My World When A Boy Continued
By Bill Shepard
Ah, to live those days over! Go out into the field and lie in the tall broom sage and gaze at the clouds overhead and pretend I saw the things I imagined! The white fluffy clouds changing forms and shapes would challenge the minds of one, as young as I. Far away places I knew of, by seeing their picture or reading their name, was always a challenge that I never hoped to achieve. Not some day or ever!
After Dad bought our first car, a four door T-model Ford, my world grew a little larger. It
embraced Hartsville (14 miles away), Lamar, and Timmonsville. We might have taken in Mont Clare and Mechanicsville, but we didn’t have any kinfolk living in those places.
I enjoyed Sunday when the Sunday dinner was over and the left over food had been placed safely away, and Dad would ask Mama where she wanted to go. Dad got out of the house every day; he went to the big mill, but Sunday after dinner was Mama’s only time to leave the house. Mama was a stay-at-home Mom and she didn’t complain. I think that she and Dad both preferred her to be at home and I know I did!
Everything all put away, the signal to load up would be given and the three Shepard boys would scramble out of the door and head for the car. The first two to arrive would get the two side seats. That meant the last to arrive would have to sit in the middle. That was usually my position anyway, as Mama was always afraid I would fall out of the back door, if I sat on one side.
In the wintertime, that was the best seat anyway and the warmest. That car did not have glass windows that would roll up and down. It had a place for curtains but Dad didn’t buy the curtains when he bought the car. They were not included in the price Dad paid for the car ($20.00).
The roads we traveled in those times were not paved. They were all dirt and full of holes, bumps, debris, chickens, pigs, cows and sometimes, another car but not often. We would go bumping along and in the summer, I liked to look out at the fields of watermelons and wished we could stop and get one.
Of all the places we would visit on Sunday afternoons, I enjoyed visiting my cousins that lived in the country, near Timmonsville. That was where my Mama’s sister lived. Mama had one sister and one brother, but we didn’t visit her brother often. Mama had an aunt, but we didn’t visit her much either.
Uncle Alvin Folsom and his wife Cassie, my mama’s sister, had a large family of boys and girls. When we visited them at their home in the country, we had plenty of boys and girls to spend the afternoon playing with. They had a large farm and a huge sawdust pile that we enjoyed playing on. The sawdust pile was created when the timber was cut and sawed in preparation for building the house that the Folsoms lived in-Ah, the fun and enjoyment those Sunday visits furnished. While the older folk visited, the children would pair off and play. When the evening shadows would begin to creep over the treetops, Dad would announce it was time to begin our ride back home. Dad knew the importance of arriving back home before dark. He never knew if the lights on the old car would work, or how many flat tires we would experience! Tired from all the visiting we had done, we would travel quietly along the bumpy road home, homeward bound. Not even the fields of watermelons would be as inviting, as before. Next Sunday was a week away; no use to think about it now!
While Dad parked the car underneath our shed, Mama would set the table with the food that was left from the dinner meal. Bedtime would come early and the tired family would need no persuading to answer the call. Come morning, Dad would begin another week’s work at the sweatshop and mama would begin her regular routine of household duties. There was always a plenty to do!
The old T-model would rest under the shed and not be started again until the next Saturday or Sunday! Come next Sunday, the Shepards would be on the road again. Mama would have a week to decide where we would go. I would find out next Sunday when Dad would ask, “Mama, who do you want to visit today?”
Next time, Bill
Mr. Shepard is a native of Darlington, S.C., and a current resident of Piedmont, S.C. He is the author of “Mill Town Boy” and “Bruised”. He has been sharing his tales of growing up in Darlington for decades, and we are delighted to share them each week.
His mailing address for cards and letters is: Bill Shepard 324 Sunny Lane, Piedmont, S.C. 29673.