Robert's Childhood Memories Page 3
I remember going to Simon Williams' pond
and fishing, which was not allowed, but I would hide in the bushes and catch Bream. When I
got home the switch was always waiting on me. I would make a loud cry and Mama would seem
to not whip as long as when I would not cry.
My brother Maynard was always getting hurt.
One time he climbed the ladder to the roof of the wood shed to get some apples Mama had on
a sheet drying. He slipped and rolled down the ladder crying "Robert did it, Robert
did it". When Mama came out to switch me, Mrs. Moore, next door, came running over
and hollering "Miss Prissy, Robert had nothing to do with Maynard falling, he was
over by the Walnut tree hulling walnuts". Mrs. Moore saved me from a real switching
that day. I remember another time Maynard was in the play house in a large Cherry tree and
fell 12 or 15 feet striking limbs as he fell. His lips were cut but he started to cry
"Robert did it" and I was scared he was hurt but I told him if he blamed me that
I would whip him. His gums and lips probably should have been stitched but it healed.
I remember Buster Branch shooting me with
his air rifle and I was crying and went and told Papa. He went down to his house and made
them give him the air rifle and he broke it over his knee. I was never bothered after
I remember playing on what we called the cotton
block where bales of cotton weighing 500 lbs. were pulled onto a large two wheeled hand
truck by using a cotton hook. They were then loaded onto boxcars and shipped to the New
England States. I can remember seeing a small black man take the cotton hook and pull a
bale of cotton onto his back and walk with it. I liked watching Papa, Mr. Britt, Uncle
Jesse and others play "set back" in the hotel lobby, sometimes till midnight.
I can remember skating on one skate because I only
had one and could skate real well. Later, Dolly bought me a pair and I would wear our a
set of wheels sometimes in one day. The wheels were steel and the concrete would wear them
out in a very short time. I believe the pair cost between $1.00 and $2.00. Better quality
cost $2.00 and extra wheels were 10¢ each. The skates fastened to the sole of your shoe
and not having thick soles due to wear, I would cut bands of rubber from old tire inner
tubes and secure my foot along with the clamps to the shoe sole. Leather half soles cost
50¢, glue-on rubber soles cost 25¢, and good work shoes cost from $1.00 to $2.00. I had
a pair of leather boots with a pocket on the side for a small knife which I lost. Some
times now I dream of the hunt that went on to find the knife.
Maynard and I decided to run away to Richard
Gills' one day. We packed a couple of baked sweet potatoes and headed out about five miles
to the Gills'. After arriving it was getting late in the afternoon so we headed back. We
would cry a little and keep walking until we reached the Spruill place on the Louisburg
Road. We went in and I don't remember their names but the people knew we were scared and
were good enough to drive us home. We did not run away any more.
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