Sunday, June 29, 2008

Play Therapy

The child had complete freedom to select and use the available toys.The principle was to be a friend and a playmate and use as many positive words as possible. You were to accept aggression toward you. You could protect yourself from injury but in no way reprimand or retaliate. This to me was an application of the Biblical principle of "turning the other cheek." There was a variety of games and toys to select, some requiring a partner, some you could play by yourself. There was a punching bag to vent your aggression. The playroom was well designed for children through the Elementary school age. My client was nine years old. His first outlet was the Punching Bag. He used a baseball bat made from heavy plastic. He let one of the back swings hit me a pretty hard lick. This was called testing. I passed the test by not reacting. I used a positive remark: "you are real strong". He involved me in one game the first day. We threw the basketball back and forth. He threw it to me as hard as he could. We were not at the friendship level until several days later.
He was a father absent boy which made me think about my research project. My partner learned that the divorce took place when he was three years old and his father had moved to a distant city.
I worked with the parents of a ten year old girl. The problem was readily apparent. She was housed in the room with her teen age sister who was now budding out in a beautiful way. Her father was large in size and his genetics has gone to her. She was large and unattractive. My partner received some of these feelings from her in their friendly conversations. The first discussion was getting her a private room which was not easy to accomplish. The father saw the light and built on an addition. The second point was to have more one to one situations when the sister was not around. The third was to teach her some skills compatible with her largeness. She liked to sing and this became a real opportunity. She was given voice lessons. All of these talks came one at a time but the parents understood fully and set their thinking in the right direction. These were my two practicums that put my psycholgy knowledge to work.
Another course I took called the Psychology of Stress was beneficial to me in a personal way, but opened the door for a new course when I returned to teaching. It could replace the Child Development course which my department head took away from me.


My office was in Old Main. My Introductory Psychology class were taught ti The Old Main Auditorium. My other classes were in Child Development. While at St. Andrew’s I had taken a part time opportunity to teach Introductory Psychology at a Community college in South Carolina at night. I only went one day a week. The extra income was very helpful.
My second year at Pembroke I was made the acting head of the Psychology department, I was asked to hire another professor. An ad was placed in the Psychology Today magazine. I received several applicants. The one that impressed me the most was Wright Killian who was graduating with a Master’s Degree in psychology from East Carolina University. He had recently married and he was interested in settling down in Lumberton. He was hired and the department offered two sections of Introduction.
The department moved to Locklear Hall, a real separation from the Education Department and both Wright and I had an office. The third year a Department Head with a Doctorate was hired. Joe Sumner was trained in the same area that I was. He took away my Child Development course. He also took my office and sent me back to Old Main. This was a very unpleasant year for me. Since I wanted to begin work on my Doctorate, I worked out in several directions to take a Semester out for study. I selected Arizona State University because I wanted to continue exploring the Western scenery which we had seen briefly on our trip with the children. I applied for a federal grant for professors teaching minority groups which I received, Ellen was still teaching and I had accumulated some savings which was used for financing. I stayed in an apartment complex where other students were housed. I met a female student two doors down who liked horseback riding. She had brought her own horse and I rented one to ride in the scenic desert areas. This was as far as our relationship went.
My classes were of course in the psychology area. Statistics and Physiological were my most difficult courses. Child Development and Play Therapy were my most interesting courses. The Play Therapy class taught us the principles to be applied in the Therapy situation. I had a female partner. She was with the girls and I was with the boys. The partner talked with the parents while the child was in the play situation usually limited to an hour. The child was in complete charge to do as he wanted to.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


My office was in Old Main. My Introductory Psychology class were taught ti The Old Main Auditorium. My other classes were in Child Development. While at St. Andrew’s I had taken a part time opportunity to teach Introductory Psychology at a Community college in South Carolina at night. I only went one day a week. The extra income was very helpful.
My second year at Pembroke I was made the acting head of the Psychology department, I was asked to hire another professor. An ad was placed in the Psychology Today magazine. I received several applicants. The one that impressed me the most was Wright Killian who was graduating with a Master’s Degree in psychology from East Carolina University. He had recently married and he was interested in settling down in Lumberton.. He was hired and the department offered two sections of Introduction
The department moved to Locklear Hall, a real separation from the Education Department and both Wright and I had an office. The third year a Department Head with a Doctorate was hired. Joe Sumner was trained in the same area that I was. He took away my Child Development course. He also took my office and sent me back to Old Main. This was a very unpleasant year for me. Since I wanted to begin work on my Doctorate, I worked out in several directions to take a Semester out for study. I selected Arizona State University because I wanted to continue exploring the Western scenery which we had seen briefly on our trip with the children. I applied for a federal grant for professors teaching minority groups which I received, Ellen was still teaching and I had accumulated some savings which was used for financing. I stayed in an apartment complex wh
ere other students were housed. I met a female student two doors down who liked horseback riding. She had brought her own horse and I rented one to ride in the scenic desert areas. This was as far as our relationship went.
My classes were of course in the psychology area. Statistics and Physiological were my most difficult courses. Child Development and Play Therapy were my most interesting courses. The Play Therapy class taught us the principles to be applied in the Therapy situation. I had a female partner. She was with the girls and I was with the boys. The partner talked with the parents while the child was in the play situation usually limited to an hour. The child was in complete charge to do as he wanted to.

