Freeman Works | "Not all who wander are lost; Not all that glitters is Gold

Hillarie Putnam and The Bear

 

As far as I know , I have never been hunting in my life. I chased folks as required by my various jobs in law enforcement and investigation but have never gone out purposefully to shoot something. Nevertheless, I have gotten hooked on a program entitled “The Hunt” on The History Channel.
Let me explain the rules of engagement. There is an island south of Alaska named Kodiak. No word as to whether the Kodiak Brown bear is named after the island or the island is named after the bear. There are approximelt 3500 bears on Kodiak.
The state of Alaska has ruled that each year there are 500 tags given to hunters to go to the island and “harvest” a Kodiak Brown bear. A Kodiak can go upwards of 10 feet tall and can weigh up to 1500 lbs. Probably has a T-shirt that says “Grizzlies are wussys”. Actually Kodiak Brown bears are a subspecies of Grizzlies. Somehow “harvest” doesn’t seem to cut it.as a verb to describe moving VW size animal that is running at approximately 30 miles per hour. Each year 5000 hunters apply for tags and only 500 get tags to go hunt. If you are from Alaska you are exempt from having to utilize a guide. No idea whether this is to cut down the Alaskan population or to make money for the Alaskan guides. (Just kidding).
Maybe I have a misconception of the island but it appears that there are only two maybe three trees on the whole island. Bears on the other hand are practically everywhere (or so it seems).
Non Alaskans are practically everywhere , talking about how the hunt is a rite of passage , lifetime experience,etc. I’m sure that the Alaskans have a name for us down below. I have no idea.
We first see Hillarie Putnam charging into the Alaskan Fish and Game with her dad, David to get her tags and instructions. The History Channel says she is “Headstrong and Confident.” Im not sure about the headstrong part. She has been hunting for 9 years with her papa and its not her first rodeo. She has a muzzle loading rifle which means she gets one shot every 30 seconds (If her powder is dry) If your powder is not dry than how fast can you run?
Hillarie and David slugged up and down the hills and dales of Kodiak for a week and amazingly enough did not see a bear. Then David Left. I mean really? As a father of a 26 year old blonde daughter, I might not leave her with the bears but really. Maybe she is a tad headstrong. When I wrote this I was thinking which was worst leaving her with the bears or letting her go to Los Angeles by herself. I think I would leave her with the bears.
The first night out after David left, snug in her tent, she has a visit from a bear. She backs up the hill, yelling at the bear. Somehow the bear retreats but I’m sure it wasn’t sound sleeping night. The next day, when I and most of the men folk I know would be heading for a beach and a getaway plane, Hillarie goes to tracking the bear that the night before tried to get into her tent.
After a commercial break, Hillarie appears with the high ground overlooking a river that the big bear is walking a long side of. Evidently it is what every hunter dreams of because none of the other hunters that I watched had any where close to the kind of shot Hillarie had. Hillarie lined up and shot the sucker. (Im sorry, she “harvested the bear”) her joy lasted exactly a nano second because the bear overcame a 50 caliber shot and wondered off. Hillarie started the 30 second countdown and I believe she cut down the loading time to about 15 seconds before she started out after the wounded bear. She tracked down the bear and dispatched it According to the law, they have to skin the bear and then take the bears head. This was evidently accomplished and the next we see the “head strong, confident young woman” she was flying away.
Hillarie’s bear was by far the smoothest hunt of all the bunch of episodes I saw. Hillarie is an accomplished actress and one of those people I would bet on to be a huge success. She is also totally fearless and a damn find shot.
You can follow her future exploits on twitter a @hillariputnam1 .
As to the Hunt, it is well worth looking up on Youtube or any of the other channels that show.The Hunt..
In the interim, go to The History Channel o Facebook and tell them we need the second season of The Hunt with Hillarie Putnam.

P.S. I can’t finish this without talking about my second favs , Hal and Michelle Barber. Michelle had never been hunting IN HER LIFE. ( I would have started with hunting my car keys) So you guessed it Michelle got the tag. Because the Barbers were from Fairbanks, They didn’t have to have a guide so it was just Hal and Michelle. Did I mention Hal is a diabetic? I couldn’t write this stuff. Michelle said that she had done a lot of exercising. Evidently bear hunting on Kodiak is an exhausting experience. Think Stair-master for 8 street hours with a 100 pound pack) She and Hal worked as a well oiled machine. I was impressed. Anyway, Hal cannot shoot at the bear until Michelle was in “dire danger”. This happened about an hour into their show when a large momma bear charged at Michelle. She did great things considered. She put two down range into the bear’s vicinity. Hal on the other hand was wonderful. He put one round into the air to try and scare off the bear and then put the rest of his ammo into the bear. At some point during all of this the bear succumbed to lead poisoning. Hal was great, calm and reassuing. He told Michelle that she had done great and asked her if she had any more ammo. She had three left. (By this time, I would have fired all mine and called in a Predator air strike). Getting out with the skin and head was a bit of a challenge on Hal but he and Michelle made it after drinking some brackish water. How much weight would a bottle of water purification pills added to the load? They finally made it out. Hopefully to live ever after.
Go and watch the show. The Hunt on history.Com.

 

America Dumbs Down

The U.S. is being overrun by a wave of anti-science, anti-intellectual thinking. Has the most powerful nation on Earth lost its mind? By Jonathon Gatehouse

South Carolina’s state beverage is milk. Its insect is the praying mantis. There’s a designated dance—the shag—as well a sanctioned tartan, game bird, dog, flower, gem and snack food (boiled peanuts). But what Olivia McConnell noticed was missing from among her home’s 50 official symbols was a fossil. So last year, the eight-year-old science enthusiast wrote to the governor and her representatives to nominate the Columbian mammoth. Teeth from the woolly proboscidean, dug up by slaves on a local plantation in 1725, were among the first remains of an ancient species ever discovered in North America. Forty-three other states had already laid claim to various dinosaurs, trilobites, primitive whales and even petrified wood. It seemed like a no-brainer. “Fossils tell us about our past,” the Grade 2 student wrote.

And, as it turns out, the present, too. The bill that Olivia inspired has become the subject of considerable angst at the legislature in the state capital of Columbia. First, an objecting state senator attached three verses from Genesis to the act, outlining God’s creation of all living creatures. Then, after other lawmakers spiked the amendment as out of order for its introduction of the divinity, he took another crack, specifying that the Columbian mammoth “was created on the sixth day with the other beasts of the field.” That version passed in the senate in early April. But now the bill is back in committee as the lower house squabbles over the new language, and it’s seemingly destined for the same fate as its honouree—extinction.

What has doomed Olivia’s dream is a raging battle in South Carolina over the teaching of evolution in schools. Last week, the state’s education oversight committee approved a new set of science standards that, if adopted, would see students learn both the case for, and against, natural selection.

Charles Darwin’s signature discovery—first published 155 years ago and validated a million different ways since—long ago ceased to be a matter for serious debate in most of the world. But in the United States, reconciling science and religious belief remains oddly difficult. A national poll, conducted in March for the Associated Press, found that 42 per cent of Americans are “not too” or “not at all” confident that all life on Earth is the product of evolution. Similarly, 51 per cent of people expressed skepticism that the universe started with a “big bang” 13.8 billion years ago, and 36 per cent doubted the Earth has been around for 4.5 billion years.

The American public’s bias against established science doesn’t stop where the Bible leaves off, however. The same poll found that just 53 per cent of respondents were “extremely” or “very confident” that childhood vaccines are safe and effective. (Worldwide, the measles killed 120,000 people in 2012. In the United States, where a vaccine has been available since 1963, the last recorded measles death was in 2003.) When it comes to global warming, only 33 per cent expressed a high degree of confidence that it is “man made,” something the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared is all but certain. (The good news, such as it was in the AP poll, was that 69 per cent actually believe in DNA, and 82 per cent now agree that smoking causes cancer.)

If the rise in uninformed opinion was limited to impenetrable subjects that would be one thing, but the scourge seems to be spreading. Everywhere you look these days, America is in a rush to embrace the stupid. Hell-bent on a path that’s not just irrational, but often self-destructive. Common-sense solutions to pressing problems are eschewed in favour of bumper-sticker simplicities and blind faith.

In a country bedevilled by mass shootings—Aurora, Colo.; Fort Hood, Texas; Virginia Tech—efforts at gun control have given way to ever-laxer standards. Georgia recently passed a law allowing people to pack weapons in state and local buildings, airports, churches and bars. Florida is debating legislation that will waive all firearm restrictions during state emergencies like riots or hurricanes. (One opponent has moved to rename it “an Act Relating to the Zombie Apocalypse.”) And since the December 2012 massacre of 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., 12 states have passed laws allowing guns to be carried in schools, and 20 more are considering such measures.

The cost of a simple appendectomy in the United States averages $33,000 and it’s not uncommon for such bills to top six figures. More than 15 per cent of the population has no health insurance whatsoever. Yet efforts to fill that gaping hole via the Affordable Health Care Act—a.k.a. Obamacare—remain distinctly unpopular. Nonsensical myths about the government’s “real” intentions have found so much traction that 30 per cent still believe that there will be official “death panels” to make decisions on end-of-life care.

Since 2001, the U.S. government has been engaged in an ever-widening program of spying on its own—and foreign—citizens, tapping phones, intercepting emails and texts, and monitoring social media to track the movements, activities and connections of millions. Still, many Americans seem less concerned with the massive violations of their privacy in the name of the War on Terror, than imposing Taliban-like standards on the lives of others. Last month, the school board in Meridian, Idaho voted to remove The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie from its Grade 10 supplemental reading list following parental complaints about its uncouth language and depictions of sex and drug use. When 17-year-old student Brady Kissel teamed up with staff from a local store to give away copies at a park as a protest, a concerned citizen called police. It was the evening of April 23, which was also World Book Night, an event dedicated to “spreading the love of reading.”

If ignorance is contagious, it’s high time to put the United States in quarantine.

Americans have long worried that their education system is leaving their children behind. With good reason: national exams consistently reveal how little the kids actually know. In the last set, administered in 2010 (more are scheduled for this spring), most fourth graders were unable to explain why Abraham Lincoln was an important figure, and only half were able to order North America, the U.S., California and Los Angeles by size. Results in civics were similarly dismal. While math and reading scores have improved over the years, economics remains the “best” subject, with 42 per cent of high school seniors deemed “proficient.”

They don’t appear to be getting much smarter as they age. A 2013 survey of 166,000 adults across 20 countries that tested math, reading and technological problem-solving found Americans to be below the international average in every category. (Japan, Finland, Canada, South Korea and Slovakia were among the 11 nations that scored significantly higher.)

The trends are not encouraging. In 1978, 42 per cent of Americans reported that they had read 11 or more books in the past year. In 2014, just 28 per cent can say the same, while 23 per cent proudly admit to not having read even one, up from eight per cent in 1978. Newspaper and magazine circulation continues to decline sharply, as does viewership for cable news. The three big network supper-hour shows drew a combined average audience of 22.6 million in 2013, down from 52 million in 1980. While 82 per cent of Americans now say they seek out news digitally, the quality of the information they’re getting is suspect. Among current affairs websites, Buzzfeed logs almost as many monthly hits as the Washington Post.

