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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Memories of Childhood

My sister in law often says that Don, my older brother, gets a kick out of reading my memories about our family. These are not in any order, just as I remembered them..

I remember:

·         Don teaching some expensive, finely trained hunting dogs to chase rabbits.

·         Our pretty little mare, Molly, actually Don’s horse, biting Don’s back, leaving teeth marks. Dad was so angry, he was ready to sell her but Don insisted she was just trying to bite a fly that had landed on him. He rarely wore a shirt, outside, during the summer. 

·         When I was about five, I went complaining to Mom because the boys would never play what I wanted to play. She agreed and told the boys I could pick the next game. I chose dolls. Next thing I knew, they’d lined up my babies, outside, and were shooting them with rubber guns. I think they had made the guns from old inner tubes…. Slingshots?

·         One Thanksgiving, we spent the day just riding through the Smoky Mountains. Dad found a country hotel serving dinner with all the trimmings. We were the last diners of the day so were encouraged to eat a lot. Later, we stopped on the side of the winding road so Dad and the boys could cut a Christmas tree. They tied it on top of the car for its ride home. To me, nothing smells as good as a freshly cut pine tree.

·         Both our parents loved the mountains and as far as I know all their kids do too. Mother used to say, sometimes, that she just had to get to the mountains so that she could breathe better.

·         During most of the WW2 years, we lived on a farm --- so many of our memories stem from there, for lots of reasons. Our house, new I guess, lacked running water, gas, and electricity. There was a wartime shortage of pipes, wire etc. One had to get on a list and wait. There was a bathroom, but no running water etc. At first, we had to haul water from a well and heat it on top of the wood range. I still have burn scars on my arms from that stove. Our best source of heat was the dining room fireplace so that was mostly where we lived. Dad placed 3 or 4 big, oil lamps in the middle of our dining room table. We ate there, did homework, read the newspaper there.

·         We saved our pennies, them together, and bought “funny books” (comic books) and little cars [about the size of matchbox cars now]. I think the cars were 5 or 10 cents. 

·         The boys had elaborate tree houses in a big, old apple tree in our backyard. While they were at school one day, I climbed to Bobby’s treehouse, way high up, When I looked down, I had my first awful fear of heights…. Still have it. Finally, Mom came looking for me. She must have been worried because she said, “If you don’t come down right now I’m going to break a switch and wear you out!” I quickly scuttled down, never stopping to wonder how she was going to manage to climb that tree and spank me. (Thankfully, I thought of that, years later, when I found 2 yr old Bruce on top of our house, afraid to come back down the ladder. I was so pregnant with Dee, I couldn’t see my feet. Some workman had left the ladder propped against the house and I told Bruce to get down “If you don’t come down right now you’re going to get a spanking.” He was more afraid of the spanking than being up that high.)

·         Our last family dog was Pete, a big Staffordshire Terrier [pit bull]. They ordered him from a kennel up north , pure bred and exceedingly intelligent. He was always a house dog and had to be walked. He was about the size of a one lb roll of sausage when he arrived. Bobby did not like the dog in the room he shared with Don. However, Bob came to bed later so Pete went to bed with Don. When they heard Bob coming, Pete would dive under the cover and flatten himself against Don, hardly breathing. Years later, Bobby and I had a good laugh about it. Bob said he never let on that he knew Pete was there – just too funny!

·         The summer that I was15years old, Dad and Mom took Don and me on a wonderful trip to Washington, D.C. for a few days then on to New York City. We saw most of the tourist places in D.C. and took a guided tour of New York. One great memory is going to the Diamond Horseshoe nightclub. Some of the waiters recognized Dad, so they sent out for a case of baseballs for him to autograph. When we first went in, we were seated almost to the door, sorry seats. When they recognized Dad, we were moved almost to the stage.

·         When we first moved back to Atlanta, finding a place to live was a nightmare. Don spotted a moving van in front of a big old white frame house, on 9th Street. The house was just down the street from his school. He got to a phone, called Dad, and I think we had a house by night fall. I loved that house. 

·         The house was just one block from Piedmont Park, an easy walk. Our family and Mom’s liked to picnic and we had lots of picnics there. I took my kids there to feed the ducks and walk around the lake. One picnic tho, we met Dad’s brother and family at North Fulton Park [now Chastain Park]. After lunch, Don, Frank and I were allowed to walk to another section with fish ponds and a tunnel. This was pre WW2. I was about 5 maybe, Frank 7, Don 8. Well, Frank leaned too far over a pond and fell in. He came up and went back down. I guess we’d have just left him but Bobby came to check on us and pulled him out.

·         Bobby and Don were Baptized together on Pastor Awtrey’s arm, at First Baptist Church, Smyrna,Ga. Our Grandfather Hasty, along with our Cousin Patricia’s husband’s grandfather, donated the original land for that church.

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