R. G. Watkins
The woven photo of FDR reminds me that my dad once made up a pattern chain and wove a one-piece pair of overalls that could be worn by someone. Don’t know whatever happened to it.
Also, while I was still in school, Paul Bridges went to work as a designer. Soon after, he held a class on how to design patterns for the pattern makers to turn into a real pattern chain that could be used on a loom. My dad enrolled me the class along with a group of men, maybe 8 or 10, I do not recall how many, but we met in the superintendents office building at night. I learned a lot in the class but never put it to practical use. (Just another bit of trivia that came to mind after all these years.)
It was not the night before Christmas but sometime just before Christmas, I suspect it was in 1926 as I was about 5 years old. My father lived at the time one house north of Mr. Charlie’s on North Main street.
As kids will, I discovered hidden in a closet between some bedclothes a white rubber ball about four or five inches in diameter. When I took it to show my mother she took the ball (I have no idea what she did with it) and told me that Santa must have hidden it there so he would not forget it on Christmas.
Every day until Christmas I eagerly looked forward to playing with the ball. But, on Christmas morning, I didn’t receive it as I had expected. However, Worth Womack lived across the street and had a little girl my age who got a ball just like the one I didn’t get. Coincidence? I don’t think so. But the fact remains, I never did have a ball like that one!
Then it was just a year or two later when my father’s brother, Bob, drove my grandfather’s car to Spartanburg with his wife, Clara, and my mother and me to do Christmas shopping.
On the way home my aunt wondered aloud if I would ‘spill the beans’ and tell my younger sisters that there was no Santa Claus. I really felt ‘grown up’ when my mother stated, “No he won’t. He is big enough to know not to tell his sisters.” That confidence in me made an impression that has lasted ever since.
When we first moved back to Cliffside from Belton, S.C. [about 1936], we lived on Highland and had no running water or bathroom. We had both in S.C. and missed them. Soon after we returned my father took me to the mill for a hot shower. Did you know there were showers there? Just one flight of steps up from the boiler room where the old rope alley began, there was an area that was not in use but there were several shower stalls, four or five I don’t recall how many, and I just guess they had been used by workmen building the new hydroelectric plant that had just recently been installed. It was a pleasure to get a hot shower instead of using a tin wash tub to bathe. As we finished and started to leave, Jim “Hoot” Gibson stopped us and said, “Clarence, I wouldn’t use those showers if I were you. They’re infested with crabs.” Dummy me, I didn’t know what he meant and asked my father what crabs were. He told me they were little spider-like bugs that get on men who have been around bad women. It still took awhile for me to figure out what they were!