The advance of ignorance and irrationalism in the U.S. has hardly gone unnoticed. The late Columbia University historian Richard Hofstadter won the Pulitzer prize back in 1964 for his book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, which cast the nation’s tendency to embrace stupidity as a periodic by-product of its founding urge to democratize everything. By 2008, journalist Susan Jacoby was warning that the denseness—“a virulent mixture of anti-rationalism and low expectations”—was more of a permanent state. In her book, The Age of American Unreason, she posited that it trickled down from the top, fuelled by faux-populist politicians striving to make themselves sound approachable rather than smart. Their creeping tendency to refer to everyone—voters, experts, government officials—as “folks” is “symptomatic of a debasement of public speech inseparable from a more general erosion of American cultural standards,” she wrote. “Casual, colloquial language also conveys an implicit denial of the seriousness of whatever issue is being debated: talking about folks going off to war is the equivalent of describing rape victims as girls.”

That inarticulate legacy didn’t end with George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. Barack Obama, the most cerebral and eloquent American leader in a generation, regularly plays the same card, droppin’ his Gs and dialling down his vocabulary to Hee Haw standards. His ability to convincingly play a hayseed was instrumental in his 2012 campaign against the patrician Mitt Romney; in one of their televised debates the President referenced “folks” 17 times.

An aversion to complexity—at least when communicating with the public—can also be seen in the types of answers politicians now provide the media. The average length of a sound bite by a presidential candidate in 1968 was 42.3 seconds. Two decades later, it was 9.8 seconds. Today, it’s just a touch over seven seconds and well on its way to being supplanted by 140-character Twitter bursts.

Little wonder then that distrust—of leaders, institutions, experts, and those who report on them—is rampant. A YouGov poll conducted last December found that three-quarters of Americans agreed that science is a force for good in the world. Yet when asked if they truly believe what scientists tell them, only 36 per cent of respondents said yes. Just 12 per cent expressed strong confidence in the press to accurately report scientific findings. (Although according to a 2012 paper by Gordon Gauchat, a University of North Carolina sociologist, the erosion of trust in science over the past 40 years has been almost exclusively confined to two groups: conservatives and regular churchgoers. Counterintuitively, it is the most highly educated among them—with post-secondary education—who harbour the strongest doubts.)

The term “elitist” has become one of the most used, and feared, insults in American life. Even in the country’s halls of higher learning, there is now an ingrained bias that favours the accessible over the exacting.

“There’s a pervasive suspicion of rights, privileges, knowledge and specialization,” says Catherine Liu, the author of American Idyll: Academic Antielitism as Cultural Critique and a film and media studies professor at University of California at Irvine. Both ends of the political spectrum have come to reject the conspicuously clever, she says, if for very different reasons; the left because of worries about inclusiveness, the right because they equate objections with obstruction. As a result, the very mission of universities has changed, argues Liu. “We don’t educate people anymore. We train them to get jobs.” (Boomers, she says, deserve most of the blame. “They were so triumphalist in promoting pop culture and demoting the canon.”)

The digital revolution, which has brought boundless access to information and entertainment choices, has somehow only enhanced the lowest common denominators—LOL cat videos and the Kardashians. Instead of educating themselves via the Internet, most people simply use it to validate what they already suspect, wish or believe to be true. It creates an online environment where Jenny McCarthy, a former Playboy model with a high school education, can become a worldwide leader of the anti-vaccination movement, naysaying the advice of medical professionals.

Most perplexing, however, is where the stupid is flowing from. As conservative pundit David Frum recently noted, where it was once the least informed who were most vulnerable to inaccuracies, it now seems to be the exact opposite. “More sophisticated news consumers turn out to use this sophistication to do a better job of filtering out what they don’t want to hear,” he blogged.

But are things actually getting worse? There’s a long and not-so-proud history of American electors lashing out irrationally, or voting against their own interests. Political scientists have been tracking, since the early 1950s, just how poorly those who cast ballots seem to comprehend the policies of the parties and people they are endorsing. A wealth of research now suggests that at the most optimistic, only 70 per cent actually select the party that accurately represents their views—and there are only two choices.

Larry Bartels, the co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt University, says he doubts that the spreading ignorance is a uniquely American phenomenon. Facing complex choices, uncertain about the consequences of the alternatives, and tasked with balancing the demands of jobs, family and the things that truly interest them with boring policy debates, people either cast their ballots reflexively, or not at all. The larger question might be whether engagement really matters. “If your vision of democracy is one in which elections provide solemn opportunities for voters to set the course of public policy and hold leaders accountable, yes,” Bartels wrote in an email to Maclean’s. “If you take the less ambitious view that elections provide a convenient, non-violent way for a society to agree on who is in charge at any given time, perhaps not.”

A study by two Princeton University researchers, Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, released last month, tracked 1,800 U.S. policy changes between 1981 and 2002, and compared the outcome with the expressed preferences of median-income Americans, the affluent, business interests and powerful lobbies. They concluded that average citizens “have little or no independent influence” on policy in the U.S., while the rich and their hired mouthpieces routinely get their way. “The majority does not rule,” they wrote.

Smart money versus dumb voters is hardly a fair fight. But it does offer compelling evidence that the survival of the fittest remains an unshakable truth even in American life. A sad sort of proof of evolution.

My Girls…

This is my daughter Clancy and her roomie Daphne. Don’t mess with Clancy or you will make Daphne angry. You wouldn’t like Daphne angry…

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Sayings you need to be a Cowgirl…..

<Blatently Plagerized from Horsegroomingsupplies.com forum. >

3 Barrels 2 Hearts 1 Soul
*Every Cowgirls Nightmare…..Every Cowboys Dream
*This Cowgirl Can’t Be Tamed
*Never Let Your Saddle Out Run Your Butt
*If you ain’t scared of the speed goin’ to the first barrel.Barrel-racing-2 you ain’t goin’ fast enough
*If you want control buy a remote!
*Barrel Racing – Scare your mom…Impress your friends
^*A western horse has guts and commitment, an English horse has grace and elegance, but my horse has it all!
*Want to end up with a million bucks in the horse business? Start out with five million.
*Don’t Hate Me Cuz My Horse is fast…Hate Me Cuz Your Horse Isn’t Fast enuff…
*Cowgirl Up Cuz the Buckle Don’t Shine In The Dirt
*You Wish You Could Ride Like a Girl**
*If you haven’t died within 24 hours of doing something you can do it again*
*Weave ‘Em and Leave ‘Em
*Three turns, and Home
*Barrel Racing may be tough but my horse and I are tougher
*Turn N’ Burn
*Cowgirl UP!
*Ride it like you stole it!!!
*I got a dog and my horse….don’t need no cowboy
^*Silly cowboy….trucks are for girls
*Don’t flatter your self I was looking at your horse
*I’d rather be dumped by a horse than dumped by a man!
*To Ride Or Not To Ride?….What A Stupid Question!
*If there aren’t any horses in heaven then I’m not going!!!
*Eat, Sleep, RIDE!
*My mom said I can have as many FOUR LEGGED boyfriends as I want
*I’d rather clean a stall a million times than clean my room once
*Live to Ride – Ride to live
*Love me…Love my horse
*Wrangler butts drive me nuts
*I believe in…***** God mothers, Magical ponies, Good honest cowboys, And other mythical creatures
*A Cowgirl and her Horse, both working for affection, Work hard together day in and day out, trying to reach perfection. They love each other as a partner, as a friend, a never dying relationship that in their hearts will never end. They can’t wait each day to greet one another, from day to day they pray.
*Talent takes you to the top, but character keeps you there.
*Relax when you enter the arena, run for that first barrel hard, but run with your horse as one.
*Today I will do what you won’t, so that tomorrow I can do what you can’t.
*Respect your mount and they will work that much more for you.
*How come non-horse people always think you’re rich if you own horses?”
*”In riding a horse, we borrow freedom”
^*If you’re not making dust….you’re eating it!!
*Do not start with me, you will not win.
*The surgeon general never said anything about smoking the competition!
^*A horse gallops with his lungs, Perseveres with his heart, And wins with his character”
*You got to work hard, practice hard, and ride hard, to be hard to beat.
*Surgeons General Warning: Horses are expensive, addictive, and may impair the ability to use common sense 99% of a horses problem is from the saddle up!
*I bust mine.. so I can kick yours
*Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves, for we shall never cease to be amused
*Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.
*Do unto others as you would have them do unto your horse~
*God made women so His horses would survive.
*Love your neighbor as you love your horse.
*Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly
*cowboys are like horoscopes they always tell ya what to do and are usually wrong.
*im at the end of my rope and your tugging on it.
* dont stop kickin til the clock stops tickin.
* if your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or you asked the question wrong.
*if you always do what youve always done, you will always get what youve got.
* there are no short cuts to any place worth goin.
*my horses, my dog, my truck, my trailer… im set for life.
*life is to short to worry about the small stuff, leave it in the dust.
*dont be afraid to do what you want or be what you want, but dont be afraid to be willing to pay the price~ Lane Frost
*you know your a horse person when; your trying to get around someone and instead of saying excuse me you poke them in the ribs and say over.
*I love Jesus, my horse and now its between you and the dog….Dog won.
*its like nuts and bolts…if the rider is nuts the horse bolts.
*cant never could and wont never will
*to win you have to risk losing.
* if your gonna be dumb you have to be tough.
* nobody ever lives their life all the way up…except bullfighters.
*dont have any regrets in life if you have a dream… go for it.
* shut up and cowgirl up.
* any curve anywhere anytime…Bring it on.
*Barrel Racin’ Can you handle it?(}–{)

Only Good Reasons to get up at 4:00 AM

1. You are booked on a flight out of Smolensk, Siberia at 4:10. Next one out is in June.

2. You overslept your job as Midnight Auditor.

3. You wake up from a 20 year Coma.

4. You have a heart transplant at 5:00 AM

5. You want to be the first one to get the crop report from Dublin.

6. You get up 2 hours before the Sunrise service?

7. You lived in Newfoundland and got transferred to California.

8. Oxygen tank keeping you alive crapped out at 3:59.

9/ Your baby is born at 4:06.

Notice that none of these involve Deer, Fish or any other animal that isn’t bothering you.

Gary Freeman

My Mother’s Story , Part II

Part II

Conway Hughes was my special boyfriend. I went with him for several years until I met Ben Freeman. Conway played Football, which I encouraged but he often threw his shoulder out of place. He like me, worked at a grocery store. Because he was on the football team I was elected by the football team as one of the Maids of the Bean Bowl Festival.  My friend Fannie McKey whose boyfriend (and husband for 50 years) was captain so she was elected Queen. We rode in a convertible in a parade and sat in special seats for one of the games. Before Conway, I think I had a special boyfriend. He was Harold whose brother was the coach and later principal of the school. He was staying with his brother, Coach Myers and he got mad because Harold would break curfew. I think he was hard on him. Anyway Harold moved back to New Hebron to live with his folks.

