Sunday, December 14, 2008

North Myrtle Beach - Part Three

Living at the beach was a great time in our lives. We were making new friends and keeping the old ones that were left behind in Charlotte. We enjoyed when they would come down to the beach and spend some time with us. As time passed, I could tell the living there was helping my back and I was able to do much more work that previously I thought I could. I was able to finish building our house and as I made friends around us, I was able to help them do some the things around their houses. It was not long before the word got around that I could make home repairs which kept me busy and I could get my mind off of my back pain.We joined First Baptist Church the first Sunday after we moved; it was different from Mulberry because we had more visitors than members almost every Sunday morning since so many folks vacationed in the area. We had a good Sunday school class, Thurman McLamb was a great teacher. It did not take long to get adjusted to this church and to get involved in it. We quickly learned all the best places to eat fish and other foods by becoming friends with folks that lived in the area.

After moving to the beach we got involved with a group of senior citizens, the Nifty Fiftys, that met at the First Baptist Church each Tuesday morning from nine until noon. Each week we would have a range of attendance from 100 to 150. We had refreshments and a good program every meeting. There was a group of people that liked to travel, their motto was, " Pay the Travel Agency - Not the Doctor." Everett Beaver was our travel leader and he had us going on trips that we never thought we could do. He had us traveling all over the world! We went on trips to Asia, Europe, Egypt, Morocco, Israel, Mexico, and Canada in addition to goingall over the eastern USA. We bought our own bus; I was the bus driver and I got to go freeand with what I was paid for driving, Hazel got to go for a very little which gave us the opportunity to go when and where we wanted. We went on over thirty cruises and many long and short trips. Sometimes we would have as many as 150 going on a cruise at a time and all the trips we had to limit it to the 47 seats that we had on the bus. On a lot of our cruises we had to charter as many as three buses. Some of our best trips were to New York, Maine, Nova Socia, Prince Edwards Island, Canada, Niagara Falls, New Orleans, Mississippi River boat, Texas, Copper Canyon Mexico, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Lisbon, and many others. On those long trips we were able to find some of our best friends that have stuck with us for all these later years. Richard King was the leader of the Nifty Fifty's for most of the time we were there. After he died James Griffith did it for a while and when he gave it up I became the leader but not for long because we moved back to Charlotte in January of 2000. Listen to me tell this story.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

North Myrtle Beach - Part Two

Our house at 4504 Lewis Street in North Myrtle Beach was finished in March of 1985 and we moved in on April 1, 1985. Tom and Margaret Worthy who owned Jet Express Delivery said that they would move us for only the gas it took. Before that, every trip down to the beach we would pack the van to the fullest so there would not be so much to take at one time.
We had already taken down our beds and most of our kitchen things and already had them put up just like we wanted. On this last trip, we just had to take all of the big items and all of my shop tools which made for a huge truckload. We had planned to leave Charlotte early in the day just as soon as Tom could get caught up on his deliveries. Work orders just kept coming in; in fact, it was one of his busy days. He did not get caught up until 6:00 p.m. that Friday! We got the truck loaded by 8:00 p.m. and started down the road to the beach. Tom and I were in the truck and Hazel and Margaret in our car. It was sort of a slow trip down so we arrived at the beach around 1:00 a.m. We got a little sleep and the next morning John and Sue Rogers were there early and helped us unload the truck. It was a busy day but we got everything in place and by night fall we all were ready for a good night’s rest.
The first morning after we move in at the beach we had twelve friends for breakfast which included Tom and Margaret Worthy, Jasper and Dixie Forbes, Dale and Candy Lawson, and four kids. From the first day we had opened our home at the beach to anyone that would come to visit. We had always said that it was God’s house because He was the one that made it possible for us to have. The house was not finished, we had not built the front porch or the shop on to the back. It was high enough that I could put all of my shop tools under the house and I had just enough space to do all of the work that I had to do.

It was not long after we moved in that a house under construction caught fire and burned to the ground; it had a big load of lumber that got burned a little on the end and the man gave it to me which was enough to build most of our front porch and the framing for the shop. When Larry Lambert finished the patio homes that he was building he gave me enough cedar siding for my shop on the back of our home so all I had to buy was the roof trusses, roofing, a door, and concrete for the floor. A couple in our Sunday School Class had built a big house and the contractor had put two wrong windows in and had to take them out. They let me have them for almost nothing. Things like this happened from the start to the finish of building our home at the beach, it had to be Gods way of helping us; we could not have done it on our own.  Listen to me tell this story.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

North Myrtle Beach - Part One

I worked at Metro Center until 1985 when working conditions got so bad that I had to leave. Administration changed and focus of school changed directions with less focus on what was best for the students. The time I spent at Metro Center made up some of the best years of my life; I was able to do so many things that I never thought I could do and was able to work alongside teachers that had so much love for the students that attended the school. As time passed with a change in principals, there came a change of treatment of the kids. I could not remain with the school any longer and my heart was broken when I left. My departure from Metro Center allowed another chapter of my life to open. Soon afterwards, Hazel and I decided to buy a lot and build a house at North Myrtle Beach, SC. See the location.
Our friends, John and Sue Rogers, had purchased a condo at North Myrtle Beach. During one of our trips down to visit with them, we found a lot that was on the market and we could imagine how the house we wanted would look on the lot. I called the real estate agent, Rachel Thompson, and made an offer that was within our means. The agent said that she was sure that the seller would not accept an offer that low. I told her that they could counter our offer and if we could afford it we might just buy it. Three days later we received a call from her that the seller had accepted our offer which meant that we could afford the property so we started planning how we could buy the land and build a house. We had no bank account and only owned the house on Pawnee Drive in Charlotte. We prayed about this move and felt that it was in God’s will. We put a down payment on the lot and got things started knowing that He would do the rest. We were able to get our money out of our investment in Jackson Homes which was enough to pay for the lot and some left to start the house.