Presbyterian Junior College

The opening at Presbyterian Junior College was for a Chaplain. I taught Bible, Psychology and German.This was like sunrise after a long sleepless night. The move to Laurinburg was a happy time for both of us- our own home,new friends, and a less stressful occupation. I enjoyed my work and friends at PJC. You were also included in many of the functions. The move to St Andrews was very uplifting for me. I also had access to the Swimming Pool to begin a real exercise program. I could see the handwriting on the wall and knew I would be ousted. I scheduled my classes so that I could go to the University of Richmond to take that one course that I had to drop. The Department head was a close friend of mine at John Marshall. I was forced to do pulpit supply work every Sunday in order to make ends meet. The second year this was eased as you went to work again at Covington Street School. You had some happy times in your work and made some special friends. You had some help with Stella, but she was not very good. These were hard years for you and you did not have a very understanding husband.
After two years at St. Andrews I was informed in a letter that I would not receive tenure because I did not have doctorate. I was moved to the Guidance Center. Dr Gwyn was in charge and Bob Urie worked from a wheel chair. He was a victim of polio and was permanently paralized. My most enjoyable experiences was playing Bridge with friends. I completed my course at the University of Richmond and worked on my Thesis for the degree at the Guidance Center. I selected to do the vocational pattern for the Presbyterian Ministry. The ministers came to the Center with their students and it was convenient for them to join in the desired testing. This also gave me a good sample of ministers in various sized pastorates. I did 100 with ability tests, interest inventories, and special area tests. The committee was pleased with my Thesis - The Occupational Pattern fo The Presbyterian Ministry. I received my Master’s Degree in Psychology.
I heard about a teaching position at Pembroke State College about twenty miles away from Laurinburg. They had an accredidation examination by the Southern Association. Since they did not have a Professor in the Education Department with a Psychology degree, I was welcomed to the faculty. The remarkable part was the keeping of my Associate Professor title and did not have to start at the bottom.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kirkwood and Parsons

I remember well our happy experiences with the people at Kirkwood, the visits from the Parks and Carlene our Babysitter. I remember the Scout Troop, the active Senior High and Pioneer Group. My problem at Kirkwood was the Janitor and trying to get a Nursury started. You were very busy and happy watching Mary Ann, but Oh that Easy Washer and hanging out diapers. I got into trouble with my officers (Henry Pitts) when I tried to work for the Seminery campaign. I sent my distress signal to Dr. Appleby and we moved to Parsons.Our years in Parsons were some of he happiest in our 50 years. I had a good Congregation, a good Choir, an active Senior High group with good adult advisors, a good Pioneer group. I had a very enjoyable camp opportunity each summer. Our son was born and we watched the children grow in their cutest days and words. I remember your hard work with the Easy Washer and drying diapers in our vacant room. We had friends and good relationships all around us. You had regular help and good babysitters. I began graduate study with Charlie Moore in the sermonary in wittsburg according to Mary Ann. I remember how you went with me to my graduation. We spent the night in a room in the dormitory. I still had my stomach flare-ups and went to Phillippi hospital for a thorough check-up. I learned about stress and what it could do to your bodily processes. I was urged to engage in regular exercise and advised to seek a less stressful occupation. The following summer at Camp New Hope was a memorable experience for both of us. I swam every day, the children had playmates among the counselors and you had relief from some of your responsibilites The next year we moved to Richmond where I could begin study for the teaching field. You had a teaching position to support us. We were introduced to TV. This turned out to be one of the most stressful of our 50 years. Mary Ann started to school and brought home illness after illness which Fred contracted along with her. In my college courses I had one professor who made life difficult.In the spring your health broke down and you could not continue teaching. There would be no more monthly checks. Our only income was from my supply preaching as East Hanover presbytery was good to me. Annie came to our rescue,however. She told me at this time about some land Papa had set aside for his two girls. My only relief was swimming at the YMCA.


I have been thinking about my future wife. The relationship began with an outing in the Ginter Park Young Adult group. Mary Hood somehow had a list of the Seminary entering class. She called me in Bon Air and directed me to pick Ellen up along with several others. We drove in my old Chevrolet with her beside me, to Massanetta. Most of our dates were with outings with the Young Adult where we got to know all the bunch. I remember going with Ellen to Tobacco Road and several Loewes movies. I remember well the library sofa and the trips out to Howard Johnsons. I remember well Ellen's summer school at UNC and my field work at Kenly. Every Friday and Saturday were great. I remember the back and forth letters and my spelling surprise with a Z. I remember the engagement and the wedding. Mitch was Best Man and Lawrence was just there to tell me how to act on the honeymoon. I remember well the train ride to New York City. I remember the beautiful experiences as we saw the City at Christmas, the Rocketts and the Play Carousel. Then back to our little apt. with eggplant purple floors. I remember the Tuna Fish dish that you knew so well and served often. I remember quite well that question: would buying a car be a good way to spend a savings account. You also brought home the check each month. The old Chevvy was gone and the new Chevvy adorned the driveway. My Field Work for the summer was a day camp at Byrd Park. I also had a little garden at Mission Court. You brought home the check for the next year. I remember Dr Fitzgerald had told you that you had a Tilted Uterus which would make it hard to get pregnant. We began to try in May and you conceived the first time. We moved to Kannapolis with a minimum of furniture. Lawrence sent us a refrigerator and washing machine. We gradually bought the furniture. Some of it we still have today. Ellen, I remember your struggle with morning sickness in a house without air conditioning. Mary Ann came on a Saturday night, and I had to preach the next morning
The birth process had its problems. You had a torn vagina and the doctor wanted to use surgery to to repair you. Henry Pitts told me about this doctor’s reputation for using the knife. I talked to Oren Moore the pastor in Concord and he gave me name of a doctor in Concord. He examined Ellen but felt that it would in time heal on its own. What a joy to escape the knife.