At one ball game, I had a mix up with my boy friends. Harold came back for a visit and lo and behold, one of the boys who had left to go into the service and sent me a gift, a dresser set came home. I didn’t know until I got to the game that Jimmy was home. It kind of broke our friendship when I left with Harold. I really think looking back that he had Harold to stay with him during the football season. Once it was over he sent Harold home to New Hebron. Harold and I wrote for a while and years later when one of my kids (Jeannie I think) was at MC I ran into Coach Myers there. He told me about Harold but I forgot what he said.

When I finished high school,  I knew that there was no way that I could go to college. I didn’t feel too bad about it but I hated to see some of my friends go. Of course, Fannie and Mildred were a grade behind as was Sister so I still had my good friends around.

In early September, I went to the store to get some bacon for Annie. This happened before I went to work at the store full time. In fact I had to wait for Fannie to quit. Anyway out in front of the Western Auto Store. I saw my friend Leo talking to a handsome stranger. He had on a white shirt with the sleeves turned up. I’m not even sure if Leo introduced us, some of those boys were shy on manners. Anyway, we all talked and I thought his name was Billy. His daddy, Van Freeman shopped at Antz and had always been friendly. Several days went by and one day some friends, and I were riding horses and we went by the saw mill where (Billy) was working.

Another time, Sister and I were walking up the street and he and another guy passed by us and honked.

Anyway (Billy) Ben came into the store, we got the names straightened out and he asked me if I would like to go to a movie. I had probably seen it but I was ready to see it again. He told me that he didn’t have a car but he was trying to buy one. He said if I could find a date for his friend who had a car. I asked Mildred, begged her, etc. who finally said she would (not too enthused) go out with J.C. Anyway after that first date, Ben and Mars (his brother) bought a car so they had to take turns using it.  Ben left in the middle of September to go to Mississippi College in Clinton.

He started coming home some weekends and we dated when he came back to Centreville. His mother and daddy lived in some apartments outside of main street on down town. When my grandfather died that fall (Robert Chapman) I came up to Crystal Springs to the funeral, then came on to Jackson to try and meet with Ben. It was the Mississippi State Fair time and he was gone with some other girl. I stopped dating other boys and Benand I went together. We had a spat at Christmas but later made up. In the spring, we decided to get married. Ben gave me an engagement ring in April and we were married on July 11, 1947 at the parsonage of the First Baptist Church in McComb. I had no money and Ben didn’t have that much. So we decided it would be easier to get his friend’s father to marry us. We went to New Orleans for a 3 day honeymoon and I remembered going on the Presidents ship and going out to Ponchatrain Beach where we made a tape.

We moved into an apartment across the street from the telephone company where I worked. We lived there until we moved into a trailer on the Mississippi College Campus.

It was a very small trailer and we had an old fashioned icebox and we had to go to the bath house in the middle of the grounds. Of course, I had to have a bath especially when it got cold. We had hardly moved in before I went to the doctor and found out that I was pregnant. I knew so little about life. Nineteen years old and living in a small town. Gary was born April 19,1948. I was in labor for 28 hours and when I came from the delivery room, Annie and I were standing there with tears in their eyes. I asked them if I was going to die. Annie said “No, we were just worried about you, you little goose.! “ I didn’t know a lot about taking care of a baby but a little because I had helped with my sisters and brothers. I did sit on a small fan cord and pulled it from the back of the couch onto Gary but it didn’t hurt him. Our good friends there were Hela and Willie Walker Vicksburg. They had a daughter named Virginia.

Bill and I were at the breakfast table this morning when out of the blue, I remember an incident that happened when I was a child probably around 5. My daddy and I had gone in a wagon to a man’s house in our community. It was several miles away. Anyway I remembered as we drove up and stopped, a little girl ran out of the house with her clothes in flames. My daddy jumped down, after quickly stopping the horse and ran to the little girl. I don’t know if he had something or simply rolled in the grass but he put the fire out. I remembered him telling my mother that he saved her life, and she did recover. I’m glad that about him, because I loved my daddy although he did my mother and us kids wrong. He had some greatness about him and I hope I inherited the better. He was very good looking and likeable. He told me that his mother didn’t really care about him and she did seem to care less about him than she did the other children. He said Aunt Lily, his sister, was like a mother to him. His sister, Lily agreed with him.

Ben worked at Sears, Roebuck in the afternoon. He rode with another boy because he and mars had sold their car. We did buy a washing machine and put in the bath/shower in the middle of the trailer. We rented it out so that helped pay for it. The trailer was so small, so poor Ben went to class, and then worked, came home and studied some. He never did anything about helping take care of Gary. He didn’t have time. I think that he had never been around small children or babies. He would help dress the boys when they got older, maybe fix their coat on Sunday, he would go out and sit in the car and blow the horn as I tried to get Dennis and Jeannie ready. Gary was by this time able to do his thing. And Jeannie could dress herself when she was two. But I had to get things ready. We had to come home to eat after church, because there was no money to go out and eat and we had no relatives around. I don’t know what we ate but I remember fixing bread (loaves) and French fries on Sunday afternoon. Or might sometimes.  

Anyway I diverted again, but after Ben finished MC we went to Oakland, MS where he taught commercial typing and work. We return to Jackson area after a year or so and Ben got a job with the State Adult Education Program.

After a brief stay in the married Vets dorm (we were not students) we moved to an apartment of Bullard street, close to the old Alan C. Thompson Airport and the Zoo. Then the Korean War came up and Ben wa s in the reserve. because he got a little extra money and loved working with the radios. Gary and I were alone as they sent Ben to Charleston , SC. And put him on a destroyer minesweeper. I didn’t work,  so Annie and Jonathan came up and stayed some. I think I even tried to get him in a school here but I think they went to Crystal Springs where Annie could work.

When we first moved  to Charleston, we went to a motel in North Charleston on Rivers Avenue. There was a grocery store down the street where Gary took off and went without our knowledge . He “also crossed busy Rivers Avenue to get to some rides without our knowledge.

We lived in a house for a while which was nice but too expensive. Ben would have to go to sea and went to Cuba once. Gary had a dog but he and I had to take it to the vet to be put to sleep because he kept having seizures. (Remember Old Yeller?)

Here I found out that I was expecting another baby. I had had a miscarriage sometime earlier. Any way I went to the Naval Hospital. I hated it. They treated us without any real concern. Just another number.

Then we moved to another apartment where we spent Christmas of 1951.  

I was determined to come home so when Ben got out, we left SC and came back to Annie’s and I went to Dr. Reynolds who had delivered Gary. He wanted u to stay in Clinton because he felt something was wrong with the baby. Sure enough she had not developed past four months even though I had carried her for eight months. Ben had her buried.

We had no insurance, no place to live; he didn’t have a job, no furniture. It was a bad time especially for me.

Before we had gone to Charleston that last time, I had an experience in my life where I completely yielded myself to Christ. So I felt he was in control. We got an apartment on West Capitol, Ben got a job at United Gas and we started going to Calvary Baptist Church.

V-ottrice  Foster (VEE) had been to see some older lady who had been in the room with me after the baby’s birth. That’s how we met and she has been a fast friend ever since.  She and James were always there when we needed them and even though they have both gone onto be with Jesus, I still remember them with love.

I went to a doctor in Jackson and he told me except for having a low thyroid, there was no reason I couldn’t have a healthy baby. He told me not to travel out of town for four months. Almost four months later I started having pains. I went to the hospital. He said it was my appendix. He felt that he could take care of it or we could wait. We said go ahead . I prayed and I knew the baby was going to be O.K.

Sure enough Jeannie was born July 1, 1954. A beautiful bavy. I have often said that was one of the happiest days of my life second only to the day that Gary was born.

Dr. Claude Callender was my doctor. We moved to our new house on Santa Clair Circle. When Jeannie was several months old we didnt have a lot of furniture but we had a new house with 3 bedrooms although small.  Jeannie was healthy, never was sick and was a joy. I became pregnant with Dennis. And he was born May 15, 1956. He was “ dried out” when he was born so they rubbed him with Wesson Oil.

He was a good baby but when he would cry, I would rock the bed and he would go back to sleep. As they  got older , Jeannie and Dennis enjoyed playing together. Gary was too sophisticated for them and didn’t spend much time with them.

Jeannie was boss, and she would “baby” Dennis to play whatever. They got along together until Dennis got tired of following her and rebelled.

I remembered when Gary started school at Sykes Elementary. Jeannie was a baby so I carried Gary to the school and we went to the side door of the rooms. I parked the car, left Jeannie on the front seat and walked the few steps across the grass opened the door. I was very upset because Gary had not gone to Kindergarten so I felt real sad as he was going away to school all day. Not him ! He walked to the door and posed and said “Well, folks, Here I am!” I knew he was going to be fine.

Dennis and Jeannie both went to Daniel Church for their kindergarten years……

(End)

 

 

 

 

My Mothers Story, part 1 by Elizabeth Josephine Waddell, Freeman, Washburn Hearn

This is another journal that I have started. It is October 26, 2002. My daughter, Jeannie, has asked me to write something of my childhood and the “Old Days.” Pam, my daughter by marriage to my son, Dennis, gave me a book many years ago, to write something for her children or her children’s children. Anyway, I thought I would this for Hayley and Olivia Ross, Clancy and Ben Freeman and Tyler and Paige Freeman.

I was born on August 5, 1928 at home. My mother Annie Josephine Chapman and father daddy, Howard Hagerman Waddell were both 24. Both of my mother’s grandfathers were Baptist Ministers. Her maternal Grandfather Chapman drowned when he tried to cross a swollen river to get the doctor when his wife went into labor with childbirth. Her paternal Grandfather pastored several churches in Rankin and surrounding counties. My deceased husband, Mr. Bill Washburn found his name on the CATO Baptist Church when he went to speak there. Papa as I called my grandfather had 2 brothers who were doctors, One a medical doctor and another one who was a dentist. He also had two preacher brothers. One a Baptist and One who was a Methodist. The other brother was a superintendent of education in Louisiana. One of his sisters married a man in Forrest, Mississippi whose grandsons live there today. Papa went two years to medical school in Memphis but quit because he thought it was too hard on Mama taking care of a bunch of small children. I believe there were seven girls and one boy.

Mama tried to persuade him to keep on but he was stubborn in his ways. He became a farmer. He loved Mississippi but could make more money in Louisiana. He moved back and forth several times. My mother said she remembered them traveling through the countryside at least one time with goods for them to kind of camp in a covered wagon.

