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.