, when the rattlers are all asleep, and reminisce some.

There is another bluff that is smaller, a short ways South of Deer Bluff. Its called "Cat Bluff." It doesn't have the names, etc. like Deer Bluff has.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Part 4m - House & Land



Log House

Another group of structures on the place consist of the old log house, smoke house, corncrib and double mule stall. The original split log cabin portion of the house was once the kitchen out behind the old house.

After Grand Paw added a kitchen to the house, the cabin was torn down, piece by piece and rebuilt down under the hill. A large room was added to the West side of the log portion and a "shed room" added across the back, North side. The bedroom was built with one by twelve, rough sawn boards with three-inch battens at each crack. All the floors and roof sheathing in the house were also one by twelves. The shed room was divided into two rooms, one was sometimes used as a dining area or a sleeping area, and the other was the kitchen/dining area, with a small wood-burning iron stove. The original, cabin room was used as a sitting area by the fireplace at the East side, and as a sleeping room.

There was a porch all across the front (South) side of the house. The water bucket and dipper were kept hanging on the porch.

There was a dug well about 30 feet outside the kitchen door. One side caved in. Daddy had bought enough 30-inch concrete pipes to "encase" it in, but Cousin Bob McLean (CB) never had it installed, so the well was filled up with trash, etc. over the years. The water in that well had a large amount of lime in it and was not the greatest tasting for drinking, but was real good for bathing, watering chickens, etc.

To the west of the old well was a log structure that was about 10 by 20 feet. It was divided into two rooms. The south room was used as a smokehouse and the north room used for storage.

North and west of the smokehouse was a chicken house, built out of small poles.

North of the chicken house was the corncrib, also made of pine logs. A very small "One seater" outhouse was built onto the North wall of the crib.

Then, North of the crib, CB built a double mule stall. I remember when he built the stall.

About a hundred feet east of the corncrib, were a couple of hog pens. Yep! You guessed it.....they were built of log rails.

To the south side of the hog pens and to the East side of the house was a pretty good-sized garden. Nope! It had a wire fence around it!

To the West and North sides of the house and crib was about a three or four acre pasture.

The house was primarily lived-in by folks that worked, or helped out in various ways around the farm. I remember talk of Tommy and Florence Land living there at the time the old house burned. Then, I can remember Mr. Ira and Mrs. Catherine Holston, with their six children lived there, followed by "Cousin" James and Zella Brown and the first of their large family. Later, CB, Mrs. Pearl (MP) and Robert A. McLean moved into the house in about 1943. They lived there until after MP and, later, CB died. They were the last to live there.

On June 5, 1998, a bad windstorm (probably with tornadic winds) blew a very large sweet gum tree top onto the log portion and porch that damaged the house and chimney so badly that it was cost prohibitive to make repairs.

I told Willie Taylor that if he would tear down the house and all the other buildings and clean it up, he could have any good materials in them for his labor. During the summer of 1999, all of the house had been pushed up into a pile and the other buildings' roofs have been torn off and ready to burn it all.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Part 4l - House & Land


The Smokehouse/Shop, Pigeon House Fly Cage, Chicken House, Tater House & Outhouse

The smokehouse (now the old shop) is located about 25 feet West of the house. Along the left and across the back sides were boxes, about 6 feet long, by about 3 feet wide and deep. These were the "salt boxes" used to "salt down" pork as soon as it was cut up. The meat was kept there until it was taken out, washed, then smoked and cured. Along the right side is where the lard cans, full of lard and some with cracklings were stored.

Southwest of the smokehouse, about 50 feet was the pigeon house and fly cage. This house was about 10 by 12, with nests built along the West wall. The windows to allow the pigeons to get into the fly cage were on the East side.

To the West of the pigeon house was the chicken house. It was about 8 feet by 30 feet. There were roosting poles along the North (long) side and nests along the West, East and South sides. The South wall had chicken wire along an area about 3 feet high for light and ventilation. There was a ramp about midway along the South wall for the chickens to walk up to get inside. A small door could be closed, along with the walk doors to keep foxes and 'possums from getting in to catch the chickens.

The outdoor toilet was located about 30 feet to the northwest of the smokehouse. As noted elsewhere in this mess, it was a "two holer!" There was a wire stretched on both the North and South walls that would hold two Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, Jim Brown, Spiegel catalogs used for toilet paper. The colored pages weren't good for wiping, as they were too stiff and slick. The best ones were the thinner, black and white pages. After wadding them up a time or two, they were about as good as some of the modern tissue of today.

Out to the North of the potato house, there was an old part of a large "laying chicken" house. Daddy once had laying chickens, but had to get rid of them when egg prices went down to about a nickel a dozen. That old house was used for miscellaneous storage until it was torn down.