I was completing my courses at the University of Richmond for a degree in psychology so our time together was somewhat limited. I proposed to Wilma and bought her an engagement ring. I drove to Connecticut to visit he. We were not going to get married until I started to the Seminary. It would have been a long engagement for planned to wait a year where we could visit each other during the vacations while I was teaching in Clifton Forge Virginia. I was given five different couses to teach and found myself overwhelmed. My only positive experience was singing in a community choir. To add to my distress Wilma broke off the engagement. She did not give any reason but I felt that she did not want to marry a minister as she knew that was the direction I was going.She only had a high school education, so I decided it was best. She had taught me some love making techniques which I put to use later.
I resigned my teaching position in Clifton Forge and returned home to wait to go to Seminary. A teaching position opened up at St. Christopher’s in Richmond. I answered the ad and took the position. I had to live on campus in the boys dormitory with another older more experienced teacher to control the dorm behavior. Here I taught only Geography to 4th and 5th graders. The course was simple but many of these boys in a private school had behavior problems. They broke me in early and I could see why my predicessor had resigned. One day several students came up to my desk to block my view while they asked questions while others tossed books over their heads to assualt me. I was enraged but withheld negative comment. I gave the entire class demerits which they had to work off on Saturday. I devised a little game with geography questions and answers. There were two sides competing against each other as the game continued for a week.


I received a pass to Nice France. I remember till this day - the ocean and the sunsets. I rented a bicycle and rode the entire length of the Riviera all the way to the Italian border.
After the war our unit was in the army of occupation. An opportunity opened up for me to study French for three months at Dijon University. I had a special teen age tutor named Jessie Laderick. She did not know much English but her older brother who was in school there did. We were a threesome most of the time. Jessie played the piano and I was able to sing with her in her home. We played tennis together and went to several movies together. I will always remember when we went swimming together in a nearby creek. The French put on their bathing suits behind a towel. They laughed at me when I went behind a tree. I wrote Jessie several times -half French and hafl English. She wrote me but I had to translate. I sent her several Care packages after the war.
My second post-war opportunity was a three month study at Glasgow University in Scotland. I took Scotish History and Philosophy. I had an army friend and we stayed at a Boarding House where we met a Medical student. There were many discussions but my primary joy was touring the countryside by Bike and hiking. Scottish heather was in bloom on Ben Lomend with Loch Lomend below and am reliving it now.
After Glasgow I went home for discharge. My first blow was Marguerite’s telling me that I was not the one but to soften the impact I met a nice of Miss Harder who had a appartment in my mother’s house. My relationship with Wilma was short and sweet. Her visit with Miss Harder was for one month. We were often alone in the apartment and did everything but enter. Wilma was experienced and taught me all the various techniques of hugging and kissing.


Was closed and everyone was shipped to Combat units. I was assigned to the 12th Armored Division medical batallion in Camp Barclay, Texas. It had long been fully organized with all of the major positions filled. Four of us ASTP soldiers were assigned to the very lowest level. The platoon sergeant was very tough and uneducated except in military discipline.. He seemed to want to make it difficult for his newest wards. The next months in the Texas summer were the most difficult in my entire life. The climate, the dust, and dealing with tasks well below my special training. combined to make me quite miserable. We had three doctors, two of them right out of med school and the company commander older and more seasoned. There was a dentist and his assistant. My two best friends were George Thalman,, a sergeant who understood my plight and Irvin Sternlicht one of the ASTP assignees. We went to town together on week end passes. My most pleasant memory involved a three day pass to Dallas. We soldiers hitch-hiked because drivers were very attentive to give us a ride. I was standing by the highway in a small Texas town with the heat bearing down. On a hot Saturday, a little girl brought me out a glass of ice water. I was grateful with many thanks. I toured Dallas spending the night at a USO center. I was getting educated about the availability of girls but I was afraid of VD. My most pleasant visit was to Southern Methodist University..During this period of time I wrote letters to two girl friends - Margaret Berryman in Bon Air and Dorothy Belk in Talladega. I corresponded with several of my friends in the old Boy Scout troop Mail Call was a very pleasant time.
In the Fall our division shipped out to New York to go overseas. While waiting in New York I was able to redo some of the experiences I had with my brother Mitch as a teenager. Our staying New York was short as we went in a convoy on our way to England. Our unit was together on one Liberty ship. My most pleasant memory on the ocean was viewing a number of beautiful sunsets on the water. In England I worked daily in a local army hospital but managed week end passes to go to London to the USO and Red Cross centers.I learned to play pool and developed some skill in Ping Pong. My friends were the same ones I had in Texas. We liked to do the same kind of activities. Opportunities for girls were plentiful but we did not participate. We toured the famous buildings of the day.


