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.