With the help of John and Sue and many other friends that we made so quickly, one thing after another happened and everything fell right into place. We met Larry Lambert, a contractor that had about a hundred patio homes he was planning to build. At the time he could not start until some of the completed ones were sold so he had a couple weeks that he had nothing to do. He agreed to frame our house and ended up doing the outside and roof. The weekend after this job was done was when his company had sold the most of the patio homes in one weekend so he was very busy for the next six months. I did not know how we were going to pay him for what the work he did for us but with the help of friends we were able to pay as the house was being built. We met Mr. Edge, a plumber, that volunteered to do the plumbing for cost and the air condition was also installed for the cost of the unit. George Broom, an electrician and friend from Mulberry Baptist Church, and my son Glenn went down and did all of the electoral work in just two days, one to ruff it in and one to finish it.

All this time my good friends were letting us borrow the money that we needed until we could sell our home in Charlotte. When we were ready for the sheet rocking, I went to see Jimmy the guy that was doing the work for Larry Lambert, the contractor, to see what it would cost. It just so happened that he got caught up that day and all of his men would have two days off. He told me that if we could get the sheet rock that afternoon, he would put it up for just labor cost. I called the lumber company and they so happen to have a truck and would have it at our house in one hour, Jimmy and his crew started that afternoon and two days later the sheet rock was hung, patched and ready to paint. Glenn and I painted the inside of the house and he worked with me as I built the fireplace. That same weekend I met Wheat, a man that had a cabinet shop in Statesville. He came over and measured my house and he just so happen to have cabinets for the two bath rooms that he had made and had not sold. He gave them to me and built the rest of the cabinet for cost; one week later the cabinets were delivered to my house in Charlotte. The bill read to be paid at my leisure, every time we needed anything, God was there one day ahead of us meeting our needs. Everything that we did until the house was finished was taken care of in a way that only God could have done it. Listen to me tell this story.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Our First Cruise and Trip to Hawaii

During the winter of 1982, John and Sue Rogers, Bob and Marge Greene, and Hazel and I decided that we would like to go on a cruise. I contacted a travel agency at Belk's and found that we could go on a seven day cruise for a little over five hundred dollars each which this sounded pretty good so we each booked a reservation. We flew to Atlanta, GA and after a short snow delay headed on to San Juan, Puerto Rico and then on to the Cunard Princess Cruise Line.
We sailed all the way to South America and to four islands on the way back to San Juan. We enjoyed the cruise and the land tours very much! The last night on the ship Hazel slipped on some wet stairs and hurt her lower back. We went to see the ship doctor and were given some pain pills. The next day Hazel's back side was hurting but she would not take any of the pain pills which made a bad day for all of us. We got on the plane home and headed for home. The plane was not full so she had five seats that she could lay down so that made the trip home a little better. Later on we found out that we could sue the Cruise line and get a free cruise and some money but we did not think that we should because we did not think it was the fault of the cruise line. I think we enjoyed this cruise best of all over all the ones we went on during our cruise years. After moving to North Myrtle Beach we joined a senior citizen group called the Nifty Fifties and were able to go on many other cruises.
Bob and Marge Green and Hazel and I went to Hawaii in 1980. We were out to dinner one night and someone suggested that we go to Hawaii which sounded good to us all. After we finished our meal we went directly to the airport to check out a flight and found that a round trip would cost us $500.00 each which did not sound too bad so we went on to Bob and Marge house and called the Sheraton Hotel to check on the price and we could get Sheraton Wikkie Beach. We found that we could get the room for $80.00 a night which did not sound too bad so we booked for 10 nights went back to the airport and booked our flights for the same time and we were set for the trip. Pam,Shannon and Christy went to the airport to see us off early one morning and they watched us get on to the plane. They watched it take off and fly into the western sky. When the plane went out of sight, Christy started to cry. Pam ask what was wrong and Christy said that her grandparents disappeared and she wanted them back. Pam assured here that we would come back in 10 days and that helped her understand so she said that she would wait for us.

We arrived in Honolulu that afternoon and were met by a friend who let us rent a car for the time we were on the Island. Upon checking into the hotel we found out that our reservations were made for the next day and they did not have two good rooms for us and we would have to sleep in rooms with only two single beds. That upset me so I told the clerk that I did not come all the way to Hawaii and not to sleep with my wife the first night. I ask him to put the two beds together and he did.

The rest of the time went really well and we had a wonderful time. We flew to five other Islands and spent time on all of them, we were able to tour all of Honolulu and did most everything that could be done! We bought some pineapples, Macadamia nuts,and Kona coffee to bring back home with us. Pam, Shannon and Christy met us at the airport early that morning and Christy sure was glad to have her grandparents arrive back through the skies just like they had disappeared ten days earlier.  Listen to me tell this story.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Camping Trip with Jr. High Boys to King's Mountain

Pastor Cecil Seagle asked me to plan a camping trip overnight for the junior high boys that attended Mulberry Baptist Church; I told him I would take care of the physical part if he would take care of the spiritual part. He said that would be fine and that the trip was to be Friday morning until Saturday afternoon. Soon afterwards, we had a meeting one Sunday and I informed everyone that we would leave the church Friday at 5:00 a.m. and head to Kings Mountain State Park for all day and night and return late Saturday afternoon.

During planning, Cecil wanted to know why we were leaving so early in the morning. I shared that one thing I learned growing up on a one horse farm is that if you went to work at sunrise and worked until sunset then you were ready for bed at dark and were able to sleep soundly all night.

On the day of the trip, we left Mulberry Baptist Church right on time at 5:00 a.m. and began our trip as we headed to Kings Mountain State Park. All the boys helped to set up camp and then we had a big breakfast of chicken gravy, toast, and orange juice. Afterwards, Pastor Seagle led the morning devotion. Around 10:30 a.m. the boys changed into their swim suites and we all headed to the lake for a morning of swimming; they all played hard until the whistle sounded to head back to camp at noon.

For lunch we had a big meal of baloney and cheese sandwiches that ended with lots of deserts. Pastor Seagle had a Bible study at the campsite that ended with the group going on a short hike before returning to the lake to swimming and play nonstop until the swimming area was closed at 5:00 p.m. We had a big meal of hamburgers and hot dogs with all the trimmings ready for them when they returned. There was one more Bible study that took place around the campfire. After the boys roasted a few marshmallows on the fire it was time for everyone to get ready for bed and get into their sleeping gear. To our surprise it did not take long for things to get quiet and everyone was sleeping soundly! Everyone, even the adults were able to get a good night's sleep and the needed rest after a long intense day.