Homw. I used my Model A Ford for great advantage. I renewed my relationship with Margarete Berryman.. Basic training was difficult for me. I was not in good physical condition. The obstacle course and the long marches with back packs kept me puffing. Dorm life was very unpleasant because of the alcohol problem. There was a nightly bed check so your bed had better not be empty. I escaped a lot of the week end dorm life because of my week end passes.
A the end of my basic training I had a choice before me - Where to go next. I could have stayed on for training as an officer or go on to Medical Technicians School. I selected the latter because I thought I would become a Lab technician. I was sent to Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta, but I did not get what I wanted either due to the present needs or not enough Chemistry courses. I was enrolled as a Medical Technician which was a Nurse’s training course. We had classes much like those in college - Anatomy and Physiology, medications and a variety of diseases. We also attended autopsies which were very disturbing to me.
My older brother Lawrence and his family lived in Pleasant Hill, Alabama about three hours from Atlanta. When I received a week’s delay in route from Camp Pickett to Atlanta I took my Model A Ford to my brother’s home to use on week end passes. I visited them regularly and also visited Talladega several times. I renewed some of my old relationships there. Norman Behr (Grizz) had joined the Air Force, Sam Fisher the Coast Guard, Walter Heacock the Navy.
We had several Wienie roasts at our old gathering place on Talladega creek. My relationship with Dorothy Belk and Miriam Williams were renewed and they wrote me weekly letters.
After finishing my course in Atlanta I was shipped to the Medical Corps pool at Fitzsiummons General Hospital in Denver, Colorada. We worked in the hospital there during the week. On week ends I learned horseback riding with some friends riding in the mountains nearby. My friends were shipped out to hospital units and hospital ships, but I was retained and sent to ASTP - Army Speicalized Training Program. I went to the Univeristy of Nebraska to await assignment. I remember I spent Christmas there and then went to Texas Tech in Lubbock Texas for training to be an Engineer. It was just like college except we marched to classes. One of the higher math courses proved difficult for me. After one semester the ASTP

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

In The Army

get a date with her but she had ready excuses. She remained friendly, however, so I thought she did not like riding in my Model A Ford. I learned later that she was dating Mitch who was 28.
Back at college I was blessed with a first semester record of all A’s even in Chemistry. Both Sam and I were subject to the draft for military. Sam received a 4D because he was studying for the ministry. I joined the V-12 program which was supposed to let me finish college. I was allowed to complete one semester. It came as a Christmas present. During this last semester there were several positives and a few negatives. The first positive was my election to Phi Beta Kappa. The second positive - I met Margarete Berryman at a community Sunday afternoon youth program at the Bon Air community center. Our relationship was cut short by my entry into the military,
The negative was the death of my father. Due to his mental illness he drowned himself in a local pond. He was returned to Talladega for burial. The family road the funeral train with the body. There was a write up in the local newspaper so when we arrive there were quite a few people at the train station. One of them was my baby sitter. At my age of twenty I recognized her. With tears she gave me a great big hug. There were a number of positives at the funeral. It was biracial. This impressed me but I did not know the reason until I talked to one of the Afro-American ladies. Dad ran a grocery store during the depression years. He gave many of his customers a $10 a week credit since they had no money to buy. Another positive was the stained glass memorial window of the good shepherd. He was chairman of the building committee that raised funds to build the new church. During the funeral the sun was on it the whole time. My mother felt that this was a divine act. The third positve was the music. Dad had a beautiful bass voice and sang in the choir. They sang the hymn "When They Ring Those Golden Bells For You And Me." It was not sung often but I can remember the tune even today.
At the end of the semester I was inducted into the Army at Ft. Meade, Md. We were given written tests, had our hair removed, and subjected to interviews.Your future was related to your test scores. In my interview I was given some choices. I told my interviewing officer that I wanted to be a Lab technician because of my interest in Chemistry. I was assigned to Camp Pickett, Viriginia 40 miles from Bon Air for basic training. I received week end passes to go

College Classes

classes. This gave me an idea try t o do to make the same arrangement for myself. . Due to Sam’s example I embarked on a venture to get a college education.. My high school grades were so good I received a full scholarship. The bank was delighted to have me as a part time worker at the mail desk. I had some interest in majoring in Chemistry since there was a Du Pont factory in our area. Both Sam and I arranged our classes on Monday Wednesday Friday. I took Chemistry, Economics, and English the first semester. Dr. Ryland was my Chemistry teacher and my faculty advisor. I remember quite well how he sat us alphabetically so he would know our names. He never lectured. He simply asked questions from the textbook lesson. He went right down the row trying to get an answer. This really encouraged reading the text and we caught on pretty fast. Sam rode the bus from South Richmond to the University. From Bon Air I had a very short ride in my Ford to the college. After the morning classes Sam and I rode in the Ford to the bank for work. We arrived around noon and ate our lunch together in a room provided for that purpose
Sam ran the clearing house checks which came in after the other banks closed around 2 PM. I was the mail clerk to assort, run the mail through the stamping machine and take it to the post office.. We normally finished together and I drove him home. On the first of the month and the day after a holiday the volume of checks was so great that Sam stayed on later. Sam and I became good friends because we were together so much of the time.
One of the advantages of working at a bank was a paid two week vacation even for part time workers. We both agreed to take our vacations during the Christmas holidays so as not to miss any classes at college. Sam had some relatives in Fort Lauderdale Florida. We were going to use my Model A Ford for the trip. I was impressed with its durability and I had had no mechanical problems with it. It went all the way to Florida and back without a single problem.. We enjoyed visiting his relatives and going out to the beach in the warm sunshine.
When I returned home my social life was improving. We went to the Presbyterian church next door to our house and I joined the youth group which met at night in homes. I got to know several girls - Sarah Entsminger, Billy Ferugson, and Elizabeth Chewning. This latter one was my chief interest because she had a tennis court in her back yard. Mitch and I played tennis with her often. I had tried to

