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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

ALABAMMY BOUND


 

While living in Oakland Ca. everything was going well. I was in Garfield school and expected to finish the elementary grades there.

My younger brother was around three years old by then.
 
My mother wasn’t working then so she took care of him most of the time but on occasion it was my expected duty to watch over him.

Then one day my dad came home and announced we were going to have to move to Union-town Alabama. They had some problems with the equipment and were going to have to replace many machines. He had been selected to do the work for they knew it would be done right and as quick as possible.

We lived in an apartment and for some unknown reason after an evening of partying before we left my dad brought home a German shepherd pup. Without going into the problems this created it was just after that we headed to Alabama.

When we arrived the company had secured a house directly across from the cotton mill. The mill made so much noise I didn’t think I would ever sleep again but it wasn’t long before I was used to it and it didn’t bother me at all.

The dog grew up quickly and by six months he was full size. The mill had a swing shift working and this evening my dad went back to the mill to check on the work he had laid out for the evening shift to do.

Unbeknownst to him the dog had followed behind him and became frighten by all the noise the machines were making. He started running and barking back and forth through the mill not being able to find his way out. One of the key things people in the south were afraid of was a mad dog.

When the women saw the dog running and barking the only thing they could think of was “Mad dog”. The entire work force emptied out of the mill in a couple of minutes. The left their machines running and didn’t bother to shut them down.

The dog finally found an exit and ran home as fast as he could. Just flying, he hit the screen door and knocked the screen out of it. He ran into the house and went under my bed. I wasn’t able to get him to come out from under my bed until the next afternoon.
 
It took several hours to get the machines back up running for they needed to be reset. The women weren’t too anxious to return to their jobs until they were sure the “Mad dog” was gone.

The Superintendent had some unkind words for my dad but there wasn’t anything he could do for my dad was sent from the main office all and they wanted was to get the new equipment up and running.

The dog never went back to the mill again for he was fearful of all that noise.

The summer was upon us and it was Alabama hot and sultry. There was a large community pool that had been drained for the winter but it was time to clean and refill it for the summer.
 
The word went out that if you expected to swim in the pool you needed to put in an appearance and help scrub down the sides and bottom. There were a lot of people who showed up and after a day of hard work it was ready to be filled.

A lot of school kids were enjoying the pool all day long then one day we were all ordered to get out of the pool for it was ladies time to swim and they didn’t want any kids acting up while the ladies were swimming.

I watched as the women began to get into the pool and all I saw was a bunch of old fat women. I was amazed at how well they could float and swim on their back.

I had expected some bathing beauties but I was badly disappointed. After being kicked from the pool we would wait outside the enclosure for the women to leave.

This one day one of the women’s suit came apart and fell off. The attendant was running back and forth looking at her till the women told him to get out of there. Some of the women got something to cover her up and she managed to get to the locker room, dress and go home.

This was a daily routine where the ladies got the pool and we had to put up with it while standing outside waiting to get back in.

Another thing among many that occurred that summer was this old woman the kids said was a witch would walk down near our house.

I had seen a lot of witches in the movies and she looked just like one of them so I was convinced the kids were right. She dressed in long black clothes and her hair was so straight and long she carried it in her hands when she walked otherwise it would drag the ground. When I saw her coming I would take off running for I didn’t want her to get me.

Down the street from my house was a man who would tell a crowd of kids the scariest stories I had ever heard. Of course it was always at night and with no street lights it was pitch black. After he would finish I would run home as fast as I could and cover my head up with the covers even though it was hot.

Then once again my dad told us we were going back to Oakland California. He had finished installing the machinery and he was ordered back home. I made the best I could out of Alabama but I sure was glad to get back home in California.

In Alabama I almost never got to go to the movies but in Oakland the movie house was just a half block away and the only thing that kept me from going was not having the dime for a ticket.

I think it was to get rid of me for the day, my Dad would give me a dime and say here go and enjoy the show.

 This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”

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