The adults were up at 6 a.m. on Saturday and prepared a big breakfast of bacon, eggs, grits, toast, coffee, and orange juice. The boys started waking up when the smell of bacon cooking was in the air. The campfire was still burning so Pastor Seagle had the morning devotion around the warm fire. Afterwards, the entire group went to the Kings Mountain National Military Park for a long hike and history lesson. After returning to camp, the boys had a big lunch of sandwiches, chips, drinks, and deserts. They had their final Bible study before heading back to the lake for their final swim. Mid-afternoon, we broke camp and headed back to the church to meet the parents at the planned arrival time of 5 p.m.

It turned out to be a great trip for everyone. Cecil said that this is the first time that he had ever taken a group of boys somewhere that he did not have to stay up most of the night trying to get the boys to quiet down and go to bed.  Listen to me tell this story.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Inspecting Foils and 1976, An Eventful Year

While working at Metro Center, my good friend Bob Greene secured a contract with the Remington Razor Company to put rails on their electric razor foils and needed a way to ship them to Bridgeport CT. He came to me to see if I could make a box so they could be shipped without damage, I did the job for him and they were very happy with the design. Later, after we had worked on this project, Remington came to Bob and wanted come to town to visit and see how the razor foils were being inspected in Charlotte. They had spent $160,000 on a projector that was created to inspect the foils but it was not doing the job they wanted. They were surprised to find that we were using a $1.99 flood lamp to do the job. Bob came back to me to see if I could do the job for them. Hazel and I took on the task of inspecting ten thousand foils and Remington was pleased with the job. They sent another ten thousand to make sure that we could meet their standards. They were more than happy and wanted us to do all of them through Bob. We started out doing five to ten thousand a week for a while and it grew to 40 to 80 thousand a week. We had to get help! Hazel and I could not keep up with the demand so we hired Mildred Bidwick, Becky Cooke, and Libby Ingram to help us part time. We were even big enough to have a company Christmas party. We made this an annual event at Christmas until we moved to the beach. At that point Bob was able to take over the inspections. This was another way God took care of us when I still could not do much work. This is a picture of Hazel inspecting foils in our "state of the art" lab!  Listen to me tell this story.

1976 was one year that Hazel will never forget. At the beginning of the year, Hazel was looking forward on having a normal summer with Mike graduating from West Mecklenburg High School and Glenn Jr. graduating from the University of NC - Charlotte. I was having a terrible time with my back and I sure was not any help around the house. As things sometime happen, there were some changes that came, Glenn and Robin set their wedding date to be shortly after they graduated from college. Later, Joe Greene and Pam started dating and decided to get married before Robin and Glenn and we became grandparents to Joe Jr. on their wedding day. Hazel's brother Larry Gentle had leukemia and God call him home during this eventful year. So with all of the graduations, marriages, and Larry's death all rolled into just a couple months Hazel almost could not handle all of that at one time. We took the events, one at a time and made it through that summer and everything turned out just fine. At the end of the summer, we had one son that was getting ready to go to college, new daughter and son in-laws, and our first grandchild who has brought much joy into our lives.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Barber Shop and Metro (Myers) Street Center

After a few years the work with the school system got to be more than I could do so I looked for other options. I had a chance to open a new barber shop on Moores Chapel Road when Jones Hardware opened. The rent was very low and I thought I could get another barber full time and this would allow me to work as I could. After about a year I could see that this was not working for me.

Gerald Harvey, a good friend I met at Harding High School had taken the job as principal of Metro(Myers Street) Center. He called me and said that one of his teachers had to be gone for four days and asked if would I help him out and be the substitute for the four days. I could not turn my good friend Gerald down so I said yes. I went to work my first day at the Niven’s Center on Nivens Rd. where the older children met. I arrived early and I prepared for the time working with the students. After the buses dropped off the students, they arrived to class. At this time in my life I don’t think I had ever seen retarded children. Here I was with about twenty students and I did not know what to do so I went into the bathroom and prayed telling God to help me get through this day. I was sure I would have to let Gerald get someone else tomorrow since I was unsure if I could make it for even one day. I got through the day and really enjoyed working with the students. In fact, that night I could not sleep because I was looking forward of going back the next day. Gerald wanted to open a vocational class at Metro Center in the old Second Ward School building. He wanted me to come and get it started. The time at Metro Center was the most rewarding time of my life. I had no training working with the mentally retarded children so I did not know that they were not supposed to be able to do a lot of things. I treated them just like anyone else and found out with the right help they could do almost anything I needed them to do. We started out building dog and bird houses. It went so well that we started building small utility buildings and I designed the process so that the students did most of the work. It was not long that, with the right kind of jigs, the students could complete over 99% of the building. I was able to get every one of the children in all of the classes to do some kind of work on the projects. This led to having a basketball team and then sixteen went through driver’s education classes and earned their drivers licenses.  Listen to me tell this story.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Homecoming Men's Beach Trip

When Mulberry Baptist Church had homecoming it was a tradition for the men of the church to go on an overnight trip to the beach. It was the fall of 1983 when they went to Ironside Pier on the coast of North Carolina. The men left at 5:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. The guys included David Goggins, Jim and Ron Medlin, Bob Miller, Jasper Forbes, Joe Randall, Bob Green, Lamar Brock and four other men.

After my back injury and knowing to always to be prepared, just in case I brought an old foam mattress that I had been using on our family camping trips and put it in the back of the bus. We were all looking forward to a great weekend when we left the church and started traveling to the beach. Not too far down the road, on Independence Boulevard, we had to replace a fan belt which was the only mechanical problem we had on the trip.

Just a little time after we had planned, we arrived at the pier at 10:00 p.m. and everyone started fishing. It turned out to be a cold night and seemed to get colder every hour. Around midnight, it became too cold for another guy and me so we went back to the bus and soon both were sleeping. We were sleeping well until around 5 a.m. when Jim Medlin came in to sleep a couple hours. He smelled so bad with stinking old fish and bait odors that we had to get up and try to continue our sleeping while sitting in seats in the very front of the bus. After a couple hours of sleep, Jim got up at 7 a.m. and went back to fishing. However, by that time the bus smelled so bad that no one could stay in it. The men fished until a little after noon and we packed the bus and finished cleaning up before we headed home.

