Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Brother Mark Lee - 1926-1990

As I write about my brother, I am thinking wow, where has time gone? It seems it was only yesterday that Mark and I were playing around the house as brothers only two years apart. Mark was two years older than me. He tried to connect the older brothers not the little new kid but we did have much time together. Just like normal kids we fought played and made up like all young boys do. He would take me out into the woods after dark and make out like he was going to leave me and that scared me. One spring day Mark took me with him to school and I remember I had to do the pee when we were out on the play ground so I relieved myself at the edge of the play area. I don't know why but Mark really got mad at me, not sure if I embarrised him in front of his friends but he yelled at me and told me not do that out in the open. That was quick lesson learned. Mark would not take me back again so I was on my own from that day on. The picture to the right is of Mark and me. He is the taller guy.

I spent all of my time with mother while the others was in school and working and by the time I got started to school Mark was in the third grade and would not have much to do with me. It was not long when the older brothers was leaving home and working to make it on their own that we got much closer to each other and started doing all the job that needed to be done.

A couple times a year mother would give us ten cents each to go to Mr Campbell's house and get a haircut at his house. Our brother George had a set of barber tools and would cut hair for the neighbors and when he left home he left the tool with us. One day mom gave us ten cents each to go get a haircut; Mark came up with the idea that if we cut each other’s hair we could go to Beavers store and get a moon pie and a Pepsi which at that time cost five cents each. It sounded like an excellent idea so we took the clippers and all the other stuff that was in the bag he left and went down in the field across the road and I sat on a stump and he cut my hair and it looked so bad that he would not let me cut his. This is the first time that I learned not to trust my older brother, we went on to Mr. Campbell's house and got my hair fixed which had just one alternative, a buzz cut and Mark’s was cut right.

Everything was all about the same until Mark was 14 and I was 12. J.D., Albert, and Paul left home which left the farming for us to do. This was also the time we sold our best mule which left just one to do our farming. Mark and I attempted to do about as much as when the older brothers were at home. It did not take long that first year to fine out we could not do it all. We were able to stay in school and do all of the work around the farm the best we could which meant some things did not get done as often or had to be left undone.

It was not very long before JD., Albert, and Paul would come home on leave, each time they would bring us a lot of stuff, and would help us out at the farm for the short time they were around. We held on the best we could doing the farm work together. When mark graduated from high school he joined the Navy 1944. He was trained in Quantico, VA. He served on two of the AGC Command Ships. He served four years and had the rank Yeoman 2nd Class.

His leaving to enter service left the farming up to me keep going. I did it for one year and saw that I just could not do all that needed to be done I decided to join the Navy. Mother said that she would sign for me to go in early at the age of 17. At that time, Mother sold all of the old farm equipment since there was no way that farming could be continued. The next year the older boys were getting out of the Navy. J.D. went to live with mother and a little later bought the farm.

Mark got out of the Navy about the same time as I did. Soon afterwards married Margaret Houston and moved to Charlotte and lived in Morris Field. He attended a brick mason school a trade school for veterans. Having two older brick mason brothers, he thought that would be a good trade. I also went to Charlotte and attended the school until I got a full set of tools then left and went back to Statesville to live with Paul for one month and then I moved in with Albert and Pauline.

A little later Mark moved back to Statesville too and wanted to build a little house for Margaret and himself. I had just bought a 1941 Chevrolet and I thought it was the prettiest car on the road. Mark had a old pick up truck. He talked me into our taking our vehicles to Charlotte to sell one and then taking the money and building his house. The old truck would not sell but my shinny pretty car sold and I got much more for it than I paid. We went back home and J.D. said he would let Mark have an acre of land down the road I gave Mark my money to build the house and that was the end of that deal. Mark had a house and I was back to working and still living with Albert.

Mark and I did several jobs for different people; he was a good brick layer and did a lot of contracting around Statesville until he was call to be a preacher. He attended Fruitland Baptist Bible College and started preaching. He was a member of a Baptist Church that had a bus ministry. The deacons and pastor of the church wanted Mark to be in charge of it. He decided to go to a trailer park across the street from where he lived and the first Saturday he went over and told that he would take them to church the next day on Sunday. He drove the bus to the trailer park and picked up the children. When he got to church Sunday morning with that bus load of kids, things just did not look so great for him. That afternoon the deacons had a meeting and he was told that the church decided that it did not need a bus ministry.

Mark was married to Vera Strikeleather and later Elizabeth Garrett. He stayed with his ministry and still did some contracting, until one day he was reading his Bible and just went to sleep and never awoke again. His neighbor found him just sitting in his chair with his Bible on his lap dead.

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