Robert's Memoirs Page 5 (1937 -38)
I bought a 12 gauge sportsman shotgun soon after I
went to work in the fall of 1935 at Charles H. Stone Chemical Co.. I first received 20¢
per hour and advanced to 25¢ per hour when F.D.R. encouraged businesses to work 40 hours
and pay 25¢. I continued to work and received raises of a penny or so an hour until in
June 1937 I was making $17.00 per week when Lettie and I were married.
I bought my shotgun from Smith-Wadsworth located
on South Tryon St. for $32.00. They gave me credit and I paid for it in a few months. At
this time you could hunt very close to where the plant was because it was the country. The
city limit was below Bryant Park on West Morehead St. I helped in feeding the family by
hunting quail, rabbits and squirrels.
Needing a good hunting dog, I traded a case of
shotgun shells to Guy Scruggs for a female beagle hound named Meally. I have owned several
hunting dog but never one that was as smart as Meally. Archie Carruthers, that worked for
us at Cyanamid, lived out in the country where Douglas International Airport is now
located. I hunted with Archie and other black men that worked for me and we always seemed
to have good hunts. Even though Meally was a hound, I could tell when she was trailing a
covey of quail by her actions. I would on many hunts bag several quail.
I owned a young Irish setter that had not been
trained when we were living with Mr. and Mrs. Strawn. We were moving the house and Mrs.
Strawn went into a bedroom and found my red Irish setter under the cover with his head on
the pillow. I think she thought I had something to do with the dog in the bed, but I
In 1937, American Cyanamid bought Charles H.
Stone, Inc., also the year of my marriage to Lettie. Soon after the takeover, they built a
three story office building to accommodate the sales and general accounting departments
and also room for a laboratory for the Calco Dyestuff Division. When the move was made
from West Morehead St. to Wilkinson Blvd & Donald Ross Rd., I met several characters
one named Jimmy Mizelle.
Jimmy decided to build a flat bottom boat in his
basement. When he finished he called me to help him move it to Lake Wylie for christening.
I drove one of the company trucks to transport it to the lake but upon arriving at Jimmy's
house we found it would not fit through the narrow doorway. After removing the door and
part of the outside steps we managed to get It out and on the truck. He had bought a Sears
and Roebuck Outboard engine to power the boat.
Lettie's youngest uncle, Harold Strawn,
accompanied us to Lake Wylie for the maiden voyage. We launched the boat and were doing
real well considering it was a cold, cloudy, windy, February day. Jimmy and I were on the
rear seat guiding the boat and Harold was on the front seat. Jimmy or I turned the motor
sharply and the bout flipped over with all of us in the cold water.The boat was full of
water but was floating.Jimmy was on one side, Harold was at the front and I was in the
Instead of holding on to the boat and pushing it
to shore, Jimmy decided he would like to turn the boat over and get on top and paddle with
our hands. When we turned the boat over the side hit Jimmy on the top of his head. During
all this mess Jimmy still had his hat on. When the boat hit him he was under water for
some time and when he surfaced he spit out water and crawled onto the boat. I remember his
hat had a crease where the boat had struck it. He told us to crawl aboard and paddle for
shore. Harold and I stayed in the water and kicked and pushed the boat to shore. We pulled
the boat several yards from the shore and covered the engine with some leaves then walked
about a mile to the road where there was a house. When we knocked on the porch door, a
lady came to the door and upon our asking, said she had no phone but that the next house
about half a mile down the road did.
We walked to the house and it was our luck
that the owner was home and drove us to the Byrum Shopton Store. Mr. Byrum had a large pot
bellied stove that was red hot. We were still wet and I took my wallet out to buy
something to eat and placed it on top of the heater. It, being leather, drew up into a
ball and I had the hardest time getting the money out in one piece. We went back the next
day and got the boat and motor. It sounds funny to have had such an experience but it was
serious business at the time.
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