We stopped at a fish place at Snead's Ferry to have our first meal since leaving the church parking lot. It was in an old building and we were the first customer's the day. Since we did not get hotel rooms, none of us had cleaned up too much, what a sight! Poor ol' Joe Randall looked worse than any of us and Jim put him at the back of the table. He slipped over and told the waitress that Joe had mental problems and for her not to get too close to him because he would grab and kiss her. We had a big dinner and a good time of fellowship.When we got back on the bus Joe wanted to know why the waitress would wait on everyone else but him. He had noticed that she would always give his food to one of us and we would pass it to him. Jim finely told Joe what he had done, Joe laughed being a good sport. We had a good trip home. This was the first and last fishing trip I ever went on with those guys.  Listen to me tell this story.

I am reminded of another of the many time we had fun kidding around with the members of our church. This time, John Rogers and I dressed up as a couple coming into the church off the street. It was on a summer evening service in July 1968 and not long after our family had joined the church. The pastor, Tommy Funderburk was caught by surprise after hearing the reaction of the folks there that night. At the start of the service he asked us if we wanted to introduce ourselves and share with the congregation. John and I jumped at the opportunity take him up on his offer and ham is up for the folks. I remember John answering his telephone that was ringing in his bag; this was long before cell phones.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Family Trip to Florida

In 1973, we took a trip to Disney World. We started our trip by leaving home around 8:00 p.m. on a Saturday night. In Atlanta, we found ourselves right in the middle of the traffic so it was difficult to find a gas station in the center of that town that time in the early morning. We finally found one, had a little breakfast, filled up the fuel tank, and headed south down the interstate. We had a new 1972 Ford Van that had five seats and in the back, a place for luggage, and a full size bed so some could sleep while others drove. I drove until we got past Atlanta before Pam took over while I got a little sleep then after a few hours Glenn drove the last leg until we arrived in Orlando, Florida.

We found a hotel with one room big enough for all of us. We had planned to rest up Sunday and go to Disney World for the day on Monday. The hotel clerk told us that we should go on Sunday because on that day we could get to see more because the crowds were less than half they would be on Monday. We all went to bed for a couple hours and we were ready to go to Disney World by 10:00 a.m. when they opened. It was a great day for all of us! We enjoyed everything in the park and by the time it closed, we were ready to go back to the hotel and get some much needed rest and sleep.

The next morning after getting a full night’s rest, we headed for Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. We had a good day there and later in the afternoon we headed for Tampa thinking we would drive until we found just the right place to spend the night. We found out that there were not any motels on the Bee Line Express so we just kept on driving until our gas gauge was almost on empty. We soon found out that the night before there was a big storm and all of the power lines were down and the gas stations could not pump any gas. We just decided to drive until we ran out, just as we were back in central Florida and entering the little town of Kissimmee, there was a station open and we had to coast up to the tank. Boy, were we happy.

We were all worn out and we found a little motel that had a room that we could all fit in and we took it. Hazel and I slept in one bed, Glenn and Mike in the other, and Pam on the floor. That was a good arrangement until Pam woke up and saw a big water bug go across the floor which got her off the floor. I got the plywood and the mattress from the van and put it up on the dresser and two chairs and then we all were finally able to get a good night sleep.

We were up early and had a good breakfast before we on to Tampa. We went to Bush Gardens and then to Clearwater Beach to watch the sun go down over the ocean. After spending the day at the beach we went over to a famous restaurant, The Kapok Tree. After waiting for about an hour we were seated and had a big meal fit for a king and for the big price of about forty dollars plus tip! After spending the night just outside of Tampa we headed home traveling all day. We had taken 8mm movies of our trip. After they were developed we enjoyed watching them but most were of the water we passed while going over bridges that Mike had taken. He said it was so beautiful that he just kept on filming.
  Listen to me tell this story.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Working with Students - Campus Life

One morning as I was walking passed Principal Ken England's office, I saw a young boy sitting inside his door and overheard Ken tell him that this was the last time that he would be able to stay in Harding High. I motion for Mr. England to come out and ask him the boy’s name which was Keith Massey. He shared that Keith was so mean that he was going to have to expel him for the rest of the year. Something told me to take him in my bricklaying class and so he could give that a try. Ken agreed and said that I could have him for one week and I had to keep him all day which was alright with me I said that I would try. The first two days, Keith was very unhappy and would not cooperate at all. I talked with him and ask him to work with me for just one week and at that time if he was not happy I would turn him back over to Mr. England and he would send him home for good. I started working with him and found out that he was very bright and could learn quickly. After two weeks he was able to lay a pretty good brick; I took him out where construction workers were building some apartments near the school and got the foreman to let him try working. I stayed with him all day and at the end of the day the foreman said that he could use him to back up the walls. We agreed on a price to pay Keith and for the next several weeks I would take Keith out to the job as soon as he got to school and bring him back to school just in time to ride the bus home. When school ended, I gave him a full set of mason tools. I told him how good he was and that he could get a job with almost any mason contractor and that I could be a personal reference. Keith did well from that time on and every Christmas he would come by my house and wish us a Merry Christmas. When we moved to the beach I lost contact with him.

While working at Harding High School and going to church at Mulberry Baptist, I got involved in working with Campus Life, a Christian group of teens working for God which led to working with the senior high students at the church. It was a new experience for me and one that I really enjoyed. We would have all of the youth over to our house every Sunday night after church, most of the time we would have about thirty or forty. We would have sandwiches, drinks, popcorn, and other things for the kids to eat. It was a great time of fellowship with other good Christians. This was the time of the hippie movement and was easy for many of the youth to get involved in that lifestyle. With the students able to gather with a good Christian group, it let them to know that there was a better alternative. The Sunday night meetings lasted until the group was so big that we did not have enough room for everyone and had to move to a larger building.

I became a member of the board of directors which meet for breakfast to make plans for the next month. We made plans to take all of the youth to Jekyll Island, GA. for a winter retreat for the week between Christmas and New Years, We had 500 to sign up for the trip and when we tried to make reservations we were turned down by all of the hotels. Each manager said that 500 youth would tear up there hotels, so we put up a $ 5,000.00 deposit to take care of any damages. We took the youth to Jekyll Island and had a great week with not one complaint, after returning to Charlotte we got a big rebate on our hotels charges saying that each of the hotels did not have damages and we could come back any time that we wanted to stay.
The next big trip was to Tacoah Falls, GA. We took about the same number of youth and had a great week of Bible study, preaching, entertainment, and much fun; this trip was trouble free, not one time did we have to discipline someone. Listen to me tell this story.