Bon Air

Class where we performed before the class reading poems and essays. She used us as a means of teaching. She took a liking to me and praised me often. My other classes were continuing the second year in science, math, history, and Literature.
At the beginning of the second semester we moved to Bon Air in Chesterfield county. To increase our income Mitch made three apartments for renting - one downstairs, and two upstairs. A young couple with a small child rented one of the upstairs apartments - Tony and Phoebe Thierman. The downstairs apartment was rented by a retired schoolteacher who had difficulty walking. She made hot rolls every Saturday and gave them to her friends. I can remember the taste of these hot rolls till this day. One of the consequences of living in Bon Air in Chesterfield County would be another change in high schools. Since it was only a matter of three months Mitch urged me to ride a bicycle into Richmond to the bus line and continue at John Marshall . I t was an eight mile ride. Of course, there were some rainy days but I was prepared to cover my books and myself. Since it was March, April, and May the cold was not a problem.
When I graduated Mitch got me a job as an Office Boy at State Planters Bank. In order to get to work I had to ride with my next door neighber. At the same time Mitch began teaching me how to drive. I got my Driver’s liscence and Mitch bought me a car - a Model A Ford with a rumble seat in the back. I remember it ran well without any mechanical problems. The speed of course was very limited. As Office Boy at Christmas all of the officers we worked for put a $5 bill in our hand. There were three of us. Also I got a lot of driving experience using the bank car for errands. After six months I was promoted to Mail Clerk to assort, stamp, and take the mail to the Post Office. My time schedule changed. I arrived at 10:30 and left after the mail was completed about 6 PM. In the mornings I was classified as a Runner. I ran errands in the downtown area when needed. There was another person on this late schedule who became a very influential friend - Sam McCammon. He had the important job of running on the IBM the clearing house checks which did not arrive until the other banks closed and sent their checks drawn on us. Sam and I visited each other when we took breaks from our work. I learned that Sam was doing the late job because he was enrolled at the University of Richmond for morning classes.

Stressful Experiences

I was very fond of baseball and had followed the Birmingham Barons by radio for a long time. I had enough money to buy a ticket so I rode the Street Car and watched a game after school. The game was so exciting that I stayed longer than I should have. When I was late getting home my Uncle Dee gave me a good "blessing out." I burst into tears and left the room. Aunt Camilla rescued me soothing my feelings. To complicate the situation I wet the bed that night. In later years I learned that this was related to the stress that I had suffered. It is needless to say that I was very relieved when school was out and Mother and I moved back to Talladega. Mother had received a job caring for a blind lady in a retirement home called Sunset Inn. The only problem was finding me a place to stay. I was first housed at the home of Uncle Fred Klein. I remember the positive experience of learning to play dominoes with them. For some reason my stay was short and was moved to live with the Howells who had two children both younger than me. This worked out Ok but it restricted my staying out at night. I renewed my relationship with my boy scout friends and began my first interest in girls. We roller skated together and double dated. My girl friend was La Neil Lamb. I was introduced to "necking" and the good night kiss. My biggest joy was playing tennis almost every afternoon. It was doubles and my partner was Norman Behr. We played two games out of three. The winner stayed on the court for a next doubles game. I was pretty good at tennis mainly because of my ability to run. At the end of the school year I had the opportunity to visit my brother Mitch who had received a position in Richmond Virginia with Minneapolis Honeywell Thermostats. He played tennis with me and took me on two sightseeing trips. One was to Washington and the other was to New York City. This was very exciting for me.
When I returned home, mother had already given up her work and was planning to take Dad out of the Mental Hospital and move to live with Mitch in Virginia. We had a house right across the street from Forest Hill park where Mitch and I played tennis and where we planned to take Dad on regular walks.I was enrolled in John Marshall High school riding the city bus back and forth. I made some friends who rode on the bus. I remember especially one of my courses that was different from the others. It was a Public Speaking

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Living With Relatives

of my class in our home room. Another enjoyable experience was singing in the school choir. We had a Christmas program I well remember. I had a solo part in several numbers. I was still a soprano as my voice had not yet begun to change. We also had a Christmas party in my home room. We drew names for gifts. I drew the name of a girl - Linda. Since we did not have much money I could not buy her an expensive present. I brought her a memory booklet and wrote her a short poem. "Whenever you drink tea, think of me." I remember quite well until this day how guilty I felt seeing all the other nice presents that were given out. I think Linda was very understanding of my feeling for she thanked me and went around to get other friends to put a note in her memory book. This was my first girl experience. I talked to her some at other times but this did not develop into a relationship.
After Christmas I got a job at the Bowling Alley downtown setting pens. It was at night but I didn’t have far to walk home - my first job.
My mother got a job as a dietitician at a local hotel dinning room. She transported cooks and kitchen workers that she knew in Talladega. I remember eating every night with my father and Miss Ferra Mason.
My father was not improving and in early March he tried to take his life in a local canal, but he was rescued. This made a critical decision in my mother’s life. Dad was committed to mental hospital in Tuscaloosa Alabama and we lived with relatives in nearby Birmingham where she could visit him. I had to stay with my cousins whom I knew real well from our summer visits to grandpa’s farm when we were much younger. Janie was 18 and about to finish high school. She had a boy friend and was dating regularly. Bud was sixteen, my age. He had a girl friend and they rode the street car to movies downtown. Bud had to share his bed and bedroom with me. I never felt so unwelcome in all my life. Now I understand that I was a real intrusion on his privacy. I adjusted quite well to a large city high school. We rode the street car back and forth. I remember another embarassing experience. Bud was a member of the YMCA and invited me as his guest for swimming. No bathing suits were worn. Everyone had a good crop of pubic hairs but me. Mine were just starting. As boys always did, they sported their marks of manhood and made fun of me. I did not go to the YMCA any more and wondered if I would always look like this.