They had shipped furniture and things ahead but they traveled to the Mississippi line with the animals or at least a cow following. I think it was Aunt Jessie and her job to keep the cow going. Mama and the other girls would cook at night and in the morning before they started out. My mother said she remembered her brother, Bobby Ray holding the umbrella over Aunt Lorna Mae (a baby) while she cooked over the open fire. Mama would put a pot of beans under the wagon in water to eat for lunch or whatever. At night, Mama and Papa and maybe the little girls would sleep in the wagon. The others had to make a place outside. There were six girls and one boy and when they got to the Mississippi River, they would go across by ferry. One time, she remembered that the wagon almost slid off the ferry. Anyway, Annie finished high school and she and Aunt Ruth went to Vicksburg, Mississippi to become nurses.

Aunt Ruth got real sick and they had to go home. Papa told Annie that she could go back but the time to go never came. He was so afraid something would happen to his girls.  It is very sad because she would have been an excellent nurse. My daddy had worked at many jobs but I don’t think that he was much of a farmer but he tried very hard. When I was born, we lived at the Enochs Place out between Crystal Springs, MS and Hazlehurst, MS. We were sharecroppers which meant that Mr. Enochs provided everything but the labor and they (the Enochs and the sharecroppers) divided the profit. It was a tough life but I don’t remember it as such. Annie was a loving parent but lonely even then. She helped him in the fields a lot, dropping tomatoes or cabbage plant. I remember as a child feeling sorry for my daddy, who had cut a truck load of cabbage and carried them to Crystal Springs but they weren’t buying cabbage so he carried them home  and dumped them a long way from the house.

This reminds me of an experience I had. One of the first I remembered. I must have been five or six at the time and I went with my aunt Lorna Mae to Crystal Springs. Of course, we went on the back of a flat bed truck. Quilts had been laid in the back to make it softer and the grown folks hung their feet off the back of the bed. The kids would sit in the middle. Anyway while we were in town my Aunt went into a store. I can still see the big woman who got between us. Anyway, she lost me. I don’t remember after that but she put out a big alarm and someone suggested finally that she look in the truck. Sure enough there I was asleep under the quilts. My mother said never again do you go anywhere without me. Annie was keeping my aunts little boy and looked up to find him in the pond. So Annie said you take care of your kids and I will take care of my mine. My earliest recollection was when my brother David, we born. Of course, we were all born at home. But when David was born (He is 3 years younger than me, Papa came to get me in his car to go to their house. I only remember out to the car because I felt so big. Annie would not let us go many places without her. Later on she let me go with Ms. Enochs who became afraid of their own horses and ran the car into the ditch. I got a little head injury but felt so proud because I was a head handicap. I remembered that Mrs. Enochs gave me some candy and told me not to give it to David but my mother later told me that of course, I could share.

My daddy’s parents were different from Mama and Papas. She was a tall patrician type of woman. She did not like my daddy (my daddy told me this).a short while before he did. She was OK to us but she did not herself out. My grandfather was a slow speaking man from another state. He was a sweet person and I loved to talk to him and be around him. They always lived until I was grown in a great big house in the country between Centreville and Gloster. It was white with a big front porch and an upstairs when I was small and until later life they were only big trunks, etc. upstairs and we kids loved to go up there and I remembered reading love letters to my uncle . I remember especially a circle of crepe myrtle trees in a side yard. Where we would play and the smell of their house tickled our noses when we entered. She could cook good grits and we loved to visit them. One time when I was small (I don’t remember when.) I did something to the peas they were shelling and my grandmother told my daddy that he should spank me. My mother yanked me up and took me to the other room and told my daddy that they would do no such thing. He never touched us that I remember except once David and I were fighting and he got a little switch and switched our legs.We went running to Annie and she laughted at us. She had a quick temper and I didn’t disobey but David would try her to the Nth degree. She believed that those little switches that would sting.

Another little  girl was born to my mother on April 12, 1934. She lived one month to the day. She was born without a roof to her mouth. Back in that day and in the country, Infant death was extremely high. She was probably not able to take nourishment. I remember crying because my mother was so sad. This was Barbara Alice Waddell. I remember the little boy, William Kenneth (Billy) who came into our family on July 13, 1935.  He was so cute and sweet. He died at eight months. I can just see him a night or two before he died as someone was playing music and Billy was jumping up and down in the lap of the person holding him. He developed viral pneumonia and died.

Times got a little better for us. We moved into a new house out from Terry. Another little girl came into our family on October 16, 1938. She was a sweet baby and we loved her dearly. Annie worked in the back yard and she used lye to whiten the clothes. When she had Peggy Lois down for a nap, she put the lye on the back porch. The baby got up and put the lye in her mouth.  I remember coming home from school and a neighbor telling me that the baby had been taken to the Baptist Hospital in Jackson. She lived for several weeks more but the lye had done its damage. She died on November 15, 1939. She was 13 months old when she died. When she died I was at the house and someone told to go and get my daddy who had stepped up to a neighbor’s house. I went and told him “Daddy Howard”, you had better come home quick.” He said “Ok, I will be there in a minute.” I told him, “I think she is dying.” I can still see him running and jumping fences between our places. She died shortly thereafter and he flung himself on the ground and cursed. My mother greened but she was a strong woman.

The war was coming and they were building an army camp in Centreville and my daddy’s brother asked him to come to work for him. He had a service station, grocery store, liquor store combination we could love in a 3 bedroom house close by so we moved. Sure enough war was declared and they used part of the camp for a prisoner of war camp for German soldiers. It was not far from the back of our house, maybe a mile or so. We liked living there because sometimes Annie would let us go the store and hit Daddy Howard up for cookies or candy. We were living there when Jonathan Howard was born on August 30, 1941.  We all petted him especially me because I was only 13. I started in 8th grade at Centreville and liked the school very more. My granddaughter Waddell drove one of the school buses and so of the teachers remembered my uncle Edgar who had gone into the service.

I attended the Baptist Church there. Over the years, Annie had told us Bible stories and read to us from the Bible. Her parents were lovely Christians who went to Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church out from Crystal Springs. We love to get on Mama’s lap when we were small. She was small and rotund and tell her to tell us a bible story. When we got too big for that we would pull up a stool close by. She made us feel so warm and safe. Papa on the other hand was a great storyteller, we would get out on the front porch and say Papa tell us what happened when ___________ and he would be off. They were real happenings but he had a way of making them lively and funny. But he had a way of making them lovely and funny. He would tease us by looking his walking cane in our belt or around our legs.

Probably this might be the place to tell of a sad happening in our lives, Jessie, Annie‘s baby sister , married a man named J.B. Sheppard who had been in the war.  She didn’t know until she married him that he was a drinker, also Papa warned her but she was also kind of “flighty” but she married and moved 30 miles away Papa found out that T.B. was beating Aunt Jessie. By the time their son, Bobby about a year and a half. Papa came and got Jessie and Bobby and brought her back to his house. Aunt Gertrude, another widower daughter lived there also with her sons, Robert and Charles.

On a Wednesday Night, Aunt Gertrude and Charles went to prayer meeting leaving the others at home. TB went somewhere and got liquored up and became drunk. He came in the back door and threatened Aunt Jessie who was trying to get Bobby to go to sleep. Papa talked to T.B. to try and get him to put the gun down. By this time, they were in Mama and Papas bedroom. Finally mama distracted TB and papa grabbed him from behind and told him to drop the gun. TB did so but he shook his pants leg and another gun fell out. He shot mama in the chest and papa in the stomach. Aunt Pauline was there and he shot her in the head. He shot Aunt Jessie in a vital spot. As he started out the front door, Mama got up and begged him not to leave them like this. He cocked the gun to shoot her again but it was empty so he beat her with it and ran out.

Their nearest neighbors lived up the road a good piece but Robert who was 9 or 10 years old ran up the road looking ro help. The nearest one had gone to prayer meeting and had a dog that got after Robert. He was able to run further alone and finally got help. They took all four to the Baptist Hospital in an ambulance. The driver said he didn’t expect anyone to live a single minute more. Because of prayer, they all lived. We lived several miles away and I remember them waking up in the middle of the night Annie us in a middle of a bed at Mamas. I was 6 and we huddled under the covers waiting to be shot. Anyway, they found TBs body in the woods. He had shot himself. My uncle, Edgar wrote the story for True Detective Magazine. The publishers rejected it but but printed it in a later issue under someone elses name.  It is sad to say but TBs son, Bobby served time in the state penitentiary Parchman for a variety of offenses. Bobby had gotten into the wrong crowd and then escalated into bigger crimes. Bobby was knifed to death in Birmingham by a jealous husband. I felt sorry for him, he had a tough life.

Papa walked with a cane as a result of the bullets which had gone through him.

Back to Centreville, after a year or so, my daddy bought us a place a little further out. We liked it because we could have a cow and horses. David and I love to ride and play cowboys and Indians. We lived up the road from our good friends, Fannie and Barbara Mackey. Their mother was a kind person who made a a good bit of money by renting houses to service people. Mr. Mackey was an alcoholic so we didn’t me too much of him. I don’t know where he went. Fannie was my age, a year younger and Barbara was David’s age. My daddy bought me a piano. He also went to work at the PX on the base. As a manager he was making more money I might say he did say a short stint of the Seabees. It was while he was working there that he met Exie Campbell, a young unmarried woman.  Her family who would good people from Liberty told her to stay away from Daddy Howard but she didn’t listen. He pulled a dirty deal on my mother by telling her he would take her to see her folks. She wondered why he insisted on taking heavy coats. So while we were gone, he burned down the house. When he came back, he wanted a divorce. We went to live in a unit of my uncles motel in Woodville. We then moved to a little house that had been for the servants of the Robins family. (No, that was later) anyway Annie was not going to give him a divorce but he told her, and he had a well-known crooked lawyer from Woodville, that would say that she had been running around on him and rather than put us children through all that she gave him a divocre. He and Exie married and she was pregnant with my stepsister Sandra.

No one ever accused him of burning down the house. But Annie knew that he had and confronted him with it and he didn’t deny it. Later, two other houses of his burned down to the ground but nothing was ever done.

Annie moved us to a house in Jackson to live with Aunt Jessie. I went to Central High School. It was terrible, so big and cold. I was used to a small school. We went back to Crystal Springs for something and she asked our preacher and his wife, Sam and Helen Wagoner if I could stay and finish my junior year in high school with them. They agreed but Helen was very strict. By this time, Fannie lived across the street from the Waggoner’s so I stayed over at her house as much as I could. Finally Mrs. Mackey told me to ask my mother if I could stay with Fannie that we could share a room and I would be no trouble. I did so and we got along fine. Fannie had a steady boyfriend, Edwin Hodge, who she later married and we double dated a lot.

In later years, I saw the preacher’s wife and told her how much she had helped me (I thought to myself, even if you were a little strict.) This is when Annie moved back to the little house and tried to work. I told her to stay at home and take care of Jonathan and I would work. I did after school and on Saturdays.

So I finished my senior year in high school. I was popular in our small school and was voted the wittiest one year, the cutest girl and Senior Class president. I worked in the drugstore for a while, the movie theatre and finally went to work at Artz Grocery Store. This was Fanny’s cousin.

One reason I worked there because Iverson looked after me and on Saturday , the store stayed open until 10:00 but a lot of time Iverson would send me home earlier.