As time passed, due to my back problems I could no longer be with the students as they met weekly. I had to take a back seat in Campus Life for a while. We had many youth called into full time service for God and many are still in full time service in and around of Charlotte. Working with the youth of Campus Life I learned many thing that helped me to raise my own children, I know that I was never easy on them but tried to let them know that I had much love for them and that I would always be there for them.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Teaching at Harding High School - Part Two

After the first day I started working at Harding High School, I discovered that Frances Crest was a teacher is the same building that I had been assigned my first class. It made me feel good to have someone that I knew at the school. Frances was only a few year younger than me. Her office was just around the corner; she was glad that I was at the school so we started coming to school a little early to sit in her office every morning to talk and have a cup of coffee together. We were also able to go to lunch together; we spent as much time together as we could. She helped me adapt to the jungle that I was in! It was good to sit with her during the teacher meetings so she could translate the school lingo for me and answer my questions about what was going on.
Everything went very well for the first three weeks in the opening of the school year. One day Mrs. Pattie Greth, the School Administrative Secretary, called me into her office because she needed to talk to me. She shared that all of the teachers were talking about Francis and me and were assuming that we were having an affair since we were together so much and it was beginning to cause some trouble among the teachers. I just sat there and then broke out in laughter! Pattie wanted to know what I was laughing about and then I told her that Frances was my brother Howard's oldest daughter. I shared that after her father, my brother died, we had been there for each other. I ask Pattie not to say anything until we had our next teachers meeting and I would take care of this situation. In the next meeting I stood up and told the staff that I wanted to thank each of them for helping me to get started off well at Harding. I told them that there was one teacher that I found to be extra special; one that I had been close to since the first day and that we were together as much as we could. I shared that Frances was my niece and that we had been very close since her father, my brother Howard had died. This took care of that rumor and I never heard anything else about it. No one but Pattie ever mentioned the suspicions.
Garald Harvey, Jim Silvers, Joe Bryant, and I were in D Building together. We all were vocational teachers. One day we were having lunch in my office when Gerald brought in a dozen ears of the best silver queen corn that I think I have ever eaten. As we were eating our fill, Joe ask Gerald what kind of corn it was and indicated that he wanted to grow some the next summer. Gerald did not bat an eye and said it was Iranian sweet corn; Joe wanted to know where he could get some seed. Gerald told Joe that you had to plant the shoots from an existing plant and let it grow for at least one year before it would produce corn. The next day, Gerald brought a big bucket full of big healthy shoots and told Joe to plant them ten inches apart it in his garden. Joe did that, taking the best of care of the plants. He shared with us that the stalks were growing and spreading all over his garden. He was thankful the plants had taken off and was sure he would have enough corn to share with all of us. The second year Joe was telling a friend about his Iranian corn and took him out to his garden to look and see how well it was doing and told him he had so much that he could share some shoots with him at the end of the season. His friend looked at it and told Joe that it was Johnsongrass and that he better start digging it before it took over all of his back yard. Joe had a big laugh with us and Gerald brought Joe a bushel of Silver Queen since his garden did not produce. This is an example of what we did to each other. Each of us could enjoy a good joke even if it was on us. With all that was going on at Harding High School, it took some things like this for us to keep from going insane and loosing our minds.  Listen to me tell this story.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Teaching at Harding High School - Part One

While working at Doug's barber Shop I met Albert and Allen Nance that were building houses on Pawnee Dr. in Watauga Village, a new subdivision off Little Rock Road in Charlotte, NC. This development was near three schools that Pam, Glenn, and Michael would attend. Houses were not selling as fast as they were building them so one day Albert Nance said that they would let me have a house at their cost and would take my house on Barringer Drive as the down payment; this another way that God provided for us. On one Saturday in April, 1968, I went to work at the barber shop. Hazel called me and said that John Rogers, Tom Worthy and several other men were at our house and moving us to our new home and that I should come home to it that evening and I did. The next Sunday we moved our church membership to Mulberry Baptist Church, we remained members there until we moved to North Myrtle Beach, SC. April 1 1985.

Steve Wallens, a friend who worked with the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System in their Math and Science Department, let me know that a brick mason instructor was needed at Harding High School and encouraged me to apply for the position. I completed an application and was interviewed and hired the next day. With one week of training with the instructor that was leaving I had a job of training a bunch of wild kids how to lay bricks and be carpenters. It only took me a few days to learn that these boys needed more than just learning the skills. I got them all in a bunch in the corner of the shop and told them that I was there to help them and if they wanted to learn I would help them but if they decided not to learn, it was their choice and they would have to live with the consequences. This seemed to get their attention and they started to listen to what I had to say. My largest class was the first two periods in the morning and met in the same shop as the industrial arts class. I quickly could tell that the sharing of space was not going to work. I received permission to take the class out on a field trip in my van. I had a friend, Dick Bowers, that was manager of the Hardees on Wilkinson Boulevard that allowed us to meet there. At that time Hardees opened at 11:00 a.m. which was the time the class was over. He let me bring my class over to Hardees every day until it got warm enough for us to work outside.

I ordered 10 yards of sand and 3,000 brick and had them delivered to the school and let them be unloaded in the driveway to the auto shop. Gerald Harvey, the auto mechanics instructor, told me he thought it was not a good idea but I told him to watch and see. We had to move the sand and brick to the back of the school buildings and this took two weeks which kept the boys busy and I could get a little rest from the physical demands of teaching this course. I looked for actual jobs for the students to do as they learned to lay bricks. Marcus Hollbrook had a warehouse that needed a lot of windows bricked up and said that he would pay a good price for us to brick then up. This job kept us busy for quite a while. At first some of the boys did not want to work but when they saw that the workers were getting paid then all of them started working which made for a good class.  Listen to me tell this story.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kids Growing Up

I worked part-time as a barber at Doug’s Barber Shop on Wilkinson Boulevard for awhile but discovered that standing on my feet was not doing me any good. It seemed that the times that I was hurting were the times that everyone wanted haircuts. I pushed myself to continue working but found that I just could not do it anymore. While I was still working at Doug’s Barber Shop, Hazel called me and said that I should rush home. She said that Glenn was cutting the grass and she had sent Mike out to pick up the sticks after Glenn had started mowing the grass. The lawnmower threw a rock and hit Mike in the eye. I rushed home and we took Mike to the eye doctor. The doctor looked into Mike’s eye and said that he had a blood clot in his eye and would have to stay in the hospital for a few days. He could not raise or turn his head until released from the hospital. After being in the hospital for a week we took him home but after a couple of weeks his eye started hurting again. Mike had to return to the hospital and this time with a detached retina. Dr. Kreashone tried to fix it but could not. This left Mike with only one good eye. Through our time in the hospital, Dr. Kreashone discovered what had recently happened to me with the fire department and he knew that we could not pay for all of this. He told us that he would only charge what the insurance would pay and we were once again very thankful. Michael did not remember any pain, but only bits and peices of the experience. Listen to me tell this story.

