Paving Main Street
My folks lived and I was born in the first house on the right on Shelby Highway (and past the road down to the old trash pile). Then my folks moved to Church Street about 4 or 5 houses on the left as you go north. It was right up the rise above a rocked-in spring by the creek running through there. Later they moved to North Main, first house north of Mr. Charlie’s. While there [my sister] Virginia was born. One morning when Virginia was just a young baby, she smothered in a pillow. My mother found her and was screaming and carrying on. Would you believe, my father’s youngest brother, Craig, just happened to be walking downtown and was passing the house. He ran in and started breathing into the baby’s mouth. It worked. She is still with us. I had diptheria there. Dr. Bobo Scruggs would visit and give me a shot in the abdomen every morning. I had everything kids had before I started school. As a result, I never missed a school day due to sickness.
There was a tree in the front yard. One morning playing there, I stumbled on a tree root and came up crying. Mr. Wilson was passing and asked me, “What is the matter. did the ground fly up and hit you?” Well that was too much. I was so mad I stopped crying. Had I been big enough, I would have stuck out at him. The way of kids! Mr. Wilson lived two houses down the street where later B.B.Goode lived and at that early time there was a well in the front yard.
This would have been in 1925: one day a monster of a machine came trundling up the street. It was all black, had an open fire burning in it. There was a pipe running cross ways below and behind it with nozzles squirting hot coal tar on the street. That was the new “pavement.” It was a hot summer and that tar would bubble up in the sun. Kids would walk along the edge, look for blisters and go out on that hot pavement to bust the blisters with their big toes. SOME FUN!
Just before Christmas, I found a rubber ball maybe 5 or 6 inches in size and it had little rubber “bumps” all over it. OOPS! I had discovered my Christmas present. But come Christmas, Santa did not bring me a ball. He did leave a ball just like the one I found at the Worth Womack house across the street.
Then the folks moved to the northeast corner of Reservoir Street and Mud Cut, kitty corner across from the “teachers’ home.” Bill Crawley lived in front of the teachers’ home. He had a son, Guy, and a daughter Mildred. Behind us on Mud Cut lived Earl Brooks and in front of him was Bob Sparks. Bob had some rabbits in a cage. One day, Carl Sparks and I decided we would try out something we had heard. We had been told that to kill a rabbit you hold him up by his ears and give him a blow behind his neck with the edge of the palm of the other hand. As I recall, the old buck was so heavy Carl could hardly hold it up with one hand (remember we were just young). When the rabbit was struck he started scratching Carl’s arm causing him to lose hold, and the rabbit ran off. We like to have never caught that thing. We both got a whipping for that little episode.
There was a path from the Sparks’ back yard leading down into the valley below, where there was a rock spring house. There was a “shelf” inside and just beneath it the spring water ran through. It was a rock box-like a structure where people would keep milk bottles. Not everybody had an icebox back then and even if you did, you might not have money to buy ice. And there was a very pleasant little glade there, a nice place for kids to play and boys to catch spring lizards and crawdaddys.
In ’33 I believe it was, my dad took a job as overseer in the Blair Mill at Belton, S.C. and I attended grades 6 and 7 there. The high school (8-11) was at a different location, and of the 35 or 40 kids who finished the 7th grade, only 4 or 5 of us were fortunate enough to go on to high school. The grammar school had a graduation cermony like it was college. Everyone wore clean overalls, slicked down their hair and those who had shoes, wore them.
Fred Roberson had a Model A and one Sunday morning Fred, George (“Diver”) White, and I took a trip to the mountains. Went up through Lake Lure, and as we started down the other side of the mountains, through the “loops,” Fred kept saying that he could hardly turn the steering wheel. About half way down he stopped and I took the wheel. Sure enough, it took all my strength to turn the wheel. We crept into Asheville and stopped at a service station. The attendant found that the worm gear at the lower end of the steering column was bone dry! We went on up into the mountains, where I don’t recall. Fred crawled into the back seat and I was at the wheel when we came to a sharp 90 degree turn that led onto a bridge. I had to slap the brakes and when I did something hit the back of my seat. It was Fred, asleep on the back seat. He had slid into the floor. Now I don’t know if it was just his good nature or if the sudden jar of sliding off into the floor was such a shock he couldn’t think, anyway he did not complain. He also did not go back to sleep.