Annie was a loyal person. She took a lot off of people but you didn’t mess with her parents or her kids. I remember coming into the house and saying “Annie, make me some Teacakes”. I called her Annie because I didn’t know any better and she thought it was cute. David of course copied me(I think) but anyway, she made Jonathan call her “mother”. Anyway when I was a child I would call for Teacakes and she might say go see if there is any eggs under the hens.so I would have to go and reach up under the hen and hope to find an egg hoping she didn’t mind too much. As long as we lived on a farm, the water had to be drawn up in a bucket and carried up to the house. If we had an all over tub bath (wash tub) once a week, we were doing good. Sometimes she would bathe us in the rinse water after she had finished the clothes. The fire wood and the stove wood for the kitchen had to be brought in and I remember one year when she, my daddy and David all had the flue. We had to get water from a long way off and Daddy Howard went to get it. He was coming up the hill and I ran and he put his arm on my shoulder for me to help him. I felt really big our outhouses was a short path from our house but ok. So cold on those wintry days. And yes, we did have a catalog for toilet tissue. Rough.

My mother and daddy put a lot of confidence in me because of my being the oldest. I remember one time they had to work in the field and it was away from our house but all old and unoccupied houses close by. They made a fire in the fireplace and I tended to the baby. I guess it was Billy. I don’t remember which. David never could please my daddy. He (David) was sick a lot and I think Annie thought she would lose him too. She would sometimes bring him special foods to tempt his appetite. I remember soda crackers on one occasion. I understood why she did that, I remember one time Daddy H. Told David to close the gate. He was so skinny, he couldn’t do it. So he told me to do it. Daddy H. told David that he never could do anything right.

We had very few toys growing up. I remember on Christmas when David got a red wagon and I got a big doll usually we got some fruit and a little candy but I actually don’t remember being sad or upset about it. I do remember that I had some paper dolls like my cousins, Jo Love. They always seem to have good foods to eat, and of course Mama had good food. Aunt Gertrude did most of the cooking at Mama’s house and they had a long table with benches on each side and it would be full of food and relatives both. I was skinny also as a child and a teen. I didn’t eat much. I remember Annie telling me what they had to eat for supper and she would want to warm it up for me when I got in from work. And I would just have hot tea and toast.

I always had boyfriends. My first was the son of a doctor who with his brother owned the hospital in Centreville. His name was Rusty Fields and he had a little car that he rode out to my house. It was a fancy little car. He and I were voted the cutest in my senior year. Though not as a couple because by the time I had another boy friend or several. Rusty went on to become a doctor in Baton Rouge and became D. Howards Doctor.

I was in fairly good health and I was growing up. I remember one time when I had intestinal flu and Annie said that she thought I would die. Then one time, David climbed up on a neighbor’s disker (a farm machine for cutting up the soil.) I followed and my foot slipped and I took a big gash out of my leg. My daddy grabbed me up and ran to the house yelling for my mother to get some clothes. They took me to the doctor and he sewed it up. I really should have had plastic surgery but it was unknown in those days. You can still see the scar some 70 years later.

I was always conscious of that scar on my leg. When I was a senior in high school, I had an attack that the doctor thought was appendicitis. It reoccurred when I was four months pregnant with Jeannie and Dr. Clarke Callender removed my appendix.

One of my best friends in Centreville was “Sister” Eloise Knighton whose daddy was the town marshall. We went to church and school together and she was several years younger.

I always felt more comfortable with boys and girls my age or younger. Anyway sister and I with her cousins always sang duets or trios in church. The preacher, Brother Waggoner would take us with him to the courtry churches on Sunday afternoon. It was especially nice when he would take some of the soldiers from the camp who were attending our church. One of these soldiers was George Rungeon from New York. He was a fine Christian yourg man who encouraged us to be better Christians. Of course we were immature and it didn’t mean as much to us. He went home and brought a pretty new testament which I still have and wrote Romans 12:1-4 in the front of it. Of course after he left we never heard from him again. Later on when Ben and I were married, Sister came to see me at Mississippi College. I called and talked to her when her mother died. She is married to a doctor in Huntsville, Alabama.

Speaking of soldiers of course, my daddy said I was to have nothing to do with them. Of course we could be friends with adult supervision. Anyway, one of the soldiers wanted to come out and see me. Annie said he he could . So he brought flowers and came out in a cab. (We lived in the Country). It was fairly early when Daddy H. Came home and made him leave. He had to sit on a a bank and wait for the cab to come back and get him.

I really didn’t want to have anything to do with him so Fannie and I were at church between services. I saw him coming in the front door so I made her jump out of a back window with me. I avoided him and he got the idea. I was young and immature, probably 15 or 16 years old. He and three or four from the church were the only ones around. I spent the night with sister a lot because they lived in town. She and her mother would take me home sometime. As for dates, we double dated a lot, went to movies, football games, parties, hayrides, etc. Sometimes we just went out as a group. I honestly never saw anyone getting out of line, no drinking or smoking. Life was simple without all the bad influences that are here today. This was after Annie moved back from Jackson and I left the Mackey place.

 

Next Time: The LOVE of My Life

Dallas Blues

A completely untimed, unfettered poem by Gary V. Freeman

NIGHT

 

The SUN Slides into the Trinity River leaving streaks of Orange and Gold

 

Then

 

They come out. The NIGHT People.

 

The low Riders

 

The High Flyers

 

The High Schoolers with SKITTLES Colored hair.

 

Highland Park, BLUE Hairs

 

“Six for Dinner, James”

 

“Yes’m Miz Lee…”

 

Oak Ciff Mothers

 

“Where is James?”

 

“Don’t Know, Mama”

 

“Lawd, that boys’ going to be the death of me.”

 

The working Girls on Harry Hines

 

The Working Boys in Oak Lawn

 

STARS and MAVERICKS at American Airline Center

 

RANGERS at the BallPark

 

Real Cowboys in Mesquite

 

Dallas Cowboys in Arlington

 

The Prayer is always different; The Prayer is always the same;

 

“Oh Lord,

 

“Let Me Score”

 

“Let Me Be Safe”

 

“Lord , Let me tonight” is always how it starts.

 

You would stand a better chance of winning the PowerBall Drawing.

 

An Answer comes rarely; if ever,

 

And with out further ado.

Its time for the Evening Symphony. Cars, Buses, Trucks, Vehicles of all sizes and colors but forget now that they are cars or am I just asleep at the wheel.

 

The day is going fast and the traffic waltzes. Each light seems to stake a claim all its own.

 

The Day is over; Glory be to the night..

 

30

 

 

The Governor and I

Governors MansionIn May of 1973, I graduated with a degree from Mississippi College in Education and a burning in my heart to set the world on fire. I fully expected the “super job” to come along with a new company car and a Gold American Express Card based in Los Angeles or Houston or Atlanta. The most I was able to do was to continue my position as a waiter at Poets Bar and Grill on Lakeland Drive, in Jackson. Six months later I was promoted to bartender and there I sat with my dream job being just that. A dream job.

Actually, POETS wasn’t too bad. I mean it was a “happening” place where the “in crowd” of Central Mississippi came to party.

Practically every night the place was hopping with the family crowd until about 8 and then the hard core drinkers came in.

One night a drop dead gorgeous redhead came into the bar and stood at the end of the bar closest to me.. A persistent young man who may have had a few too many drinks started “hitting” on the young lady. You could tell she had had enough of him and was trying to be nice about it.

Finally, I had had enough of him bothering her and so I went over to him in my nicest voice said “I would appreciate it if you would leave my wife alone.” You would have thought he was pole axed. Back in “The Day” the last person you wanted to upset was a bar tender at POETS. It was “The Place” to party in Jackson. He couldn’t move away fast enough and apologize enough. She smiled at me and the room lit up. She came to POETS for the next two weeks and we sort of clicked.  We sorta ,kinda fell in love.  She knew that I didn’t want to be a bartender forever. Turns out she worked at the State Capital building and knew practically everyone in State Government.  Turns out she also knew about a job in the Governor’s Office for an Ombudsman. Yeah, me neither.

Turns out that an ombudsman is someone who talks to the common man about his problems with state government on behalf of the Governor. The Governor at the time was William Waller.

Governor Waller had been the District Attorney for Hinds County, Mississippi . He was a bear of a man who did not frequently laugh, or be jovial. He was extremely honest, and one of the most just men I have ever known. When I was 12 to 13 years old, my father took me to the District Attorneys office to sell tickets to the Scout Jamboree.  Mr. Waller at that time, bought $20.00 worth and shook my hand and told me that Scouting was a great organization.  I never forgot that. The way that he treated me like a man. Not many men would have done that.

Doing the interviewing for the position of Ombudsman was the Governor’s press secretary, Mr. Charles “Charlie” McKellar.

Charlie McKellar was clearly a man who had a sense of humor. I really don’t know which appealed to him most. The idea of having a bartender answering everyone’s problems in Mississippi  or the idea of having a bartender working for a tee totaling Governor and his wife. In any case, I went to work for the Governor as an ombudsman. Working under the supervision of Ms. Joyce Shurford who looked like Jackie Kennedy and had probably twice as much class.

We handled somewhere between 30 to 40 calls a day from citizens all over the state. Some where serious like the man that wanted to get out of Parchman Penitentiary to go to his mothers funeral in Memphis.  (We were able to clear him and his escort) or the woman’s son who needed help for medical problems. (Who we were not able to help) My all time favorite was a lady named Jenny Lynn Fernandez who lived on a farm in Water Valley, Mississippi. Ms. Fernandez had a problem with the deer around Yalobusha County that persisted in eating her soybeans and wanted the Governor to put condoms on the deer so that they would not have any more baby deer. (Mrs. Fernandez became a great friend and came to my wedding in the Mansion).Needless to say the Game and Fish Commission was “resistant” to chasing down deer to put condoms on them.

Occasionally, we were allowed out. Once we went to a party given for foreign correspondents. I felt at home until the Governor came around the corner and asked how I liked life in this country. I explained that I worked for him and he bustled around the corner without another word to me. Oh well……

On a Friday morning, January 1975, a series of tornados passed through Macomb, Mississippi injuring 100 people and killing 10. We were at the edge of the relief effort, trying to coordinate with the Red Cross. We stayed late on Friday night and slept well not knowing the tumult to come.

On Sunday evening, Colonel Tom Parker called Charlie and said that Elvis Presley felt bad about the tornado and wanted to do his part. He proposed that he do a benefit at the Mississippi Coliseum and that he would pay for it all himself.

I never found out who spread the story that Elvis was coming home to do a show in Mississippi but by six in the morning on Monday, the phones rang continuously for tickets to see the king. Our orders were specific. Write down everyone’s name and number until we figured out how the tickets would be allocated. One thing was sure. By six in the morning all the tickets to the coliseum were gone. Elvis eventually did another three shows (all of which sold out) paying for all expenses by him.

I got to see the “King” briefly but this was not the young Elvis of Love me Tinder and Jail House Rock. He had gained a lot of weight and the drugs had made him puffy but he was still Elvis.