While living on Barringer Drive, Glenn Jr. who was only eleven years old, wanted to do his part to help the family and said that he would like to deliver the Charlotte News, an evening news paper at that time. He applied for the job and just as God works, the route that started at our house came open and he got the job. The first day he went to the pickup box and put all of the papers in the news bag and started down West Blvd to make his first deliveries. He left with a big bag of papers that was almost as big as he was, I followed him staying far enough behind for him not to be able to see me. I will have to confess that until he reads this in my blog, he did not know that I followed him all the way up Fordham Rd. to Kimberly Rd. then to Remount Rd. and back down West Blvd., Up Barringer Dr. to Brentwood Pl., down Remount Rd., and back down Barringer Dr. until he reached home. He continued being a paperboy for a very long time. He did such a good job that he was named the newspaper carrier for the year and was taken to Fayettville for a celebration and received some awards for his good work. I only followed him the first couple days until I knew that he knew what he was doing. 

Glenn did such a good job that his paper route was expanded and became too large for him to make the deliveries in a timely manner. He was forced to branch out and hired Pam, his sister, to take part of the route that started at our house and went up to Brentwood and lower part of Remount Dr. They both did a great job of helping out. Michael helped Glenn with the paper route too; he inserted the ads and comic sections as well as fold them so it would be easier to make the delivery. Listen to me tell this story.

Long about this time Pam wanted to get her ears pierced and we did not have the money to do that or have her hair cut so I persuaded her to let me cut her hair and the money that we would save would be enough to pay for having her ears pierced. I cut her hair so she would have some of the most beautiful bangs that you had ever saw. However, when she looked at them, she became really mad at me because she did not like them at all. The next day I took her to get her ears pierced but that still did not make her happy about the hair. Her hair eventually grew out but until it did it was a major issue with her.

One day in April, a baby squirrel fell from its nest and we found it in our front yard when it was discovered by a neighborhood cat. We took it in, named it Squeaky, and raised it in our house for the next several weeks. I built a cage for Squeaky, it was little over a foot square and about 3 feet high with a limb in it, so he could climb around. He would eat out of our hands and enjoyed climbing the curtains and sitting on top of them. He made a great pet and we all loved the squirrel. We kept it in the house and played with it until it grew up and we were convinced it would survive in the wild. When we let it outside, Squeaky stayed around for a few days and then disappeared.  Listen to me tell this story.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Workman's Compensation

Shortly after entering barber school I received a letter from the City of Charlotte Treasurer asking me to come to his office to discuss some issues. During the meeting, he shared that the City wanted me to repay them for the Workman's Compensation that I was paid while I worked for the City. I told him that I did not have any money and I could not foresee any time in the near future that I would have the money to repay them. He sent me to see the City Manager who also said that I would have to repay the money. In addition he said that I was to return all of the clothes that the fire department had given me while actively serving on the force. Pointing at my shoes, he stated that he even wanted that pair of two years old shoes and all of the used pants and shirts. He said that the City would work with me by just deducting $125.00 a month from my $250.00 disability retirement check. At this point I got mad and told him that I had a wife and three little children and he was taking away the only way that I had to feed them. I refused to leave and told him that I was going to stay in his office until he told me that he would not take the money from my paycheck. He sharply told me that he had ways to get me out of his office and back on the road. At that point I told him that I had called a reporter from the Charlotte News and shared that I might need him to come down to his office that afternoon. He finely said he would try to work something out but I still would have to return the clothes and shoes, I took off my shoes and placed them on his desk and walked the two blocks back to the barber school which had already closed for the day. On this day I was so glad that I did not have on a pair of Fire Department issued pants. Walking in public in bare feet is one thing, walking in bare feet and boxers is another!

After I left the City I could not keep my health insurance. The City wanted to sever all ties and free them with all other responsible of me. I tried to get some help from Chief Walter Black who I thought up until this time was a good man to help me but all that he said was that his hands were tied and that he could not take sides against the City. He said that their attorneys had taken care of all the legal stuff. He said that he had no say as to how I should be treated.

I called several lawyers and they told me that being retired on disabilities was a new thing for the fire department and that it would cost me more than I could afford. They advised me to take what the city offered and go on with my life. That is just what I did; I turned it all over to God and told him that it was His problem from that point forward. I never had to repay the Workman’s Compensation. Listen as I tell this story.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New Career Opportunities

As time passed and I discovered that I was not going to be able to do the job with Norris Packing Company, Tom Worthy came by to see me about needing to make a change in his career. Tom told me that the job that he currently was doing was hurting his health and that he was going to have to make a change but he did not know what he should do about it. I told him if I were able to work and needed a job, I thought it would be a good thing to start a local delivery service. I knew that the company that John Rogers was working for would have enough overflow business that would get him started. Tom went to see John and he thought it to be a great idea since there was high demand for local delivery services in Charlotte. Neither of us had much money but each of us managed to put in $500 which bought an old truck. Tom was to be the driver with a salary, John was to provide us business, and I was to be the dispatcher. We named the company Jet Express Delivery. Listen as I tell this story.

The business had a slow start and Hazel ended up doing my job. I decided to revert to being a barber which I had done throughout the time I was in the Navy. I also cut hair for many of the firemen while working at the fire department. Doug Brewer, a barber that I had met while living at Morris Field, had a barber shop near the Park-N-Shop #1. He knew that I hadbeen cutting many of the
fireman's hair so he told me that a barber school had opened in Charlotte and if I could attend this school and get my license that he would rent me a chair in his barber shop and I could work anytime that I wanted too.

