Tag Archive for childhood

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?

I Made a Lotta “Do” (Re, Mi) as a Kid

How did you learn to lead singing? Were you taught by someone?

 

My daddy, M. Roy Stevens, was widely known in the Churches of Christ for his voice, song leading, and his ability to teach others how to read music (do re mi fa sol la ti do).  We had a poster board with those shapes on them near our kitchen table. He would make Nancy and I sing the scale and intervals, with his idea that the scale is to music like the alphabet is to language.  I can still hear him saying, “Now remember, Do is shaped like a housetop, Re a bowl, Mi a baseball diamond, Fa a flag (or a pennant) Sol an egg, La a rectangle, Ti an ice cream cone…and then you’re all the way back to Do!”…..and then he’d make us sing it….over and over. We were being trained to sing when we were little, even though we didn’t appreciate until much later.

Brother Roy was in demand all over our brotherhood to teach singing schools, and his little son was right there with him, soaking it up by osmosis!   One of his famous quotes that was indelibly imprinted on my young brain was, “There’s nothing better than good acapella singing, and nothing worse than bad acapella singing!”.

The seventh grade was probably one of the most important years in my musical development. At 13 years old, my voice started changing and getting much deeper after I passed the squeaky stage.  Dad had an 8:00 Sunday morning “remote” radio broadcast from one of the classrooms at the 9th & Elm Church of Christ in Orange, Texas, and he needed help in the bass section of his live chorus.  Guess who? I felt pretty important!   Nancy, too…she was singing alto!  The older folks were amazed how these two ‘kids’ could read music They just didn’t  know how much of himself he had poured into us.

Another thing about the 7th grade was that I joined the junior high band, because I wanted to play the trombone like my hero brother, R J. He could literally make a trombone sing. Our band director (a legend in his own right) was a curly-headed Italian musician named Cermenaro. Everyone called him Mister C.! I never heard what his first name was…..but he was a great teacher! The first thing that each section had to do was to learn to play ‘scales’ on their instrument…. And, you guessed it….a light bulb went off in my young brain!  ‘This is just what my dad had been teaching me…Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do… “The alphabet of music…a language all its own!”

I can only imagine how thrilled Dad must have been when his young son came home from school that day so excited, because everything he’d been teaching me finally made sense. From that day till this, I’ve loved to sing, to lead singing, to write music. I like to think that, in all that, I’ve made a difference in lots if lives, just as dad did, RJ did…and now Tim, RJ’s son, is teaching singing schools and preaching in gospel meetings ‘full-time,’ just like his dad did until his death in 2012.

Probably one of my proudest moments as a dad was when our kids “Concord Road”, recorded those two CDs for our 66th birthdays! I hope I live long enough to see someone in our offspring put together a recording of Concord Road, their mother, their spouses, and all their children singing together…. Wow!, I’d even volunteer to lead singing one more time just to hear that group sing!  …..and, I have a feeling that the man who taught me to lead singing just might be ‘smiling’ down from Heaven.

I Get it Honest

How old were you when you started driving, and who taught you?

 

 I started driving when I was 13 years old when we lived in Orange, Texas and I was in the eighth grade. My dad was my teacher…and he was not famous for being the greatest driver in the world! We had a 1952 model Dodge, which was one of the first Dodges with an automatic transmission.   Up until 1952, you had to shift through the first two gears using the clutch with your left foot, and then the third gear was your running gear.  

The next year, Dad bought a 1953 model, which was Dodge’s first V-8 which also had an automatic transmission.  You would put your gearshift in the drive position, then accelerate to about 30 mph, then let up on the accelerator and the transmission would go ‘click’ and automatically shift into high gear, or your running gear.   (By the way, the reason we had a 1953 model so soon was because Daddy had wrecked the ’52 on the way to preach in a gospel meeting at Kirbyville, Texas. A cow stepped out on the highway and, when he swerved to miss her, he hit a tree and even turned over a couple of times… Oh, and by the way, he caught a ride on in to Kirbyville and still preached that night!)

So….I really had a great teacher!  And Uncle Bubba taught me how to drive a standard gearshift in his 1950 model 6 cylinder Ford pickup.

That’s why I’m so versatile, and such a good driver!….in spite of what your mother says!   :))

I Read About it in the Funny Papers…

Daddy,

Mom and I have our traditions…you know when the phone rings on Saturday morning who it is and why!

You’ve talked forever about how people say you should write a book.  I encouraged you to write a blog.  Neither has been done.  I saw an idea about a daughter emailing her mom a question every day.  I thought it might be neat to do that as a dad and daughter.  Are you game?

If so, here’s question #1.

What is the earliest childhood memory you have and who’s in it?

Love you ~ K.

 

bank_robber_clipartI’m game…had a problem with the blog thing, but I like this idea (I think)

 I remember that every night our mother would sit in her rocking chair reading the Houston Chronicle newspaper.  Nancy & I could hardly wait until she got to the part of the paper she called the ‘funnies’. It was one or two pages of comic strips like Donald Duck, Lil’ Abner, Pop Eye, etc….& one night, as she was reading,  a masked man with a gun stepped into the room and started pulling drawers out of the buffet after he told her he wanted money and she told him she didn’t have any….Mama took us both by the hand and fled out the front door running to our next door neighbors, the Kelly’s.        

I remember Mr. Kelly grabbing his pistol and heading toward our house, as he shouted to his wife to call the police!  What is etched in my memory is Mrs. Kelly screaming at the top of her lungs, “Kelllly–Kelllly! Come back, Kelly!”

Don’t know whatever happened to the robber.