Archive for childhood

Once upon a time…

When you were growing up, who was/is the best storyteller in your family?

 
Three people come to mind as storytellers in my family for different reasons.

1. Uncle Eldred always fascinated me with stories, because he was so well-read, well-educated, well-travelled, and he incorporated all of the above into his excellence in preaching.

2. Joke telling: my brother, RJ, my Uncle Paul, and my Aunt Myrt (PawPaw’s brother & sister) All three could really keep you laughing!

3. My daddy’s stories always kept me mesmerized, because of all his life experiences…starting in 1899!

:-))

I May Be Blue, But You’re Green With Envy ;)

What is your favorite color and why?

 
My favorite colors have always been blue and green. Pretty much equal as far as preference between the two colors.

I’ve never given much thought as to why, except that as a kid, I loved working outdoors…cutting the green grass under the beautiful blue sky!

Hope that makes sense…then, of course, it could be my mother’s fault! You see, I was blonde-headed and blue-eyed (like little Luke next door), and mom would constantly tell me how good blue or green shirts looked on me…so it might have been a touch of vanity that influenced my love for blue and green.

You s’pose?

Johnny Football – The Prequel

Who was the first professional football player you remember being a fan of?

 

Two players.come to mind right off the bat. Y.A. Tittle was an awesome quarterback and passer, even when he began to show his age and got bald-headed. I hadn’t thought about that in years!

The other one was Paul Hornung, quarterback at Notre Dame, who was awesome in college as well as when he became a professional.   Blonde, long curly hair made him the ‘Johnny Manziel’ of that era.

Halloween Fright Night

One very early, very scary moment I had forgotten about happened on Halloween in 1948. We were living on 4th Street in Freeport, Texas.

My dad certainly was anti-Halloween (as he was so many things), but he would not let us go trick or treating because it was “…too much like begging. If you want candy, then work for the money, so you can buy your candy! I don’t want my kids to beg!”

This particular Halloween he allowed us to dress up and go trick or treating–but the only house we could go to was our own house. We lived next door to the church, and he had mother take us there and use that as the ‘staging area’ for our big experience. We (me [age 7] and Nancy [age 6]) were so excited as we headed next door to trick or treat the parsonage. As we traipsed up the sidewalk to knock on the door, the front porch light was off, which was a little scary, and we were talking about how we were going to scare Daddy.

My costume consisted of a Lone Ranger mask and a holster for my cap gun, so I’d look like ‘the real thing’! We didn’t know our Daddy had gotten a big army blanket that Uncle Bubba brought us when he came home from WWII. He put the blanket over his head and hid behind the shrubs by the front porch. After we knocked on the door and no one answered, we turned around to go back down the walk, and this giant with the blanket over his head stood up and hollered and scared the living daylights out of both of us. I took off running, then heard him laughing–but I think he achieved his purpose.

I never did want to celebrate Halloween again–until I married Betty Jo Farris–and she (as you and your brothers know) celebrated EVERYTHING! :-))

I Came, I Sawed, I Conquered…

What was the first piece of furniture that you built?

 

The first piece of furniture I built all on my own was the colonial study desk that I now have here in my (your) room.  [This will always be “Karen’s room” even though I’ve been in it for quite a while:-)) ] I saw a picture of that desk way back in 1967, and I built it out there in the old double garage at our home in Midway.   I built it for your mama, because in those days she loved  “Early American” furniture.

Going all the way back to my childhood, I remember mowing, then trimming the long grass out of the cyclone fence using just hand scissors just to hear my mother brag on me (no one ever conceived of such a thing as a weed eater back then). So much of what I’ve built has been to show my loved ones how much I love them!

The Speller’s the Feller

What was your first memory from elementary school?

 

That’s easy…and once again, it comes back to the teacher.  

I was blessed that the lady who had taught RJ and (I think) Bubba when the family lived in Beasley had moved to Freeport and was also my first grade teacher. Her name was Ms. Elizabeth Bailey.

Coming from a family of three older brothers who were constantly competing with one another, I developed a very competitive nature! THUS, my fondest memories from elementary school were the ‘spelling bees,’ because I was so competitive and a darn good speller!

 I hate these iPhones which do your spellllling for you!   :-)!

Balancing Boogers

What was your favorite subject in school and why?

 
I think I would have to say math & geometry.

My Daddy loved math and could add up columns of numbers ‘in his head’ without even using a pencil. He would challenge me to try to do the same. When I got to algebra, he and I would study my lessons together, because he hadn’t studied algebra before, but he was already a master at the logic of numbers!

I loved Algebra 1, but hated Algebra 2 because it was harder. But my teacher was anything but boring. She was a little lady named Ms. Beville, and she made Algebra & Geometry literally ‘come to life’! Maybe I can briefly explain how she did it. She used humor, which was really appealing to a 10th grader much more interested in football and golf than academics! She used to tells us her nickname was ‘Booger Beville’ and that Algebra was nothing more than taking these little ‘boogers’ on one side of an equation and making them equal with the ‘boogers’ on the other side. SHE GOT MY ATTENTION! Then when we got to geometry, she literally laid the groundwork for my love of building and carpentry…angles, squares, circles..the whole bit!