My best friends were in the scout troop. Norman Behr, Leonard Held, Walter Heacock, Sam Fisher. We had a Court of Honor at the court house once a month. It was very impressive because there were other troops in town as well. We were quized on our tests for Second Class ,First Class and Merit Badges.I achieved the Star rank but could not get the Life Saving Merit Badge for the Life rank. I was not big enough or strong enough to rescue a simuilated drowning person and tow him to shore. Every year we went to summer camp for one or two weeks. There were hikes, swimming twice a day and an evening campfire where we sang and played games. During this period of my life I had a new experience. My oldest brother got married and lived in our house. I watched the baby grow in Mary’s womb, a girl named Barbara.
Also at this period of my life there were some difficult times because of my father’s mental illness. We moved to Hollywood Florida with Miss Ferra Mason, a nurse who was in charge of renting apartments. There was a hope that my father would get better in a new and exciting environment. My joys a t this time were swimming at the beach. I also learned how to play tennis with the help of an older man. He did not know how important he was in my life as a father figure. I knew him as Mr Mcdonald. He played tennis with me almost every day after school was out. I was in the tenth grade. The school was right across the street from where I lived. I entered pubescence at this time. I remember the painful swelling in my thyroid gland. My mother thought I had the Mumps and took me to a physician who diagnosed my development. I learned quickly what pubescence meant. I was producing sperm and seminal fluid. My mother caught me masturbating. She took a wooden coathanger and beat me on my rear. Of course, this did not stop me. It simply moved me to more secrecy. I learned when I became an adult that this was a normal sequence in life for all boys. I did not develop an interest in girls at this time. I was still small in size and was just beginning my adolescent growth.
I was a good student in my classes. I remember two of my teachers - English and History. In this latter class we pulled questions out of a box and played a game with two sides. If you could not answer the question you sat down decreasing the number on your team. I was the winner many times which was somewhat of an exciting experience for me. This was probably the reason I was elected president.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Horror Experience

Toward the end of the summer I had my first feeling of horror. Grandpa brought us down to a field where he cut hay. His workman was guiding the haymower as Sadie pulled it along. My cousin was standing too close to the cutter. He screamed when his ankle was cut. I had never seen blood gush forth. Grandpa was quick to react. He took off his upper clothes and made tourniquet.
Luckily the Ford which had brought us down was nearby and my screaming cousin was taken to the hospital. I squeezed his hand the whole way. It took my cousin several months to recover. From this time on he walked with a limp.
I remember well the depression years. My father was a grocer and people had to eat. He gave them a small credit each month and urged them to buy flour, corn meal, and sugar. I did not know what was taking place at the time but the wholesale grocer was pressing him for his money which he could not pay. I heard him talking to my mother. "I can't let people starve." I also remember one of his comments during the depression. "We have cut down on our eating. We have stopped buying new clothes, if things get any worse we will have to get rid of the car." Of course, I was horrified at losing the car. When my father passed away in the early forties, I was impressed with the number and variety of those attending. It was not only biracial but also crossed class lines. Our community was a very segregated society. I violated one of the rules by sitting down beside the cook while she was eating at the kitchen table. I remember how she quickly corrected me. People remembered what my father had done for them during their lean years.
My older brothers were now teenagers and had little interest in me. The oldest one had graduated from high school and had taken a job at the dry cleaners. He had a yellow model A Ford with a rumble seat. He did condescend to let me ride back there in the open air one time.
It was during the depression years that I remember the Civil Concentration Boys dressed in the Army kakhi. It was part of the Roosevelt administration's National Recovery Act to give meaningful work to the unemployed. They were building a park in our area. I remember the Works Public Administration workers. They built several new schools in our town. The CCC boys were not local people and had to have a place to live. My mother took in two. One of them was very friendly with me. We played games in the yard, mostly football passing.

Middle School

I had moved to the Middle School for the fifth and sixth grades during these years. I remember the new friends that I made who had been in the other Elementary school. Two of them turned out to be my best friends when we joined the Boy Scouts at the Presbyterian church. We met every Friday night for indoor games and instruction in the Scout Law and Oath. The game most enjoyed was Snatch. There was a hanky in a circle in the center of the room. The scouts lined up on each wall. A number was called and you went out to meet your opponent. If he snatched the hanky and ran you would try to touch him before he got back to safety. You could grab the hanky and run the same way. After the meeting was over a group of us would go to the drug store for a banana spIit - a sliced banana with three dips of ice cream and nuts and chocolate on the top. Every Saturday a group of us would meet at the movie house for a western movie with cowboys and Indians. I knew all the Cowboys by names. I really enjoyed the overnight cam pouts. We did not get much sleep but had fun scaring each other. I remember quite well how two scouts would go out into the woods and imitate a wildcat. We had to learn how to build a fire and cook to become a second class scout. We used our skills on the camp outs. We cooked potatoes in the hot ashes. I well remember the Court of Honor where we came in our scout uniforms to see if we had learned enough to receive our award. It was an impressive gathering because there were other troops as well.