 

As far as I know, he never got the credit for putting on those shows and paying probably close to a million dollars to benefit those victims of the tornados.

In April of 1975, my father passed away after a yearlong battle with a brain tumor and a 12 hour operation to attempt to remove it. When I came back after my week off, the Governors staff was called into a meeting on the third floor in the Governors office. The Governors staff has about 30 to 40 people in it and we were all shoved into the room. I took my seat in the back of the room. The meeting was very short. “I am thinking about moving some of you to another building or down on the bottom floor.” “What do you think,” the Governor said. And stared directly at me.

“Governor Waller , you are hard enough to find on two floors, much less on three floors. “ For some reason, he thought that was funny and that was the end of the meeting.

At the first of May, I received a phone call from the Governors Secretary. She said that the Governor wanted to see me at the Mansion.

A word about the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion. It had been in very poor condition, when the Governor was elected. Mrs. Waller took the point in restoring the mansion and in bringing it back to the condition it was at the turn of the century. It became a show case with antiques of the period and golden guild on the ceiling.  The eight rooms in the historic part of the mansion were totally rebuilt and refurnished and the family portion of the rear was rebuilt and the porticos were rebuilt. The gardens were redone with a beautiful rose garden in the rear.  When I got to the mansion, the highway patrol said that the Governor was in the Rose Garden. I walked to the back and found him looking over toward the Capital Building.  He turned to me and said “Gary, we have finished the construction now and now is the time to show it off.” As it stands now, When Carol (Mrs. Waller) calls me thirty times a day I have to answer each and every one. As of now, you will be the Executive Director of the Governor’s Mansion. Instead of her calling Bill, I want her to call Gary”. “Buy some new suits and lets get this show on the road. “ He turned back to the rear portico and started to walk.  He stopped turned around and said “I’m sorry about your father. He was a good man.” Up until then I didn’t know that he knew who I was.

The next day, I got to meet the lady who would share my waking life for the next 8 months.  Mrs. Carol Waller. Mrs. Waller was a tireless worker who never slowed down and was bound and determined to show off the Governor’s mansion to everyone in the state who could get there.  Mrs. Waller had a secretary, a staff photographer and me. We worked and prepared to “Take the State to Lunch.” (My phrase; not theirs.) Prior to Governor Waller and after him, convicts from Parchman Penitentiary who were serving life sentences would provide labor at the mansion.  Governor Waller as District Attorney of the largest county of the state of Mississippi sent a number of these “lifers” up to Parchman. He was not interested in having them under the same roof as his family and himself. So I was given enough money in the budget to hire two maids and a janitor. We had also enough money to pay the Waller’s cook. Lorraine who had been with them for years.

I was able to hire two maids and Amos.

Amos was a army veteran who was a pleasure to be around and had more stories than any other man than I have ever met. He wasn’t much of a janitor though .
Mrs. Waller had worked extremely hard to rebuild the mansion and grounds. Now that it was through, she worked extremely hard to make sure that everyone who could come to the mansion; did come to the mansion.  Five days a week, we had a luncheon for as many people that could come to the mansion.  We served “Chicken Lorraine” which had chicken breasts covered by a cream sauce, with vegetables and ice tea. Lorraine did all the ordering of food for the family but I also had the authority to do so. One day, I ran into the Wallers youngest son , Eddie asked me to order him some ice cream sandwiches. I did so and never thought about it again. Ok, I did eat one when they came in.

After  a particularly hard day, I drove to my apartment in Clinton and took the phone off the hook. Two hours later, I was awakened by a knock on my door. When I opened the door, a highway patrolman stood there, hat in hand. “The Governor wants you to put your phone back on the hook. “ I thanked the patrolman and went to put my phone back on the hook 30 seconds later the phone rang and I answered it. “Hold for the Governor” the operator said and I waited for the Governor to come on. The Governor came on the line. “Gary, don’t buy my kids anymore ice cream sandwiches. OK.?” I said ok and that was the end of the discussion. He told me later that he had to do what came up at the time or he would forget.

During the last seven months of the Governor’s term, we had several celebrities through the Mansion.

Corrie Ten Boon
Pat Boone
Van Cliburne

Sargent Shriver,

Jerry Clower
Mary Ann Mobley
George Wallace

Jimmy Carter.

Presidential hopeful Jimmy Carter came through Mississippi and spoke to a handful of people at Millsap’s College. During this time, I got to act as his chauffer throughout the city. He was greatly impressed with the mansion and hinted that there might be a place for me at the White House when he was elected President. I knew that Mr. Carter had no chance to be elected president but Seven months later he was on “Meet The Press” as the new President.

Governor Wallace was an interesting man. He allowed the photographers to film his entrance into the mansion in a limo but would not allow them to film him being put into a wheelchair.

This was also my introduction to the US Secret Service who spent several days around checking, rechecking and watching for uninvited guests.  Note: Do not ever break the Secret Services Tape over a door before the VIP’s day. Also a lapel button means that you have a firearm and changes every day  in color and design. The design and color is chosen by a computer and as such is not open to hacking.

Probably the greatest thrill of my life was getting to guide through the mansion, Jessie Owens.
Mr. Owens had won four Gold Medals in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. This was to be Adolf Hitler’s Olympics and a chance to show the world the “German Superman.”  Owens , an African American from Cleveland showed up the myth. He had been a hero of mine since I read about him as a boy. He was warm, personable and a real pleasure to be around.  He died less that three years later.

During this time, The Governor invited dignitaries of the Kuwaiti Government to come to Mississippi with an eye toward investing in Mississippi products.

It was decided that the Mansion would be ground zero of the effort and that the Kuwaitis would stay at the Mansion.  The first thing that occurred was that the Kuwaitis put their shoes out to be shined that evening.  Mr. Paul Fugate, director of the Mississippi Economic Council and I having no one else to do it shined their shoes since the staff had already gone home.  For a couple of a billion dollars, we figured it was a small enough price to pay.

The next day after negotiations, each of the banks in the Jackson Metro Area was given a Billion dollars in investments during a closed door meeting between the bankers and the Kuwaitis. The only non-banker, non-Kuwaitis in the room was The Governor and I.

At around this time, one of the Kuwaitis decided that his suit needed pressing. Since the dry cleaners had closed, I asked the staff if anyone knew anything about pressing a suit. Of course, Amos said that he could press it. I thanked him and gave the suit to him. Amos got a steam iron and heated it up past the white iron stage. He then proceeded to put starch on a suit that had to have cost $4,000 in London and pressed it within an inch of its life. Needless to say the Kuwaitis decided that they would no longer need us to press any more suits.

The last night of the Kuwaitis visit, I was able to meet the two US Senators from Mississippi. Senator James Eastland and Senator John Stennis both living legends in Mississippi politics.

The next morning the Kuwaitis were to leave to go to South Carolina on a jet provided by that state. First, they were to have breakfast at a local industrialists house. At 11:15, that night, the Governors Aide told me that that plan had been canceled and that we (meaning me) would have to feed them.

The problem was that I don’t know how to cook.  So I fed them scrambled eggs, bacon, OJ and Pillsbury sweet rolls.

What? They didn’t complain and I waved goodbye to them.

In November , I started dating Barbara Williams who had a four year old daughter.  I made the mistake of mentioning it to Mrs. Waller and the next thing I knew we were getting married in the Mansion with the Governor being the best man. It was a beautiful ceremony with a reception of around 3,000 people.

wedding

 

 

 
I could not have asked for anything more from the Wallers. They were class acts. The kind we will probably not see  in our lifetime.

 

 

 

 

Letter to Bill Jr.

Editors Note: This letter was written by the Father of Captain William C. Washburn to Bill’s son, William C. Washburn Jr. Bill had been born into money as his family owned the Great Southern Hotel in Meridian, MS. Bill went onto College at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Gary Freeman 2013

 

 

June 23, 1949

Written by Nat I. Washburn to his grandson, William C. Washburn, Jr.

Dear Billy ,

Ever since I had my first glimpse of you, several days ago, I have felt the urge to put down on paper my thoughts. You see this is a momentous occasion in my life; you are my first grandson to bear my name.

 

You will be twelve years old when this letter is given to you. By that time, I may have passed from this life and so, I am anxious to pass on to you some of the things t have learned and at the same time to give you a brief history of my life as well as to tell you what I know about my parents (your Great Grandparents) and my Grand Parents’ (your great, great Grand Parents) I also want to warn you of the many pit-falls, temptations and rough roads you will travel if you decide to learn the That is: not listen to advice.

 

As I looked at you that first day, my heart swelled with pride in the consciousness that you would carry on the Washburn name. While your Dad is a great improvement over his Dad, It is my prayer and wish that you will be an improvement over both of us. This is not a small order because (not bragging) your Grand Dad, in spite of many mistakes and travel down roads that led to a “dead end”, has been fairly successful. And’ Your Dad has done even better.

 

So, let’s start at the beginning. I was born on August 17, 1889 In Yazoo City, Miss. My first remembrance of my early Life was that I was standing in our front yard. Surrounded by a picket fence (most houses were fenced in those days and many people kept cows, chickens, etc., and the front yard was covered with a very poor and stubbly grass. How or when we moved from that location, I don’t remember but later on I remember us living in a small three room house on a hill at the edge of town. This hill was known as Peak Teneriff. I remember playing in the hills around the house, of finding berries and a big spring close to the house. Your Uncle Bob and I played. with other boys in the neighborhood. We would find a chicken and take it to a place “up a gully” and there we would camp and cook. There was huge peach tree on the side, of the house which bore the most delicious and largest Alberta peaches I have ever known. The tree was so large, we could climb up into its branches and the peaches ripened just a little previous to my birthday.

 

In those days, we were very poor. You see your Great Grand Mother (Emma Link) married your Great Father, (John Mitchell Washburn) and the marriage was not approved by her Mother, (My Grandmother, Rachel Link.) There was quite a row and my Mother left home and from thence on refused any help of a material nature; although my Grand Parents on both sides of the family were quite prosperous. They both owned large plantations. Our poverty was brought about by virtue of the fact that my Father suffered from a disease known as inflammatory rheumatism. This disease caused his hands, arms and legs to swell and become so inflamed that the pain was unbearable. I have seen him with pillows under his hands and legs and the swelling was so great that the skin would burst. Trying to find a cure for this disease caused him to spend every dollar he could spare; Of course, he could not work all of the time and this also contributed to our dilemma.

 

Back in those days, river transportation was one of the main modes of travel and moving freight. My father was a pilot on the Yazoo River and also held license as a pilot on the Mississippi River. This was a most honored profession and pilots

were quite respected. Anyway, Dad’s illness kept us down to bare necessities. If I was fortunate enough to have a biscuit with a piece of bacon it for my lunch to take to school, I was indeed fortunate.  In those days, there were no school lunch rooms or free lunches for underprivileged children and many days I went without lunch.  Candy, toys, etc. were out of the question. If I had any spending money, I had to earn it. I remember one incident when I moved two tons of coal from the street into a basement and received .25 and thought I was rich.  I used to gather up scrap metal or bottles and sell them and on rare occasions, I would buy three bananas for 5 cents or 5C worth of candy which I would make last me a week. I could tell you of many other instances of denial, sacrifice, etc.

