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.