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Looking down in the valley, Inez

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Buckhorn State Park, Buckhorn

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Carr Creek State Park, Sassafras

Memories of My Childhood

Page 6

 

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I have never gone back to Glomawr. I suppose that the coal camp has disappeared by now. I was
there during my sixth grade. I remember our living there as if it were yesterday. Glomawr was divided into three parts. The lower part from the river to the Negro section, the Negro Section, and the houses above to the graveyard on top of the hill. I believe that there was a footpath from the graveyard over the top of the mountain to Second Creek. We lived on the right side of road above the Negro Section. The school, coal mine, company store, and other stores were in the first section. The Negro Section had its own post office, general store, school, and church. This was my first experience at segregation. We never had this at Scuddy. Most of the residents in Glomawr, did not practice any segregation. By law, they were separated, but not in everyday life. It was a lot easier for me to buy something at their store than for me to walk another half mile to the company store. We played marbles with them and once in a while they would stop by our house to play. One of of our Negro buddies was George Jones. He nicked name Marcus Bean Bug and me Tater Bug. On Sunday morning, one could hear the Negro gospel singers for a long ways. Their singing was some of the happiest that I had ever heard.

Uncles Shade and John S. lived across from us. Uncle William lived a little further up the hollow and Uncle George lived near the commisary. I don't remember if any of my uncles or cousins ever came to visit us. We would see them once in a while at their houses. When at Scuddy, Uncle Taylor lived a short distance above us and we would regularly visit his family. Aunt Elizabeth came to see us once when I was about nine years old and again when we lived at Glomawr. Except for these two, I do not recall that any other of my uncles or aunts or their children on my father's side ever came to visit us at any time.  Mother's sisters lived all over Perry County and it was almost impossibe for any of them to visit. However, we did vist them from time to time.

 

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1940's Coca Cola floor model cooler 1940 Rockola juke box RC Cola

When we moved to Glomawr, Dad had no farm to earn extra money. He decided to buy a grocery store at the mouth of the hollow near the Kentucky River. Not only did he sell groceries, he also sold sandwiches and beer. Our uncle Will took care of the store during the day. Dad took care of it at night and weekends. In the mountains, soft drinks were called dope. Other places they are sodas, tonics, and soft drinks.  Why were they called dope? Some of them, including Coca Cola, had cocaine in them. Coca is short for cocaine. The people would get doped up and some would become addicted to the drink. Hence the name "dope".  In 1912, the federal government made these drinks remove the cocaine from them. There were two of my friends that were driving to Ohio. They stopped in Cincinnati to get gas and something to drink. The attendant asked them what they wanted. They asked for dope. He called for a sheriff . My friends had a hard time explaining that all they wanted was a NeHI Grape.

One thing that would have my father shaking his head. All of his soft drinks were five cents each with a two cent deposit if they left the store. Three cents was for the company leaving his a two-cent profit. Every Saturday a kid wolud come in wanting to buy one. He would ask Dad what kind of dope he had. Dad woud tell him all of his brands and invariably, the kid would select the first one. He woud also only have four cents. Dad would ask the boy if he had another penny. When the boy said that his mother had only given him four cents, Dad would give the boy the drink. After the boy would leave the store, he would look at me and say that he knew that the boy's mother would only give him four cents because she knew that he would not be refused.

I stayed Friday and Saturday nights with my father. We had a bed in the storeroom. Sometimes, we could hear people trying to break in. Dad kept a baseball bat handy just in case. No one ever broke in, but one morning while he was walking home from the store, he could hear two men behind him discussing which one would shoot him. Dad said he just kept walking and they decided not to shoot. They were planning to rob him. He would always carry a bank money bag with his money. Nothing happened. There were a few tables where one could enjoy a sandwich and beer and listen to the jukebox. The juke box was a Rockola and one of my favorite songs was Gene Autry singing "I'm Back in The Saddle Again."

One Saturday night, one of the customers had too much to drink and was talking loudly about my father stealing a pound of bologna that he was going to take home. Dad told him that he had not stolen his bologna, but the man would not listen to him. He called Dad a liar and he was coming across the counter and get it. As he started to come across the counter, Dad picked up a crow bar from under the counter that he kept for protection. He showed the man the crowbar and told him that he was not a liar and if he came across the counter, he would live to regret it. The man back off and told Dad that he believed him. He and Dad started hunting for the bologna and found it under a bench against the wall. The man apologized to Dad and staggered home. My fatther never mentioned this incident to anyone. There was never any more trouble from anyone.