 

Maybe the strain of such rugged living conditions helped to bring on my Mother’s death which happened when L was ten years old. I went to live with my Grandmother but did not like the discipline and ran away and went to Yazoo City (I ran away from the plantation home which was two miles west of Y. C.)and went to live with my Father’s Cousin Mrs. Geo. P. Blundell, who was the wife of Dr. Blundell and I had to cut the grass, take care of the horses and go with him at night when he had calls to go to the country. I can remember one bright moon-light night when I had to get up with ice on the ground and freezing cold and hitch up the horse and accompany him ten miles into the country. When we got there some time after mid-night, we found a huge sprawling house with about twenty five neighbors and a huge log fire in a fire-place. It was after day-light when we got back home and I had to make fires in the house and get ready to go to School.

 

Mrs. Blundell had a daughter who was well educated and a mighty fine person. She undertook the task of teaching me good manners; proper conduct and many other cultural subjects. She had a great influence on my life and I will always be indebted to her for the love and help she gave me.

 

13. After living there about two years, my Grandmother had passed away and My Aunt Lizzie Johnston my Mother’s Sister) was appointed my guardian. She insisted that your Uncle Bob and I come to live with her in Jackson, Miss. Riding the train to Jackson was a thrill and then to ride the street-car up Capitol Street to our destination (which was a large colonial home on the corner of Capitol and N. Congress Street)was a greater thrill.

 

At this same time, the present “‘New Capitol’ was being constructed,-which was on the site of the old penitentiary. I watched this building rise from the foundation. However, while living with ray Aunt, I became restless and decided to quit school (I was twelve years old) and go to work.

 

My first job was errand boy for the Governor (Longino), the Secretary of State (Mr. Joe Power) the Attorney General (Mr. Bill Williams) the Department of Archives and History (Mr. Dunbar Rowland. I was making the huge salary of Thirty dollars a month. While in this job, one day, a party of tourists came to the Capitol and asked me if there was a guide who could show them thru the building. Not being busy at the time, I offered this service and when I had finished the tour, they gave me a dollar and from then on, I was in business as a guide whenever I had the opportunity.

 

After working at the Capitol for a time, I heard of a job with the Illinois Central Rail-road as a call-boy. A call-boy is a person who works all night and goes to the homes of the engineers and firemen and wakes them up in time to get to work or to relieve an engine crew whose time was up. This was necessary because, in those days, very few people had telephones (but I remember, I am getting ahead of my story because my first job was with the Western Union Tel. Co. as a messenger. I worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week and made the huge sum of $12.50 per month. Out of this amount, I purchased, on time,a second-hand bicycle for $8.00. Then, I went to work at the capitol later.)

 

Well, I got the job as call-boy for $30.00 per month but I was thrilled to be around the engines, etc. While all this was going on, My Aunt Lizzie decided to move to Clinton, a small village just ten miles West of Jackson, and the site

of Miss. College. She wanted to get me back in school and kept putting pressure on me to quit work and come back to live with her. Well, I finally gave in and quit my job in June and went to Clinton. It would be hard for you to imagine Clinton in the summer after school was out. It was really “dead”. The idleness, after the excitement of railroad work was too much of a contrast. I decided to leave and go back to work but not for the rail-road. I got a job as an elevator boy in a new hotel that was being built on the S.W. corner of Capitol and Congress.

 

I worked there before the building was finished; mopping floors, cleaning plaster off the grill work of the-elevator., etc. I will never forget how proud I was of my new uniform. However, I did not

work there long because the Manager was a Yankee. The first day the hotel was opened, I ate in the dining room with the guests; the second day, we had instructions to eat in a room next to the kitchen. This was O. K. but when the Manager issued orders that we had to eat in the kitchen with the XXXX employees that were too much. I tried to see him but was not able to do so until late one Friday

Afternoon about dark. I threw my uniform into his face and told him I did not have to eat with XXXX and he could have his job.

 

Well, I learned that there was a job open under the Yard Master of the Rail-road. It was what was known as a “switch tenders Job.

. ‘ ‘

The duties were to be at either end of yard to throw the switch to let the passenger trains come in on the right track. This was

a man’s job and I was only fifteen. Well, on Nov. 5, 1905, I went

between two cars on what is known as the “‘House Track” and a switch engine with twenty one cars was bearing down Which I did not see. I was knocked down. Fortunately the brakes were set on the two cars and ‘the force of the impact pushed me along the track (the track was level with the round) and gradually chewed my left leg until it was badly mangled and I was dragged 105 feet before the engine could stop. This was about four thirty A.M. In those days, there were no ambulances. I was carried to a platform of the passenger depot and left to await a doctor who got there about six A. M.

, .

It was necessary that I be carried on a stretcher up Capitol Street to the Jackson Sanatorium Which was behind what is now the First National Bank building. Being strong and healthy, I recovered from the operation and was up and walking around the hospital in five days.

 

After I left the hospital, I went back to Clinton and entered the preparatory dept. of Miss. College which was in fact, a high-school course. I had to complete all of this work before I could go into the college studies.

 

During this time, I was very rebellious, frustrated and indifferent to things worthwhile. This was a terrible frame of mind because I could have ruined my whole life had I continued this course. I was up before the faculty on many occasions and was on the verge of being expelled from school but some how, I hung on and managed to “get by” by listening in class but doing very little studying. I thought I was smart to out-wit the teachers. What I did not know on tests, I copied the other boy’s work and what I could not answer on examinations, I cheated. Of course, this kind of conduct was bound to be brought to a head. This was the TURNING POINT OF IN MY LIFE.

 

It was on a bright sunshiny spring morning. I had to go to the chemical laboratory to get my final grade on Chemistry; which was my first year in this subject. I found the Dean of the Chemical Dept. standing on the porch of the building as I approached. He greeted me and told me my report was in his room on the desk. He said he had about concluded that I was not sufficiently interested in this subject

to CO18 to get my report card. I went 1n to the room and when I looked at the card, 1 saw that I had failed the course by a half point.

Seventy five was passing. I walked out and said to Dr. Provine:” I see you failed me by half a point, it seems to me that you could have given me the other half point and let me pass.”

He said:” Nat, do you think you know this subject well enough to pass?” I said:” Well, ‘I know it seventy-four and one half worth ” and he said: “Do you?” And I said:” What do you mean?” He said: “Nat, why don’t you GET

WISE TO YOURSELF?” Again, I said:” What do you mean Dr.?” He said “Come in here and sit down, I want to talk to you.” We went into

the room bare floor, a plain table and two cane-bottomed chairs. He said:” Nat:, I repeat ‘why don’t you get wise to yourself’? Have you ever given any thought to where you are heading? Do you realize that you are on the brink of disaster? In my opinion, you are a smart boy and deserve to go onto a better life than what you are carving out for yourself; you are not taking advantage of your opportunities. ‘I I said “Oh, I think I can take care of myself. I think I know the score. Is this all you want to say to me?” I got up and left but as I walked down the steps the words:”WHY DON’T YOU GET WISE TO YOUSELF? began going thru my mind. I walked home in a daze but every step I took those words kept ringing in my mind. When I got home, I went to my room and locked the door and stayed there until about five P. M. I went round and round with my conduct, my lack of ambition; lack of a goal; the aimless way in which I was living from day to day.

 

During this time at Miss. College, I had formed a fast friendship with a boy named Pat .Eager. He was the Son of the Dean of the English Dept. We had rigged up a telegraph line from his house to mine, a distance of about a mile and a half. I sent his call letters over the wire and he answered. I asked him (In Morse Code) what he was doing and told him I was coming out to his house to tell him something very important. When I got there, we went into his room and closed the door. I said:” Pat, I have decided to leave Miss. College and go to Miss. A & M (later Miss. State and later Miss State University.) and get away from the environment I am now living in.’

You see, I was my own boss; I came and went as I pleased and had no regard for rules or laws. I cut classes when I felt like it, I went to Jackson against the rules of the school and did most everything but what I was supposed to do. I told Pat, I was fed up with loafing on the job, cheating on examinations, etc. and that I had concluded the best thing for me to do was to “wipe the slate clean” and start over. With out any more detail, I made arrangements to enter Miss. A~ & M (Mississippi Agricultural & Mechanical College~} in the fall of 1910. I shared a room with a boyhood friend: Boyce Bailey and “Spruce” (Jones Hamilton) Cole. I was not subject to Military duty (Miss. A & M. was strictly a military school) and while the students were out on the drill field, – I took advantage of this and did my. studying. I soon learned that with about a thousand

students and an average of about $5.00 per month each, I should do something to get a part of this “gold mine” I opened up a store in my room and sold such items as cigars, cigarettes, chewing gum candy,etc. I soon found out that soon after the boys received their money from home most of them were “broke” and wanted to borrow money. I began lending them money on the basis of 10% of the1oan as interest for a thirty day period. I was soon the possessor” of many items such as books. over coats. watches, rings, etc. Many of these items were not redeemed and I sold them at an additional profit. I also became interested in photography and made pictures of the students and sold them to them. I acquired an electric iron and began pressing uniforms for $2 each and many nights I worked until after mid-night; pressing clothe… With all of this activity, I began to acquire a surplus of money which I in turn loaned out. In this manner, I was able to pay all of my expenses and have plenty left at the end of the year.

 

As I went along, I was elected Sec. of the Sophomore Class: Treas. of the junior class. I was elected assistant Editor in Chief of the Reveille (the College Annual) and in my Senior year, I was elected Editor in Chief. Now, to back up for an experience that had quite a lot to do with my future: During my junior year, a special train was run to Birmingham for the Auburn- A & M. game. There were several “eager beavers’:’ on the train who were making notes of every infraction of the rules. They snooped on boys who went into saloons in Birmingham and when they got back to the Campus, they had quite a number of boys to report. The report caused quite a sensation and the Faculty brought each boy reported before them. After the investigation was all over, the Faculty decided that they would not take

any punishment action with the understanding that every boy  who was on the train, whether he had been reported or not, would sign a pledge to strictly obey all of the college rules for the rest of the year or they would have to face whatever punishment they deserved.’ I was not reported, because as I previously mentioned; I had “‘turned over a new leaf.” However, I signed the pledge.

 

At the beginning of my senior year, we had a new Commandant. This man was not a West Pointer but one who had come up thru the ranks to the rank of Colonel. The boys detested him. Seniors were required to report for roll call at Reveille each morning; They were not allowed to wear their new uniforms, unless they had all of their work up (some of the boys were two terms behind in some subjects such as practical or lab work and were planning to make up this work before school was out) These kind of orders made things worse. The entire student body was upset. Miss. A. & M. (being a State School) was “shot thru with politics” The President and many others, such as the Doctor, the Business Manager, the Food Dept. etc. were appointees of the Governor. The President whom the boys loved and respected, Jack Hardy, had resigned to take a similar but better paying job in Texas. The new President, Mr. Hightower, was not a College Man and knew nothing of school administration. The Vice. President of the School, Billy Magruder, was very old but the new President began to lean on him and this gave Billy a new power which he seemed to enjoy. We had five young ladies who were day-students and known as “co-eds”’.