I went to the barber school and met Mr. Sparks the owner and told him my story and shared about my prior experiences with cutting hair. He said that he needed someone that could help him and that if I would enroll in the school I could help him with the other students and that would pay my way. He shared that anytime that my headaches started and I did not feel like working. I could lie down on a bed that was in the corner of his office.

Eight month later I got my NC Barber License and started to work at Doug's Barber Shop. I also was able to have the telephone line for Jet Express Delivery put in the shop so I could take calls for Jet Express Delivery and cut hair at the same time. This helped Hazel out a little but it was not long that the business grew to need a full time office worker. John and I decided that we would let Margaret, Tom's wife, go to work in that position. By that time we had three trucks, I was unable to work with the company, and John had gotten a promotion and could not work with the company. At this point we let Tom and Margaret take over the business and we remained best friends for life.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Recovery from the Operation

All went pretty well during the operation. I had to lay flat on my back for twenty-one days before I could get up and then for only a few minutes at a time. Before I go any farther I must tell you about the fourth day after the operation. One of the nurses gave me a big glass of something to drink and said that in a little while for me to call her and she would take care of me. As you can imagine, I had to go so quickly I called the nurse. She came in and got a stainless steel bed pan which I think she stored in the freezer and slid it under my warm bottom. I thought I would jump out of bed knowing that was not a possibility but quickly ended up doing something else. All went well the rest of the time. I insisted on keeping the pan under the covers with me from then on. The three weeks went well and on the twenty-first day Dr. Tracy came in and had me to stand up. I stood up with their help and I was doing so well that he could put the body cast on the next day and let me go home in a couple days if all went well and it did. I was told that I could only stand up or lay down for eight months. Listen to me tell this story.

At this time I had a little Rambler Station Wagon that had a front seat that would fold down which enabled me to get home without sitting up. It was about one month before I had to go back to see the doctor. He told me if I did good for the next month, I could get out and ride laying out in the car. He said that I could go to church if I would lie down rather than sitting so I would lie on a pew on the back row at Westover Baptist Church. Pam had started to play the piano in church and played with organist, Jo Ann Caulder.

During the time that I had my injury and being retired from the Charlotte Fire Department, I tried to return to work several times but there was no way that I could hold up more that a few hours; I looked as healthy as a horse but my back was as weak as water. After leaving the fire department I was able to get a job with Shelby, NC based Norris Packing Company. Mr. Bridges needed someone to work the Park-N-Shop store three days a week for and average of three hours a day. Charlie Reed, owner of Park-N-Shop told him about me and my need for a job to provide some additional income for my family. The company furnished me a car to drive and I went to work after one day of training. God took care of me, with the small retirement check that the city gave I could not afford a car and while working with the meat company, I could get all of the meat that we needed. Hazel learned to cook hot dogs, livermush, bacon, and bologna in every way imaginable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Listen to me tell this story.

One day I was driving home from a visit to the doctor and passed a house that had an old bed headboard lying on the sidewalk as I drove by. I thought that the walnut wood would be good to make something. I went back to the house and asked if I could have it and the lady said that she had a dresser and chest of drawers to go with it but she just could not get them to the street for the garbage men to pick up. After looking at them I told her I would like to have them and she was delighted that someone could use the furniture. I called Tom Worthy who had just bought an old pickup truck, he picked up the bed room suit and delivered it to my side porch. I started to work on removing the old finish which took me about a year since I could not work but a few minutes at a time on it. I still have the very old bed room suit and it is still good as new. Pictured here is the bed with a Yo-yo quilt that Hazel made.

Times were so hard that I had to call Wayne Carriker, my oil man, to tell him that I could not pay for any more fuel and that I would heat my house with wood in my fireplace; his reply was that my oil tank would never run empty as long as he had an oil business. At the same time, I had to make a call Pam's piano teacher Mrs. Mildred Gaffney to tell her that Pam would have to drop her piano lessons because I could not pay for them and did not have the means to get Pam to her house; her reply was that as long as she could teach she would give Pam lessons and she would come by our home once a week to teach Pam at no charge. During this time Hazel was keeping young children and doing laundry for their families to help us make ends meet.

I kept having some tension and pain in my back. One morning when I got up, I felt sick so I only drank some tomato juice for breakfast and shortly afterwards I had a terrible headache and was sick on my stomach. This is the first time in my life that I had ever had a bad headache; it was so bad that I thought I was dying. I told Hazel that she should call in some of our close friends because I did not think I was going to make it through the day. Hazel called our closest friends, John and Sue Rogers and Tom and Margaret Worthy. They came and sat with us for the most of the day and things got a little better. These headaches came on at random and there was not anything that I could do to stop them. Later, the doctor told me that they were migraine and that there was not much that could be done to relieve the pain they caused. I took some pills but they did not seem to help. As time went on I learned to live with them; my doctor said that he never heard of anyone dying from a migraine headache. The kids quickly became accustomed to staying out of the den and walking quietly around the room when I was feeling bad since walking through the room caused vibrations that make my headaches much worse. Thankfully the headaches became less and less over the years.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Life as a Fireman - The Injury

Charlotte Fire Station Two was a good place to be during the Shriner and Thanksgiving Parades each fall. The routes started on East Boulevard and went to South Boulevard and then right in front of the fire station. On duty or off, we could bring our families and look out the upstairs window. This made the children feel important since they could be at the station to watch the parade each year and visit their fathers at work.

I took the kids to the fireman's drill tower on East 7th Street where they could see the new firemen being trained to climb ladders and scale up the side of the fire tower. New firemen had to take thirty days of training before they could be assigned to duty. Chief Odis Dowdy was the training officer at this time. There were fourteen men in the class with me when I went through the training. Pam and Glenn still remember seeing me climbing the tower outside as I moved ladders from one floor to the next. 