One of the things that I remember about my school year at Glomawr was a fight that I had with one of my class mates. My father had bought a pair of knee pants for Fred and me. We did not want to wear them because they were out of fashion and students would make fun of us. He insisted, so we wore them. When we showed up for class, one of the boys called me Bloomers. He was much larger than I. Everyone was laughing and he called me the name again. I told him to stop and went to class. After school was out and were leaving the school yard. He called me bloomers again. I walked over to a hillside, took two steps up, and dared him to call me bloomers. He walked over and repeated the name. I hit him with my fist in the mouth and he went down. He got up crying and said that he was going to tell on me. I looked at him and I dared him to tell. He not only did not tell and he never bothered me again. When I got home I told dad what happened and told him that I was never going to wear those pants again. He understood and said that we did not have to. 

I started chewing Beechnut Chewing tobacco while playing with some of the neighbor kids. I did this for about two days when I forgot to remove it before I had a drink of water from one of the water pumps that we used. I swallowed the tobacco juice and that put the end to my ever using tobacco again. When I say that I was sick, I mean that I WAS SICK! My mother did not know that I had been chewing tobacco and when she saw how sick I was, she said that it should teach me a good lesson and it did. I also remember that we were caught several times trying to crawl under the fence at the drive-in theater at the top of the Cornett Hill at Christopher.

One morning in July, when I awoke, I could not move any part of my body. No matter how hard I tried, I could not move even a finger. Dad had gone to work and Marcus was in the kitchen fixing breakfast. He came in and told me to get up and help. I told him that I couldn’t. He told Mom that I was trying to get out of helping him. She came in to see what was going on and I told her that I could not move. She was trying to get me out of bed when she realized that I was telling the truth. I was not hurting at all. I just was unable to move. When Dad came home and saw me, he called the doctor. The doctor examined me and told him that I had polio. He said to keep me covered and there was not much help that he could do at this time. He would check back in a few days to see how I was doing. Two days later, when I woke up and I could move my arms and legs again. I struggled to get out of bed and could walk with some help. The next day, I was better and I told Mom that I wanted to go to to Sunday school. It took me some time and with a lot of pain, I was able to go. The more I walked the better I could move my legs. By nightfall, I was doing very well. The next morning, when I awoke, I had one of the worst headaches that have ever had in my lifetime. I was screaming. After about an hour, the headache subsided and eventually, I was OK. I could get about, but I had a lot of stiffness in my joints. I started walking two miles a day and eventually, I could run. I finally was normal again, but I had aches and pains in my joints for years. A chriopractor in the Air Force twisted me every which way, but I never got the pains again. I never told any one what happened to me and even now my brothers do not remember this. I eventually learned that drinking contaminated water caused most polio cases. I remember that I had gone swimming the day before in the river and I had accidentally drunk a lot of the water. I later learned that this was not a unique case. Most children who had polio went through what I did and had the same aches and pains. Also, a lot of them had these pains return in their senior years. Only a few people were completely paralyzed. A few weeks later, My parents decided to move back to Scuddy.

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Loretta Lynn
1935-
"The coal miner's daughter"


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Emmy Lou Harris
1947-
When it comes to folk music, there is none better.


Blue Memories
Royal Feltner
Started in 1955 Completed on
May 4th, 2008

Blue memories don't let them stay;
They will haunt you night and day.
Blue memories don't let them hang around
For they will only drag you down.

I found a love I thought was true
And I could love my whole life through;
I had prayed to the heavens above
That I would find this one true love;
I gave her my heart on bended knees,
But here I am with blue memories.

Blue memories don't let them stay;
They will haunt you night and day.
Blue memories don't let them hang around
For they will only drag you down.

She said that she was through
For she had found someone new
I thought that we would never part,
But I'm left with an aching heart.
For all of my tears and all my pleas,
All I have is blue memories.

Blue memories don't let them stay;
They will haunt you night and day.
Blue memories don't let them hang around
For they will only drag you down.

I am blue there's no doubt;
I am down, but I'm not out.
I know that there's a love meant for me
And  love each other through eternity;
There will be hopes and there will be fears,
There will be laughs and there will be tears;
We will pray each night on bended knees
And thanking God for great memories.

 

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