JUST A FEW ITEMS OF MY LIFE THAT I REMEMBER ---by GEORGE KLOBE
This is not a life story nor is it intended to be a history of my life - but it's just a few memories.
My earliest of all incidents that I recall, strange as it may seem, is a whipping my mother gave me. I was playing in a sand pile that Father had dumped in our front yard for some reason, and Mother ordered me to get out of the sand. I was scattering it and naturally that was a waste. I failed to obey, so she broke off a small peach limb as she approached. When she swung at my seat, I placed my hand back for protection and the peach limb struck my wrist. It actually brought the blood - just a little of course; but it hurt me so bad to think my Mother would whip the blood out of me, that I cried and didn't stop until she took me on her lap, kissed and cuddled me. It wasn't the whipping that hurt so much but it was the thought that perhaps Mother didnt' love me so much - and that attitude clung throughout my entire life.
Oh, yes, I remember when my brother, Fred (older than I), and I enjoyed playing with stick horses. We used strings and dragged sticks, rocks, and many other things just to be occupied. Often we played that our horses balked and what a time we had. This, of course, came from watching my Father, Uncle, and older brothers working horses of which we had many from time to time. My Uncle Jule (a brother to my mother) frequently made toy wagons, etc., for us. He made one that we used to haul dirt; especially around a pear tree that stood in our front yard, but had the roots exposed, which Mother felt might die. We hauled many a load of dirt to that pear tree.
Oh, yes, I remember so well when I first started to school. We lived some four miles (maybe farther) from school, and my older brothers would take my hands and the way we would go; I made very long steps as my brothers fairly carried me over those hills. I was only four at the time and Miss May Hoskins was my teacher. We still used some of those old-fashioned long benches in school at that time; and I would get sleepy, stretch out on the bench and go to sleep. Miss May would cover me with her large heavy coat - which I always made a point to kick off on the floor as soon as I discovered it. Just what did she think I was to lie there wrapped in a woman's coat?
Oh, yes, I rmember so well the first wedding I can recall. It was Uncle Jule's and the dinner was held at our house. I remember Aunt Zeba (Striler). She looked so pretty in her ruffled dress and white veil. But what really stands out was her going out to a pile of walnuts and feasting on walnut meats. Several of us kids picked out the kernals and kept her supplied.
My second teacher was Miss Fanny Abernathy, the third one was Arthur Morrison. These were my three teachers at the Duggins School. I remember Mr. Morrison best as he played with the pupils more; and, too, I was getting older. Mr. Morrison would climb trees, have the older boys follow and bend them, then all would get off except one. He would get a good hold, then everyone else turned loose. Would that old boy get a ride! Snow-balling was another art that Mr. Morrison enjoyed, usually taking sides against most of the school, and he really did enjoy it. Once a fellow named Rob Collins made a good ice ball and socked Mr. Morrison, who just laughed. But the next day it was Mr. Morrison's turn. You should have heard Rob cuss when that ice-ball connected.
Oh yes, I remember the happy times we spent on old Dry-fork creek swimming and fishing. Those little perch and cat-fish would really keep one busy yanking them out. It took a lot in number to make a mess, but they were wonderful to eat. We spent a lot of time as kids hunting mushrooms, nuts, digging roots, etc. But that was when I was very small.
About 1902, Father bought another farm and we moved to it; some two miles closer to Crosstown and a new school. The Duggins school was one room and only had school about five months each year. At Crosstown, we had a two room school and six to eight months operation each year. Now, Fred and I probably looked like the real backwoods kids that we were, but we felt real proud of ourselves in spite of our looks. Anyway, they started taunting us and we had to fight our way out. When one couldn't handle them, the two of us could. I just don't recall that either of us ever lost a fight.
I remember, being the youngest of six brothers, I got hand-me-downs. Anything I could wear or that could be made over, I got it. I must have looked a lot like a masquerader most of the time. Sometimes I had a shoe of one kind on one foot and another kind on the other. I wore boots to school sometimes - being the only one in school with boots; but I couldn't do it otherwise, so I made the best of it. After a few weeks and several fights, most of the Crosstown kids accepted us as not too bad and we began making friends that were to be wonderful in the future.