If you only knew how many nights I would work til 10 or 11 o’clock building our house 36 years ago. If you pay close attention to the panels in our den, you might hear, “Now, you wanna be sure and get all these little boogers to line up and be balanced or equal.” You might even check out the wooden venthood in your own kitchen! :-)). Wes’ daddy and I wrestled with that way up in the night! Look at it and say, “Thank you, Ms. Beville!”

Ain’t She Sweet

What was the first instrument you learned to play and who taught you?

 

I started playing two instruments at about the same time (both of them were inspired by my love and admiration for my brother, R.J.), the trombone and the ukulele!

Uncle R.J. loaned me the trombone he had played in high school, and I think I’ve already told you about joining the Junior High band in the 7th grade at Orange, Texas.   R.J. could make that trombone sing! His inspiration was the band phenom from the 1940s, Tommy Dorsey.

R.J. had purchased a little ukulele. He showed me as I listened to him what a simple instrument it was to play!    The first song he taught me was “Ain’t She Sweet”!   I thought I was a real musical stud when I strummed (and sang) that tune!    It was just a short step from that ukulele to the guitar!

Tastes Like Chicken

What is the first place you remember going out to eat?

 

We traveled a lot, but you had to know PawPaw. It was cheese & crackers and summer sausage.   We just didn’t eat out hardly at all.

He raised the older boys through the depression era. It was red beans, cornbread, rice and gravy. The meat was always roast beef or fried chicken, depending on which one was on sale. We had no freezer until I was about 14. Meals were delicious, but very predictable.

Now, pies were the surprise for us. Mom didn’t cook a lot of cakes.  She had quite a collection of pie recipes.   And, when she discovered macaroni & cheese, wow!

Eating out would have been such a luxury that you would think I’d remember it, but I just don’t.   We just ate in the car while daddy was “Rolling ’em, boys!”

My favorite memory is the original El Chico restaurant in Tyler, Texas, where your mom and I ate ‘all the time’ when we lived in Quitman, Texas. In fact, you probably were ‘nurtured in the womb’ at El Chico! I’m not kidding, our idea of dating were those trips to Tyler where we nearly always wound up at El Chico. I think they spread out from Tyler to Dallas, and then all over Texas…even Huntsville! :))

I Brought Home Bacon from the Piggly Wiggly

What was your very first job?

 

Dad had an interesting and very Biblical concept with regard to jobs! “As long as you’re putting your feet under my table, you have a job–because,if any won’t work, neither shall he eat!” There was  a certain amount of job security in that….cows to be fed and milked, chickens to be fed, eggs gathered, and the yard mowed.

When I first talked dad into letting me work away from home, it was a stocking job at a Perry’s Five & Dime store in Orange, Texas.  I wàs in the sixth grade I think…

#2  Gas station attendant
In high school, I worked for Brother Kendrick, one of the elders in Haynesville, La., pumping gas at his Esso gas station.  I remember gasoline cost 10 to 17 cents a gallon back then (1956).

#3  Dry goods stocker & Clerk
Next job was working for Mr. Nobel Shaw in Nacogdoches the summer of 1959 as a freshman in college. Got my first car that year also, a 1950 model flat head 8 cylinder engine.  All that freshman year, I had a job leading singing at the Mound & Starr Church of Christ.  They paid me! 🙂

#4  Grocery clerk
In 1960, my brother Eldred prevailed upon me to move to Fort Worth, live with them, attend TCU in the fall, and lead singing at the Southside Church. To help make ends meet, Eldred got me a job working for a friend of his, Jack Moulton, who was the manager of one of the Buddies Supermarkets, a grocery chain in Fort Worth.

#5  Piggly Wiggly assistant manager
In the Fall of 1960, after the Fort Worth plans didn’t work out, I found myself moving home to Dad’s in San Antonio to attend San Antonio Jr. College.   He told me that, no matter what, my bedroom was always mine; but after age 18, living at home I had to pay a boarding fee (help with the groceries I consumed). I went to the Piggly Wiggly store down the street from the folks lived and applied for a job. My experience with Buddies payed off. Before long, I’m the assistant manager in that store…which payed off for me the next year, when I moved to Madisonville in 1961 and got my job with Mr. John Dean Carter.

(A LITTLE SIDE NOTE)
Just up the street from the PW Store in San Antonio was the Jefferson Church of Christ where Uncle Paul, Aunt Eunice, and my cousin Mike attended church. Their preacher (who I met frequently in the store) was named Frank Dunn, who often had his cute little teenage daughter shopping with him.  Mike worked with me and introduced me several times.   I encountered the name Frank Dunn again in 1967, when Clyde Thompson (EX 83) told me the story of his life.  When Clyde was in prison, he was baptized by Frank Dunn, who was the preacher for the Huntsville Church of Christ.   He also married Clyde and Julia,and–to top it all off–that little girl following him in the grocery store was named Holly…the same girl who wrote ‘Daddy’s Hands’ while she was a student at ACU. Pretty cool…don’t you think?