The times that it was not pleasant being a fireman is when you had to carry someone out of a house that had lost their lives, there were only two times that I had to do that. The first time it was an elderly man and the last time it was a little girl and that is something that I will never forget. Most of the time everything was pretty normal for me until one evening we were at a fire at a dry cleaner on Park Road. There was a shed behind the cleaners that was on fire. We had put out the fire but we had to remove everything from the inside of the shed to make sure that the fire was out. Another fireman and I we were moving an old steam iron out. I slipped, fell backwards, and it fell on me. At the time I did not know that I was injured. We went back to the station and I went to bed that night and thought everything would be alright. The next morning I could hardly get up but managed to get out of bed and went home. I put some heat on my injury all day and it seemed to get a little better. I returned to work that evening, we had a fire down off West Morehead Street and when we I started to roll up the fire hose I could hardly bend over to do it. I told the fireman in charge that I could not roll the hoses; he just said if I could not do the work that I should not be there. When we returned to the station, I told them that I had to go home since I could not do the work required for the job.
I went home and the next day I made an appointment at the Miller Clinic with Dr. Tracy a day later. He did an x-ray of my back and told me that I had messed up my pelvis and three vertebrae and that we would just have to wait and see what was going to happen with it. He sent me home and made me an appointment to see him in one week and told me not to do anything until my next visit. The pain did not ease up at all that week.

When I went to Dr. Tracy's office for my appointment, he told me that I had to have an operation on my back and if I did not I would be unable to walk and could be in a wheel chair. He said that if I did have the operation that he suggested, I still had at least a 25% chance of having to use a cane or crutches to get around. As bad as it was hurting I chose to have the operation; Dr. Tracy set it up for me to go the Charlotte Memorial Hospital and that I would be there for at least three weeks and then therapy for an additional three to four weeks.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Moving to Barringer Drive - Part Two

It has always been interesting in how we moved from one place to another. When living at Jackson Homes we moved twice into two different units as our family grew. One day we went to the Revolution Pool which was Charlotte's first publicly owned and operated swimming pool, located at 1201 Remount Road, for the kids to swim. They took swimming lessons there each summer and the family enjoyed going to the pool as a family outing.

One day on the way home we went down Barringer Drive and just before getting to West Boulevard we saw a little white house up on this hill for sale, 2327 Barringer Drive (if you click on this link, then click on street view and move the yellow man in front of the house you can have a 360 view of this house. We decided that we just had to stop and look at it. It had a large front yard and a much bigger back yard the bordered the Revolution Park acreage. We found that it had a kitchen, dinning area, living room, and three bedrooms. At that time we were living in a small two bedroom duplex at Jackson Homes so this sure was a great find and possible new home for us now that we had five in our family. We called the realtor that same day and were able to take a tour later that afternoon. This is a picture of me after being under the house checking things out. We found that the payments were small enough for us to work into our budget. We paid a small payment and bought the house! After a few days we were able to move in which gave Pam a bedroom to herself, Glenn and Mike shared a bedroom, and Hazel and I had the third one. We were very happy to have our first house.

Not long after moving into to our new home, I saw a need to have a light put in the big back yard so we could spend time there in the evenings. One day I called Bill Campbell who worked for Duke Power and ask him where could I get a old light pole to put out back. He informed me that when a pole was taken down, it had to return it to the company yard unless the person wanted it that lived where it was removed. Bill informed me that the only way I could get one was to pray that one near me would have to be replaced.He kept reminding me that a serious prayer might do the trick! As soon as I hung up and said Lord you know that I want a pole for the backyard and then suddenly I was stopped mid sentence in the prayer because a car coming down Barringer Drive did not make the curve and knocked a pole down in my front yard. The person was not hurt but the car had a good bit of damage. I called Bill back and he said that he would come right over and get the pole for me and put it up in my back yard. So by the end of the day I had a light in our backyard!

Moving here was a start to many memories while the children were growing up.  Listen to me tell this story.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Moving to Barringer Drive - Part One

As the children were growing we realized that we could use some more space in our home so we started looking for a house to purchase. In 1961 we moved from Jackson Homes to 2327 Barringer Drive. We bought a little three bed room house up on a hill with a big back yard that joined Revolution Park. We moved our church membership the first Sunday to Westover Baptist. While at this church we found some of our lifelong friends, John and Sue Rogers, Tom and Margaret Worthy, Sim and Helen Siceloff and many others. We were closer to these three couples than the others and all our children were about the same age. Our families had a lot in common and we would spent much time together. We went on numerous camping trips, cookouts, and vacations with each other and spent many years together as our children grew up.

The kids enjoyed the short trip to the park behind our house and often played there. One day, shortly after we moved, Michael wanted to learn to ride a bicycle. He got on while I held the bicycle up for him and he started down the hill in our backyard heading toward the park. He picked up so much speed that I could not keep up with him so I released my grip but did not say anything to him as he traveled down the gentle slope. He traveled on down through the park but then he looked back and did not see me holding on. He panicked, swerved around, and ended up falling off his bike not too far from the creek that ran through the park. I think this is the time that he found out that he could not trust his father all the time! He was surprised when I showed him the distance he had gone all by himself. Shortly after that he was riding his bike everywhere.

Pam, Glenn, and Mike attended Wilmore School while we lived on Barringer Drive which was one mile from our house. They walked to the school and home each day.  Listen to me tell this story.

John Rogers called me late one afternoon on a day that had been snowing for a couple hours. He asked if I had some extra fire wood that I could share with Sue’s dad. He lived in Smyrna,SC and she did not think that he would have enough to keep him warm through the night, John came over in his old pickup truck and we loaded it full of wood. He wanted me to go with him and I ask him to go by Pat Moser and get him to go with us. We picked up Pat and headed for Sue's dad's home in Smyrna.

Tom, Glenn, Pat, and John

The snow continued and pelted down all the way. We turned off the main highway onto a small road and in a little while John pointed out his mail box and then we turned down a road and went a half mile and backed up to the back porch. Sue was right, they only had one log on the fire and that was the only wood they had. We unloaded the wood on the porch. To get back up the hill and on the main highway, we had to put a pile of concrete blocks we found in the barn. We made it to the highway, unloaded the blocks but still thought we might not be able to make it back home. The snow was about four or five inches deep by this time. We did a lot of praying and arrived home safely around midnight. It continued to snow and by the time everyone woke up in the morning was a beautiful sight and I was thankful to be home with the family. There is something about snow and being together as a family. We discovered that our front yard was excellent for sledding. The kids spent several hours that day with other children in the neighborhood going down the hill on our sled.  Listen to me tell this story.