The most exciting part of scouting was summer camp. We would spend or two weeks in cabins. There was a lake for swimming and canoeing. All of the scouts from one troop stayed in the same cabin. There were campfires at night where we sang and played games. I remember most the long hikes that we made. Scouting was a big thing in my life during the early teen years. I achieved the rank of Life but could not accomplish Eagle because of the Life Saving merit badge.
When I was 15 years old my oldest brother was married, and they lived in our house. His wife Mary became pregnant and added more to my education.


Every summer during this period of time my cousins and I would spend at least a month in the summer with our grandparents who lived on a farm in Lower Peachtree Alabama where my mother was born. We had great times in the swimming hole where an older cousin watched us. That is where I learned to swim with her help. She would hold me up by the stomach just enough to keep me from sinking. Another experience I well remember was the outdoor toilets. We did not have running water but there was a pump out in the yard to fill buckets with water. The area around the pump was always muddy. My cousin and I made mudballs to throw at each other. Then we would clean ourselves up at the pump with that cold water. One time my cousin and I wanted to get something to eat and forgot to wash our feet. We tracked mud into the kitchen. My grandmother was very gentle and taught us a lesson we would never forgot. She gave us both a pencil with erasers on them. She pointed to the erasers: "Do you know what these are for?" Of course, we knew the answer. "When you make mistakes you erase them." She gave us both a rag and we cleaned up our muddy tracks and never did it again. Another experience I remember with real joy. Grandpa had a mule named Sadie just like the name of my babysitter. Sadie did everything. She pulled the wagon to haul stuff around. She plowed the fields with her steady slow pace. She seemed to like us when we petted her head. We often rode on her back when she was plowing. I'm sure that little extra weight meant nothing to her. One of the astounding memories about Sadie was our stopping for lunch. Grandma would hit a gong on the back porch to let us know it was time for lunch. it was time to eat lunch. Sadie would stop in her tracks not moving another step. Grandpa unharnished her and put her in the shade where she ate her lunch. We were amazed at her promptness as she knew exactly what was taking place. My cousin and I designed a trick to see what Sadie would do. We hit the gong in the middle of the afternoon. We saw Sadie stop as she usually did up at the top of the hill. Grandpa had no choice but to loose her. When Grandpa came down to the house where we were. we were expecting to receive punishment for our ugly deed. To our pleasant surprise. he was gentle with us: "Sadie is tired", he said. "Can you help me do a few things." He kept us busy for the rest of the afternoon.

My Dog

During my Elementary school years my cousin from Birmingham came for a visit as they did often and brought me a dog. He was a black and white Cocker spaniel. I named him Bob for his bobbed tail and for a friend of mine in the playgroup. I enjoyed playing with him as he was free to go with me everywhere except to school. Somehow he sensed the time I was walking home from school. He would come running everyday when I was about full block away. Of course he was greeted with some petting and accompanied me home.
Also during these years I acquired some chores which had to be done. I had to bring in a bucket full of coal and a bundle of wood during the winter months. We did not have central heating but had a small fireplace in every room. I took care of my parent's room but my brothers took care of their own. We did not have to have fires often but I enjoyed tending the fire sitting around keeping warm. My bed was in a screened in porch off the bedroom. I can remember how we warmed a blanket to wrap around me as I went out on the cold porch to go to bed.
Another chore I acquired was looking after the chickens. They had to be fed and watered everyday. I enjoyed gathering the eggs. In the spring we would let at least one hen set on some eggs to hatch some biddies. This was real excitement for me. When the hen left the nest to eat I remember how the rooster chased her. She did not want any dealings with him but he finally caught up with her and mounted. He caught her behind the neck and held on to her while he did his thing. I noticed that he treated her different from the other hens. With the others he only did it one time. With her he did it three or four times like he was mad with her. This was a learning experience for me about mating. One of my fearful experiences about the chickens was how the cook killed them for eating. She would take the chicken by the neck and ring it around and round until it came off. I was horrified and for many years would not eat chicken. The cook soon learned to get the chicken when I was not there. She knew how I felt and I was her pet.

Third Grade

This was my second grade teacher, but I remember how different my third grade teacher performed. She never used the razor strap. There was misbehavior, but she corrected us and talked to us again and again about wanting to learn. She was able to talk the milltown boys into trying to control their misbehavior and work on learning tasks. She praised them so much for working hard. I believe they liked her so much that they lost interest in giving her a hard time. My second grade teacher taught me many things but she could not improve my writing. I remember her comment: "it looks like hen scratching". My writing continued to be poor until my fourth grade teacher taught me how to print and that was the end of my writing problem. She praised my reading. My eyes were better than my hands. I remember quite easily the facts she taught us. Despite my poor handwriting she seemed to take a liking to me. She learned from our classroom songs that I had a clear, tuneful voice. We had an operetta each year and she gave me a solo part. I was the wicked rabbit who stole the golden whistle. In another one I was the singing cardinal. As I look back this was a major contribution to my positive self esteem. Despite my writing grade of D, I had a good report card in the other subjects.
I remember our playground experiences. We had a midmorning recess of short duration but a long one for lunch. We played some games like kickball, relay races, and broad jumping. I was good in anything that required running. We had one slide board and about a dozen swings. You would have to stand in line but usually everything went fast. This was friendship time as we grouped together with those in our neighborhood. I remember that we made several new friends who lived on another street within walking distance. There was a big yard where we played touch football. Because of my running skill I enjoyed this game. In the back yard of one of these friends was a marble area. There were four holes. You would get one shot for the hole. If anyone hit your marble you would have to start all over. The winner finished all the holes first. Another marble game you played for keeps. You put your marbles in the center of a big circle. You would get one shot each turn. If you were able to knock one out of the circle you kept it and continued to get more.

