A Life In Review
roads, getting lost and a ferry fiasco. Five days later we finally arrived. Aunt Flossie had given birth to a baby girl, Florala. Our home was a one room shack. This was temporary until our permanent home was built. Mr. C, Grandma and Grace would arrive in November. This home (shack) was on short stilts providing a home under the shack for chickens, pigs and anything that crawled. We had an outhouse and pump for water. Our floor had half inch cracks, no dust pan needed. One end of this hovel was for sleeping and contained two beds and a baby carriage. The other end covered necessary necessities. Attached was a shed Aunt Flossie used for meal preparation. There were no windows, just little doors which Aunt Flossie covered with mosquito netting. And so this was to be my living quarters for the next month. Aunt Flossie was not happy, but we all pulled together and survived. In time there would be a new home for her family. School had already started. Betty was in the first grade and I was in eighth. The first day, with Betty in hand, we walked a dirt road mile. What greeted me was a shabby two story building. There were two grades to a room and, yes, the pump and outhouse. This was the beginning of my education (not only academic). That first day was the beginning of a North-South transition. Our home was complete, suitable and livable. In November, Grandma, Mr. C and Grace left the Windy City. Mr. Clawson and Mr. Bals were still in business. Mr. C would travel from Holt to Chicago now and then to keep an eye on his business . What happened to my Mother? Don returned to his family in Pennsylvania, so Mama and my brother moved to Knoxville. Mr. C had contracted a local native to design and build our home. It was a beautiful two story structure with white stucco and a portico. It had a formal living room, formal dining room, breakfast room, six bedrooms three bathrooms. Electricity and the telephone had not yet reached Holt, so a generator was put in place. I, at last, had a bedroom of my own and the outhouse was a thing of the past. Grandma was given carte blanch to decorate. Earlier I had mentioned North-South transition. It was to be a frightening experience. We soon learned that a new family’s home had burned. The KKK was still active. Black folks in that community were called the N- word and had to fend for themselves. School was not provided. On one occasion a young boy came to our school begging for books, paper, pencils, etc… He was taunted, bullied and pushed down the stairs. I cried for him and was given the same treatment. I was told my place, in no uncertain terms. Grandma hired a black woman to help with our chores. We called her Aunt Fannie. Grandma set a place at the table for Aunt Fannie, but Fannie would always refuse to sit with us due to the fear that had been indoctrinated in her by the culture of the times. I don’t know why our laundry had to be done in a creek, but Aunt Fannie would gather up the basket of linens and our clothes and take them to the creek for washing. Betty and I were silly onlookers. This primitive procedure only lasted a short while however, as soon we were able to do our laundry at home. For a period of time, we too were fearful. With the hiring of a couple of young school dropouts (fourth grade was about it for the boys) and Mr. Rowland speaking on our behalf, we became acceptable residents. The Ewings, Shofners, Coopers had been outsiders and welcomed us warmly and soon we were accepted by all the town folk. With our difficulties behind us we fast became self contained. Our abundance included: water from a well, a garden, cattle, pigs, a horse, mule, chickens, turkeys, goats, satsumas (oranges), blueberries, youngberries, scuppernongs (grapes), and sugarcane. We added equipment and buildings to care for our fast growing compound. Our LaSalle, Studebaker and Hubmobile lived in a spacious three car garage.