I remember, being the youngest boy, I was usually left to help Mother. In plain words, I might just as well have been a girl for I was the assistant dishwasher, garden flunky, and helped with the family washing. Sometimes, when the cistern got low, we would move our kettle tubs and wash-board down by the pond and do our washing. One day I begged my Mother to let me go swimming but she thought the pond was too deep. However, she said for me to take the tub, fill it full of water, take my clothes off and play in the tub. I did but that soon lost its attraction for me. So I got the idea that the tub might serve as a boat and I got it into the pond, climbed into it and was off. Off and under went the tub in about ten feet of water and sank. I kicked and splashed and went under a few times but managed to reach the bank. That was how I learned to swim.
Fred and I would have to go over on the Home place in the spring of the year to cut cornstalks with hoes. Now we had a game called mumble-peg. This game was played with a pocket-knife, the counts were 25, 50, 75, and 100. Now when the game was over, the winner had the privilege of driving a peg with the handle part of the knife. The loser had the choice of taking three licks with them open or five with them (the eyes) shut. I wasn't as good at the game as Fred, so I had to pull the pegs. Like any green kid, I'd say five with them shut. But Fred double-crossed me; he would peek. The result was I would have to bite into the dirt to pull the peg. Oh, yes, I remember it well. On top of the peg-pulling, Fred was always throwing my cap in the creek. One day he placed a rock in the cap and thew it in a deep hole of water. That was the one time I got the best of him. It was time to start home and I struck out - leaving the cap. Now Dad didn't whip often but when he did, you remembered it. Fred chose going back and getting my cap in preference to a flogging from Dad.
At school, I was usually top or near it in my classes. Fred didn't care much about books so he often called on me to help; especially with artithmetic. One day I was slow to explain and it nearly cost me a whipping. I never received a whipping from a teacher. Now, I hated to be teased about girls, so when I didn't help Fred for a few moments, he called me Gertie (a girl I despised). I turned and made a pass at him and Miss Flora, the teacher, caught me in the act. She said we both would have to report to her sister, the teacher in the primary room. I balked, so Fred wouldn't go either. A large boy, John Grimaud, was sent out for a switch. He came back with a sasafrass that really was full of knots and so large that Miss Flo could hardly hold it up. When Fred saw John coming, he ducked out the door and crawled under the porch. When the bell rang for recess, he ducked into the primary room and came back into the other. However, I held to my guns and Miss Flora let me off. She always called me her boy and I didn't like that; but, anyway, being a favorite might have kept me a clean slate as I never came that close again to getting a whipping in school.
Fred and I grew up very close pals and remained so throughout our entire lives. We remembered the bending of trees that Mr. Morrison had taught us, so when Dad sent us out to cut wood or clean fence rows, we also had fun. We would chop the trees nearly off, then I would climb to the top, plat myself among the limbs and Fred would finish cutting it down. He would never climb one. Well, one day I shmmied up a long hickory near a high bank. When it came down the top switched over the bank and I went whirling through the air. That wouldn't have ben so bad - only I made a landing in a black-berry patch. Oh, I remember that so well.
Fred and I did the milking. We thought we should be paid and told Mom so. She made us an offer - a penny a day. We went out and discussed it. Finally we decided; since we wold have to do the milking anyway for nothing, it might be good business to accept the penny a day and we did. Dad offered us all we made off a patch of ground if we cleared it and raised corn on it. So we did. In the fall when we harvested our corn, they (Mom and Dad) talked us into buying a suit of clothes with our money from the sale of the corn. That was how we spent our money. Our parents always had a plan where-by if they paid us for work, they never lost anything.
Many things happened as we grew up. Our family was a poor one but an honest, hard-working one and we never wanted for a job. Everybody was glad to hire us.
Fred whipped me as often as he liked. But when I look back and remember how crazy I was about him, I just can't understand it. The last time we tangled was when we went off to get a load of logs. My older brothers did a lot of logging and Joe had a team that had learned how to roll a log onto a wagon. Once they started, no one could stop them until they felt the chasin slacken. We had four logs on; three bedded, one on top and the fifth one to put on when Fred hooked the chain. He turned the hook down and as it came up, he saw it and yelled stop. But, as I said, no one could stop that team until the chain slacked. Well, the hook jerked off the top log which made Fred mad. He came running up to me to slap me, when I surprised him with a solid one on the jaw that brought him to his knees. He got up and continued with the whipping but something must have told him that fighting was going to get rough and were getting a little to big to keep it up. So that was our last fight. We often had our spats but if someone else said anything about either of us, the two of us were ready to go to bat for each other.
We often played ball together and had some hot old games and plenty of arguements; but, it seems, we made alot of friends by following the game. We were considered pretty good for country lads - all six brothers.