This Place That
We Call Home - Part Five By Nat Self
Mom could not sleep well with Dad working all night. The least
noise disturbed her as she lay listening. This began early in
their marriage, so Dad bought a pearl handle .38 special and taught
her to use it during target practice. She kept the loaded six-shooter
in a lamp table drawer near her bed at night while Dad was away.
One night all of us children were in bed asleep. Sometime during
the cold night Mom, who had been awake for no telling how long,
thought she heard a noise at the back of our house. With a nightlight
on in the back room, she tiptoed to the back door with the pistol
in hand. She shouted, “Who’s there, who is it?”
Receiving no response she turned the light out and strained her
eyes looking through a window to see if she could see anyone or
anything. Seeing and hearing nothing, she turned the light on
and shouted again, “Who are you?”
There was no answer. Mom cocked the pistol and cracked opened
the door. She neither saw nor heard anything. Pointing the pistol
skyward, she squeezed the trigger two or three times. Then she
locked the door and went to bed.
During a bright spring cloudless day during 1930, Mom removed two
empty water buckets from the shelf and instructed us to listen to
the phonograph while she went to the well. Placing the buckets on
the floor, she raised the top of the phonograph and positioned a large
round, flat, black, grooved record on the felt turntable. Then she
wound up the turntable spring with an attached crank and lowered the
arm, placing the phonograph needle in the first groove on the record.
Looking at Judy, she instructed her to turn over the record after
the first side had finished playing.
The phonograph began playing “She’ll Be Coming Around
the Mountain When She Comes.” I asked Mom if I could go with
her, and she handed me a small bucket. We walked down the porch steps
with Bulger at our side. Several older boys, who were eight, ten and
twelve years old, were playing baseball on the rough ground in front
of our house. One of them shouted, “Chunk it over the plate!”
When the batter hit the ball, everyone started running in all directions
as I stood there watching. Ed Still, the umpire tried to impress the
others with a big word by shouting, “You’re auto-tomatically
All of the boys started fussing, some saying that the runner wasn’t
out, while others said that he was. One of them threw his glove to
the ground shouting, “I quit. I ain’t a-gonna play eny
|I walked with Mom about 250 feet to the community well. She removed
the wooden plug from the well pipe that protected the water from foreign
matter, and then she lifted the slim three-foot-long well bucket from
a large nail in the weathered well housing.
The bucket was secured to one end of a rope that looped up and over
a pulley attached to the top of the well structure and then secured
to and wound around a solid wooden horizontal barrel that had been
fashioned into a windlass. While the weight of the well bucket lowered
it down the pipe, rope spun off the humming wooden drum with the free-spinning
metal crank becoming a blur. When the well bucket hit water, the windlass
stopped, and the bucket filled with water. Mom drew enough water to
fill her two buckets and mine, and then she hung the well bucket on
the nail and replaced the wooden stopper in the well pipe.
Before we arrived at our front yard with the filled water
buckets, I heard the phonograph playing what sounded like the “Charleston.”
We walked into the front room where Judy and Orlane were trying to
dance. Mom placed her two water buckets on the floor and put her hands
on her hips. In her direct Spartan style she declared, “You
girls stop dancing this minute. That’s the work of the ol’
“Mom,” Judy explained, “we’re
practicing a play that we’re going to put on.”
want to play,” I whined.
“Who pulled your chain little
brother?” Judy snapped. “This is a play of highfalutin’
movie stars, not games.”
| Mom instructed Judy to hold her tongue while she considered whether
or not to allow the dancing to continue. “Very well,”
she replied. “If you’re working on a play for the family
to see, I suppose it’ll be all right.”
Wanting some attention, I pleaded, “I want to hear the “Little
Judy placed the “Little Red Rooster” record on the turntable
and played it for me. Then, she motioned for Orlane and me to follow
her to the front porch. She whispered to us, “We’re going
to put on a play and make some money.” Orlane and I sidled up
closer to hear more. “I’m going to be the movie star in
the play,” Judy explained.
Orlane protested, “I want to be a movie star.”
Judy responded, “No, I’m the oldest one. I’ll be
the movie star.” She led us back into the front room and closed
all the doors. After applying some of Mom’s makeup, she put
on one of Mom’s hats and gave one to Orlane. Then she removed
two pairs of Mom’s dress slippers from the chifforobe and gave
one pair to Orlane. “I’m going to be behind this chifforobe,”
Judy explained as she rolled one side of it away from the wall.
She took Orlane by the arm and led her to where she said was the center
of the stage. “Now you stand right here and be sure to talk
proper when you introduce me,” Judy instructed Orlane.
do I say?” questioned Orlane.
Judy responded. “You say real loud, ‘Here is the most
beautiful movie star in the whole wide world, Mrs. Judy Lumbard.’
I’ll come out from behind the chifforobe, turn on the phonograph,
and do a dance.”
By now I was getting concerned about my part in the play. “What
do I do?” I asked.
Judy had an answer. She took one of Dad’s hats from the chifforobe
and plopped it on my head. “There now, you’re the ticket
seller,” she said.
“I can’t see,” I complained.
Judy crumpled up a sheet of newspaper, stuffed it in the hat, and
placed it back on my head. Tearing two small pieces of paper from
the edge of a newspaper she marked ten cents on one and five cents
on the other one. She handed the two pieces of paper to me saying,
“Here, sell these tickets to Mom. The play is going to start
in a few minutes.”
Mom was busy in the kitchen when I walked in with Dad’s hat
on the back of my head. She looked at me and asked, “Do I know
you young fellow?”
“I’m the ticket seller for
the play,” I answered.
Mom questioned, “What time does the play start?”
I gestured toward the front room and responded, “The play is
ready to start. Here are two tickets for you and Melton.”
I handed the two tickets to her. She took them and read the price
on each one. She washed her hands in the wash pan, gave me fifteen
cents for the tickets, and told me to wake up Melton, who was asleep
in the other front room.
|Patricia Hall Gant is trying
to track down members of the Dora High School Class of 57. If you
are a member or know of a member, please contact Patricia at email@example.com
or call her at 205-648-6397.
Dawgs Now Playing
Summer Baseball Schedule
||Dora High is playing well in early part
of the summer baseball season. They play 24 games this year. Every
date on the schedule is a doubleheader. As of Friday, May 30th, the
Bulldogs have a record of 3 wins and 1 loss. On May 27, they traveled
to Vinemont, they lost the first game 10-9 in 8 innings, and won the
second game 15-0 in 3 innings. On May 29, they traveled to Hanceville,
they won both games by the scores of 5-4 and 8-5, respectively.
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