Ashburn

Later on, about 1938 we moved to Ashburn where Daddy had a chance to begin working for himself. We lived in a nice house on McLendon street. It had built in cabinets in the dining room. I had never seen anything so grand except for the double french doors to the dining room in the house at Ariba. It also had a real in the house bathroom. I’m sure we were all very impressed with this upscale life. Daddy took us in the modern bathroom and gave us specific instruction on how to use it. Especially on the amount of tissue to be used. I’m sure there would be some stopped up plumbing in the days ahead.

 

Even though the house was the best we had ever lived in the times were much slimmer for us with Daddy going out on his own. Of course he still was preaching at country churches every Sunday. These church people had little money so often we would get potatoes, beans, syrup, and sometimes a quilt. We were glad to get these things and they were certainly used, but gas money was hard to get. I remember a few times when Daddy actually had to borrow money to get gas to get to the church. They were most always a good drive from home and that meant you stayed all day till after church night service. Back then you had Sunday School starting at 9:30, then preaching service. Everyone was back at Church by 5:30 for BYPU (Baptist young people union) and preaching (which could last longer than one hour) which meant you did not get home till around 9 or 9:30 pm. Folks didn’t think it was worth while to go to church and be there for just an hour. But church was not only a time of worship. It was a time to visit, to socialize and get to really know one another. After all there was not many places in the community to get together other than the church. Young people filled the church and if there was a balcony it was alway full of young people. But of course there was no TV’s, bowling alleys, movies (not on Sundays), not fast food places, no pizza either. I didn’t know anything about pizza until I was grown, married and had a family. So yes, one could grow up and live and survive without these really wonderful things.

 

When I would go with Mur and Daddy on Sundays it was fun until I got older. We were invited to different homes to have lunch, spend the afternoon and have supper before heading back to church for BYPU. Most families we great, had wonderful meals, neat homes and made you feel welcome. Many we visited often through the years and came to feel very comfortable to be with. However there were a few that made lasting impressions on us. One house, as we were coming in the front door, the husband of the lady, who had invited us, was going out the back door cursing and he ran down thur the field to the woods, where he stayed the rest of the day.

 

Mostly the food was so good and better than what we were used to, but occasionally it was pretty bad. The place wasn’t very clean or maybe downright dirty. It was had to try to get a little bit down. One time this family was having a big BBQ- meat and hash. It was summertime, probably July, and it was all outdoors. There was some big shade trees but still hot and of course gnats were doing their thing. Back then grown-ups  ate first, children came later so by the time I got up there not too much food was left and no silverware. I don’t remember how I ate but I’m sure I found a way.

 

I know one church we went to, a large country church with a big membership, always had a larger than usual bunch of teensagers. One of the really cute boys ask if he could take me home one Sunday night. I asked him did he know how far away I lived. I was sure he didn’t want to drive that far, (at least 20 miles on way). He assured me he did and that was okay. Two of his friends (a boy and girl) went with us. Guess that was when I first learned a few miles meant little if you wanted to go somewhere or be with someone.

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Mr. Epps

Occasionally we would attend the Baptist Church on Sunday. Helen’s Aunt played the piano and she was very good, the singing, I thought was beautiful too, I never quite could understand all the words so I just made up words and sounds that seemed right. That was years before I knew about making a joyful noise to the Lord. But I guess that was what I was doing and no one seem to mind at all.

Ariba was just a little country town, but it was nice and comfortable. Everybody knew everybody and most folks were friendly and most everybody got along well. Most folks didn’t have much and those that did mixed in with everyone and no one seem to think much about who had what and who didn’t . Many of the children from outside town would bring dried prunes to school to eat for lunch. They would give them to anybody who wanted some, as there were tired of them. I learned later it was part of the food surplus the government gave out. I liked getting them since we didn’t have them at home. There was no school lunch programs at all, so we took whatever we had at home to have for lunch. I guess we had jelly biscuits and sometimes eggs.

Near Easter time the school had a big Easter egg hunt in the field between the school and Mr. and Mrs. Spies house. All the eggs were boiled and some were even colored but not very many. There were no candy eggs. I’m sure there may have been some but no one could but them for a big hunt. It was fun to try to find them, but they usually didn’t taste to good. The family who lived next door to us invited me to go to Hawpond (sp?) community with them to the Pate’s for an Easter egg hunt. I went and was so excited since a big Easter basket was to be given as a prize to the one who found the most eggs. I was pretty sure that would be me. I’d never seen anything look as pretty as that basket. It surely had a lot of candy in it. Well guess who go the prize. The Pate’s granddaughter. I was very sure she didn’t find the most eggs. I was very unhappy for probably a whole day after that. But I’m sure Bud, James, and I found something else to occupy our mind or at least mine.

Since we had a fireplace in every room it was easy for us to get some paper, roll it up and light it and for a couple of seconds pretend we were smoking. I shudder when I think how blessed we were to not get burned or set the house on fire. God really must have had a platoon of Angels looking out for us.

The most awful thing that could ever have happened did happen while we were living there. One of the hands there that worked for Daddy was bad to drink, as many of the men did, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. This man was usually pretty wild and Mr. Epps the town policeman (the only one) would tell him to calm down and not have any more trouble with him. But this one night he really went crazy and had got him a gun. Mr. Epps went up to him like he always did and thought (I guess) that he would give him the gun and calm on down. Instead he started shooting and Mr. Epps died right there on the spot.

The men in town were up in arms and of course everybody was upset. The men all waited until they knew that our family was away (gone on Saturday to big town or maybe to Grandma’s) and they went to the jail, got him out and took him to the back street (there were only two) and lynched him, actually burned him alive. Daddy would never have been a part of that and the people know that. It was so terrible we didn’t want to talk or think about it. I heard later some of the boys in town went later and found pieces of coins in the ashes. I don’t know if they really did or if it was boys just talking.

In later years I came to realize even nice people can do terrible things, especially if there is a group (mob) involved. Even now I wish I could have stopped them. I wonder if those people didn’t sometimes wish they hadn’t gone along with that too. Mr. Epps left a wife and an adopted son who was about 12 or 13 at the time. I’ve thought too how that made the black people there, and how his family must have felt. He probably had small children too. A think like that is certainly something that would never be forgotten by anyone with any care about human life or what is right or wrong. Handling things in the wrong way just makes two wrongs and justice without any real meaning.