School Days

My memories of my Elementary school years are very vivid. Our play group continued as we walked to school together. We carried our books in bags designed for that purpose. At school we were thrown with milltown children from the Sumerset area . This was my first knowledge of sex and the F word that goes with it as well as the S word which rhymes with it. I was introduced to "cuss" words as we called them. I brought one of them home and had my mouth washed out with soap. Because of my size I was picked on and abused by some of the milltown older children but one of them named Billy became my protector. He was big and strong and no one dared to challenge him. I can remember that voice even until this day: "Leave Pee Wee alone." I acquired that nickname very early. I rewarded Billy with a candy bar which was always in my lunch bag. My cook liked me and I persuaded her to give me two candy bars - one for a friend. We did not have a cafeteria. Everybody brought a lunch. Billy’s lunch was a baked sweet potato every day. Most of the milltown children had this lunch. I learned in later years that the sweet potato was very nutritious. My lunch was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich which was also very nutritious. When I got home from school I had a second one.
Another not so pleasant experience was the punishment technique used on us. It was a leather razor strap which men used to sharpen their shaving instrument on. The teacher would take the offender into the cloak room and use the strap on the behind. We would count the licks and listen to the cry of the victim. We had learned to cry quickly with a loud voice so she would stop much sooner. We used to call it getting a "whupping". I never got one but my friend got twelve licks. He showed me his red bottom. As I write this my fear emotion is experienced again. I remember till this day how the milltown boys found ways to irritate the teacher despite her threats. One boy brought in his pocket a toy frog, a little device which he popped. He did some pops every day especially when she was at the blackboard with her back turned. She got so mad one day that she had all the boys line up and open their pockets. She did not find the pop object. I learned later that he had gotten help from a girl. In my day girls were not considered to be naughty.

Preschool Days

In 1921 Talladega Alabama was a thriving textile community and county seat with a population of 7000. It was arranged around a courthouse square with stores on each side of the square. It housed the State School fo the Deaf and the Blind. There was a college for Afro-Americans and the Presbyterian Children’s Home.
There was a special event on March 13, 1921 in the south side of town. A third son was born to the Hubbards. There was both joy and disappointment. The parents were hoping for a girl. The older boys, Lawrence Jr. 12 and Mitch 10 were not too excited about having another brother. It took several days to name the new baby. There were plenty of girls names ready but the boy’s name did not come to mind. Mother’s cousin Fred Jackson was wealthy and his name was James Frederick. The new boy was named for him which netted a handsome gift.
My father Lawrence Thornton had two years of college and operated a grocery store on the square. My mother, Marylu had a degree in education and had taught school a few years before her marriage. She was raised in Sunny South, Alabama and met my father when she visited relatives in Talladega. She was a talented pianist using her skill at the Trinity Methodist Church and Rotary Club. She wrote a song "O Rotary".
Dad was very active in the church. He was chairman of the building committee to collect funds for erecting a new church. The congregation rewarded him with a good shepherd stained glass window bearing his name. Daddy Hubbard and Mother Hubbard sang in in the choir. Dad’s deep bass voice impressed his young son in later years. 1921 was the era of servants, all Afro-Americans. There was a full time cook, a maid-washerwoman, and a baby sitter. I enjoyed the fire around the big black washpot. I was allowed to put wood on the fire to my great delight. I learned some forbidden words from the servants which my mother had to correct. I remember my mother as a switch wielder. There was a slim branch of a bush stripped off its leaves. It was used to sting my bare leg. It was very effective and she left it hanging in a prominent place as a reminder. I remember removing it and learning to lie about it. Using false statements became a habit. I have fondest memories of my baby sitter, Sadie today. She played with me, helped me take a bath, and ate with me. In that day and time it was not proper for Blacks to eat with whites but this was an exception. Lingering in my memory was the technique Sadie used to comfort me when I got hurt and fully crying. She would couple her hand, catch hold of my arm or leg saying: "I’m going to get that hurt as she squeezed the spot. It worked because I usually stopped crying. I remember to this day a trip to the physician where I got a shot. Sadie used her usual method of getting that hurt. I wonder what the doctor and nurse thought about this when I stopped crying. I learned in later years when I was studying for my psychology degree that Sadie had developed what is known as a conditioned response. It actually reduced the pain.
When I was a teenager my father passed away and was brought back to Talledega for the funeral. Sadie met the train and really did reduce that hurt with a great big hug.
My brothers had their own room which I dare not enter. I was an intruder They did not play with me very much except at Christmas. Santa was very exciting. They liked to try out my toys and run the electric train. Sometimes they had to keep me , bathe me and put me to bed. I remember one experience while they were bathing me. It was a rough experience. I actually fell on the faucet knob putting a painful bruise on my left cheek. It left a permanent indenture called a dimple. It is still there today when I smile. I escaped with nothing more than this. Every Saturday they had a cook out in the back yard. I stepped into their potato fries and paid a price which I still remember.
My second memory of my preschool years was the play group on our street. We played Hide and Seek with a wide variety of ages and both sexes. We played Hop Scotch drawing the boxes on the sidewalk. You would throw a rock in a square and hop on one foot to get it, come back and throw again. The closer squares were easier. There was a double row of five squares. We played a game called Rock School. This was played on the steps of my house. There were 10 or 12 steps leading to the front porch. The pupils all sat on the first step. The teacher had a rock in one of the hands. If you hit the hand with the rock you moved up one step till you reached the top.