 

A couple or maybe three of these girls were going “Steady” with a couple of seniors and in their off periods, they would go to a vacant class room to study and maybe hold hands. Billy Magruder heard about this and had issued an order that no boy would be permitted to be in the company of any of the young ladies except in the regular class room. The seniors resented this. Now before I continue with this  lets go back to another incident which was working to bring to a climax all of these incidents.

 

The Doctor, In charge of the hospital, was a brother of the then Governor E. F. Noel. He was a liquor-head and whenever a boy was feeling bad, he would write him a prescription for a “hot shot” which was a pretty strong purgative. It became common talk among the students that regardless of the ailment, all Dr. Noel knew was to series of “hot shots”. Well, one day the nurse came to Dr. Noel when he was about half drunk and told him that she had a

Very sick boy and she thought he had appendicitis; that the Dr.should examine him immediately and make arrangements to get him to Memphis for surgery. The Dr. told her to give him a couple of hot shots; said that he was like all of the others, playing sick to get out of his ‘Work”. The nurse protested but to no avail. However, she made the Dr. write out the prescription. The boy died and the student body was “up in arms”. This was quite a sad occasion. The boy

was given a full military funeral. His casket was draped in the U. S. Flag and he was placed on a caisson and a group of students pulled the caisson to the depot. After his body had been placed on the train and the train slowly moved out from the station. The Captain of the band stepped out into the middle of the track and blew “Taps” on his trumpet. Seeing that train moving slowly into the distance caused a lump to come into my throat so big that I thought I would choke to death. This, together with several other incidents caused quite a lot of unrest among the student body and when the Order of Dr.Magruder came out that no boy and girl were allowed in each other’s company on the campus there was quite a commotion. The student body went wild. I was sitting in my room studying when a messenger” came to my room and told me I was wanted in room (I forget the number) when I got there, there were about a dozen students all seniors

and they were quite incensed. They appointed a committee and I was one of them. We were instructed to draft resolutions condemning the order and demanding an apology from Dr. Magruder and a rescinding of the order. It was decided that if this was denied, we would walk out of the Chapel and not go to classes until our demands were met. The Junior, sophomore and freshmen classes did likewise. There was pandemonium on the campus. Well, the Faculty went into session and they began calling in every boy who was on that special train that went to Birmingham and who had signed the pledge. This was about three fourths of the Student body. Those who had been reported on the train, ~-were suspended. Our Committee was expelled and a complete change of my plans was necessary. I was offered a job as an algebra teacher at a county consolidated school but when I got there the man who had resigned, had reconsidered and decided to finish out the term. I then went to Jackson and entered Draughn’s Business College and began the study of bookkeeping and shorthand and typing. I soon dropped the bookkeeping as I concluded that I was not suited for this kind of work; but I did become very proficient in stenography and typing.

Later. I was offered a job of salesman for a firm known as Hebron Croxton Groc. Co. in Jackson, Miss. I traveled south to Magnolia and North to Pickens every week. I had to make some of my “jumps” in a horse and buggy. Later, I became shipping clerk for this firm and later, I became bookkeeper, shipping clerk, office manager and everything else for a Ballard & Ballard Obelisk Flour Co. It was while working for this firm that I persuaded your “Mimi” to be my wife. We were married in Capitol Street Methodist Church by Dr, Alex Watkins, and then President of Millsaps College, who was also a Methodist Minister. We were married about one P. M. on Sept. 2, 1914. We had Pat eager and john Crisler and Bill McCarty and Boyd Campbell as your Mother’s Sister: Minnie Mai, was Maid of Honor. I forget who the other bride’s maids were. We had a cab (closed) with two white horses and big white ribbon on the buggy whip and white ribbon on the doors to take us to the Railroad Station where we boarded the Illinois Central Train for Memphis. We spent our Honey- Moon at the Gayoso Hotel and we had a wonderful time.

 

Shortly after our marriage, we had to go back to Memphis as

My company needed a relief man in the Memphis office to substitute for the regular man who was sick. Later, we were sent to Jacksonville Fla. Shortly after we had been there, a depression developed and thousands of people were out of work.

 

Ballard & Ballard published a weekly paper for the benefit of its all employees and late in November an issue of this paper came to us. In big headlines and heavy type across the top of the front page, was this startling, statement: “THE MAN WHO SPENDS MORE THAN HE MAKES IS A FOOL ‘AND THE MAN WHO CONTINUES TO SPEND MORE THAN HE EARNS, BECOMES A THIEF.” I later found out that this was directed to a salesman out of our office who was courting a very rich girl and he was spending the Company’s   money trying to make an impression on her.  However, the more I thought about the statement, the more concerned I became because I knew I was spending more than I was earning which was due to a poor salary and a lot of sickness on the part of Mimi. After thinking and worrying through the night, I made a resolution that again changed my course. I wrote to the Company that I had read their paper and had come to the conclusion that I was a fool and for fear that I would become a Thief, please accept my resignation.

 

It was next June before I could get released. On our way back to Jackson with only a month’s salary in our pocket and very little cash in reserve (doctor’s bills and about eaten up my savings) we stopped in Atlanta, Ga. I purchased a White wash suit, a pair of White canvas shoes and a straw hat and the entire bill came to $8.00. Your Mimi spent an equal amount and when we arrived in Jackson, we looked quite prosperous.

 

Had it not been for Mimi’s Mother and Father, we would have had a mighty hard time. They took care of us and it was eight months before we could repay them.

I purchased the cigar stand at the Royal Hotel; that is I purchased the stock and leased the space and fixtures. The stock was old and much of it had to be thrown out and for about six months I had a real hard time, however with hard work, new stock, business gradually improved. Until it did so, I became a public: Stenographer in the Hotel and gradually worked up a nice business with this work. Incidentally, I purchased the first “Slot machine” ever brought to Mississippi and it proved a “gold mine” until it was ruled a gambling device and I had to get rid of it. This incident made me conscious that operating a cigar stand was not such a “hot” vocation and I began to look around for something more substantial. About this time a man by the name of Harry P. Dye came to me with a proposition to go partners with him and lease the Hillman Hotel in Birmingham. This appealed to me and subsequently, we leased the property and had not DK>re than gotten going good when World War One hit the U.S. Our business increased until we were doing a capacity business.

 

About this time) our chief clerk, Jim DeJarnett informed us that he was resigning to take a managerial job in Atlanta;

That he was going to open the new Cecil Hotel. This necessitated me taking over his duties. The first day I was behind the desk and I noticed a huge room full of packages) addressed to guests and stacks of mail that needed to be forwarded. When the night Clerk came on at eleven P. M.) I told him he was not looking after the forwarding of mail properly and that something should be done about it. He proceeded to tell me in no uncertain terms that he had been an hotel clerk for twenty five years and that he did not need a young squirt like me to tell him how to run his job. This surprised me so much that I couldn’t have been more

Surprised had he thrown a bucket of water in my face. However) after I got my breath, I informed him maybe he had been clerking for’ twenty five years but he was still a night clerk and I was his boss.  Of course, the reason he was so arrogant was because he knew that help was hard to get. I left the office and the, next morning when I came down to breakfast, he was sitting in the lobby waiting for me. He asked to speak to me and said:” Mr. Washburn) I have .thought all night about what you said to me and I am thoroughly ashamed but I want to tell you that your statement

waked me up and I am going to try to cash in on my experience and get a better job. Later, he informed me that he had gotten a job in South Georgia as Manager of a hotel. I have never seen or heard from him from that day to this. I learned a good lesson from this experience. I learned that when a person becomes so conceited that they think they know it all, they are riding for a fall. I also learned that “a little knowledge is dangerous”.

I also learned that the person who does not continually strive to improve themselves will not amount to much. There is an old saying: ” as long as an apple is green, it continues to grow; when it gets ripe it begins to rot”. My advice is to continue all thru life to increase your knowledge.

 

The partnership with Harry Dye was not satisfactory. I learned that he was a crook, a charlatan and many other bad traits. I had to se1l my stock to him at his price to get away from him. After selling out, we went back to Jackson for the month of December and it was then that I learned that the Great Southern Hotel lease, furniture and fixtures were for sale. A lease and purchase price was negotiated and I took over the operation in Jan. 1919. From that time until I closed the hotel on Apr. 30th, 1955 ,  many things happened too numerous to relate here. Suffice to say, the Good Lord was mighty good, and had I been

as good, things would have been much smoother. I learned that you can’t hold onto God’s hand with one hand the the Devil with the other.

 

Later, in 1919, I was invited to become a member o£ the Rotary Club of Meridian; subsequently, I served on committees, and on the Board of Directors and about 1924 was elected President. I was also honored in a similar way by the Chamber of Commerce. I helped organize the Boy Scouts in Meridian; served on committees, one of which was the committee to select the present site of the Boy Scout Camp; served on the Board and was elected President-; I also became Chairman of the Red Cross and President of the United Fund; I helped reorganize the Miss. Hotel’ Association. I was Secretary for about eight years and President for about eight years. In 1948, I was elected Secretary of the American Hotel Association and was the first Person in the South to hold an office in the National organization. I have been a member o£ the Board of Stewards of Central Methodist Church about thirty five years; was Vice President of the Board for about five years.

Was Chairman of the Commission on Stewardship and Finance for over ten years and am still a member of that important committee I was elected a member of the City Council when the City changed from the old Commission form of government to the New City Manager Plan and had a part in the many reforms and improvements that took place during my period of service. I could have been reelected had I remained in the City but we decided to move out of the hotel and purchased a home outside the City which made me ineligible. After closing the hotel, I was honored by being- asked to assume the duties of Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Mississippi Hotel Assn. and have been very active in this work

Up to this time. I was also elected Secretary Treasurer of the Newly formed Miss. Travel Council but found the work too strenuous and have tendered my resignation.  After many years of service to the Boy Scouts, I was awarded the “Silver Beaver” which is the highest award that can come to a Boy Scout Council Member. I could have gone on to District Boy Scout Work but time did not permit. I was honored by being asked to let my Rotary Club place my name in nomination for District Governor of Rotary but had to decline. I was also elected President of the Miss. Hotel Greeters of America. and there were other honors too numerous to mention. I do recall a very distinct honor in which I was chosen as “The Hotel Man of Distinction” representing Miss. at the All Southern Hotel Show in Atlanta. I was later presented with a beautiful silver tray, properly inscribed, by my own association at the Mid-South Conference in New Orleans and was presented with a silver card of “Honorary Member” of the Miss. Hotel Assn.

 

Why do relate all of these incidents? Certainly, it is not bragging- It is to let you know that even though I did not have a Mother or Father to guide and council me, I managed some way to have  an ”awakening” and when I did, I decided to do something About it.