Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Brother Fred Lewis - 1910-1993

Fred was born on September 28, 1910 and was eighteen years old when I was born. Shortly after I was born, he joined the marines on January 16, 1929, trained at Parris Island, SC, and spent eight years in service. He served in China during the Chinese Civil War , in Washington at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and on the USS Wyoming. I can remember his coming home looking great in that uniform with the polished shoes and big brass buttons. He would tell us stories about where had been during his tour of duty. One time it was that he had been to China and I thought that was the greatest thing that had happened.

At the end of his time in service, he married Bona Lee Carter (born 9-19-1919) they had Fred Lewis Jr. (7-20-1937), Barbara ( 6-24-1939), Henry Wayne (8-13-1942), Virginia (10-17-1944), and Brenda (7-16-1952). See family pictures below. They moved to Kannapolis, NC for work since Edna was already living there and working in the mill. Fred did not like working in the mill. He decided to partner with Curt Coley, a brick mason, and started laying brick. Fred became one of the best mason around under the leadership of Curt and they became best of friends. The only thing was that our Dad had taught him to fish and I think he liked that more that laying brick. He would work some and than he would fish some. He always said that when the weather was right for laying brick it also was good for fishing.

Later Fred moved to Charlotte, NC to work for the War Asset Administration, it was a job that he could depend on all thought the winter months. With the old car that Albert had left with us we could drive down to see them from time to time; it was something for Mom and me to drive all the way to Charlotte from Statesville. Fred would always take me on a ride on the Duke Power Bus to the grocery store which cost 5 cents both ways. During this time Fred built me quite a few rabbit boxes and this is where he had the five hunting dogs (beagles) that he was going to give to me but sold them before he left home. He was a great big brother to me.

He moved back to Kannapolis and lived about a couple blocks from Edna. When we went to visit him one afternoon, he and I walked to the movie. While we were watching he bought me 12 chocolate covered Popsicles. The movie was 15 cents and the Popsicles were 5 cents each. Fred liked to hunt about as much as he liked to fish, He and some of his friends would come up to the little farm and hunt for rabbits,birds and squirrel's.He liked hunting, fishing, and resting and then bricklaying. Sometimes he with others would go up to Washington, DC where they could make about three times as much and would work 10-12 hours a day for a few weeks and come back home to fish and hunt till he ran out of money.

As time passed I joined the navy. I remember trying to enroll quickly before my older brothers found out because I did not think they would let me join. Around that time Fred moved back to Statesville bought a
farm not to farm but for hunting and fishing. He still followed the brick trade I think just to make enough money to keep him in hunting and fishing equipment and help feed his family. He would have not been able to do this if he had not had Bona Lee as his faithful wife. His children liked to fish, one time two of them were digging worms behind the barn when Virginia bent down to pick up a worm; Wayne was the digger and he dug right into her head. I remember it being pretty bad. The doctor said that if it would have gone in a little bit futher like as thin as a piece of paper it would have killed her. Virgina thinks God wanted to keep her alive to have a longer life. This is where he was living when I got out of the navy. I went to work at the JC Penney's warehouse and that lasted for one week. I went to work before day break and got out after dark; I could not stand to be inside all day so I went to work with Fred and learned to lay brick. I was trained to lay brick under Fred's leadership and worked with for a while with him.

Fred had an old 1934 Chevy and he would let me borrow it from time to time until I was able to buy my own car. One night I wanted to borrow Fred's car. He and Albert wanted to go fishing down in Hunting Creed in Davie County. I took them down and was to meet them at the drop off at 1 a.m. I arrived on schedule and waited for them until 2 a.m. and they never showed up. I went back home. It turns out they were catching fish and would not leave until 3:30 a.m. When they walked back to where I was to meet them, I had left so they had to walk five - six miles home. They were kind of upset at me, but understood and were not mad at me.

Fred was a great big brother,I owe him a lot for what he did for me. When he would come home on leave from the Marines I thought that he was the greatest that ever was. and he always brought me something. I always loved to get to go visit him wherever he lived I had so much fun with his children. Later Fred married Ethel Crater. Both wives died before he did. I got married, moved to Charlotte, and did not have much contact with Fred and family.

Fred is pictured here with his two sons Freddy and Wayne.

Pictured above are Barbara, Virginia, Brenda, Henry Wayne, Freddy
Fred and Bona Lee. A current picture of the children is below:
Virginia, Barbara, Brenda, Wayne, and Freddy taken on October 1, 2010.

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