I actually was born on 509 Summit Street and then we moved to 416 High Street and on to Prior Street and then to “The Projects”, 240 Atlanta St R-5 and on W-5. We lived at first by Mr. Earnest Burns, our neighbors, and I stayed with “Mama Watson”, an elderly lady who pierced people’s ears. My sister Betty and Nathaniel were in school at the time, and one day Mama picked me up and the milk bottles were always washed. So, Mama wondered why I was sleeping so much…and came to find out, “Mama Watson” had been giving me” white liquor” to keep me sleep! Mama said, “no wonder those bottles were clean every day! I am getting a lot of this information from my sister Betty Jo, and everybody knows my brother Nathaniel “Tick”, “Tickle Britches”, Montgomery. I was the baby and I remember not so much Summitt Street but I remember fighting Terry Jerrett all the time on High Street. I remember that black dirt and that house you could play under. Seems like everybody had a back porch with a water faucet on the back. We washed in those No. 2 tubs back then and we had wood stoves. I remember Mama warming water and pouring it into those tubs…and yet. My sister and I bathed in the same water. We had “curly hair” back then and used to use “Royal Crown” in our hair and on our faces. Boy, we went to church, “St. Paul” and that “White Holiness Church” on College Avenue. We live at R-5 on Atlanta Street and Mr. J T Shields R-1, Mrs. Alberta Banks R-2, Mr. Harold “Biscuit” Anderson R-3, Mrs. Lula Mae Singleton R-4,and Mr. & Mrs. Freddie & Polly Morton R-6 and eventually Mrs. Beatrice Mchalffey. Across the street Mr. “Foots”& Mrs. Fannie Riley, Mama Bell Hendrix, and Mama Mize (Mr. Jay Lynn Mize’s mother). Snowball used to beat me across the street and I used to beat him back. Fighting was the thing we did a lot of when I lived on Atlanta Street. I was never scared of anybody. I used to go to the store for my Mama and the older guys always wanted to take my mama’s change…but I was not having any of that. I would rather fight than get a whipping from my Mama. I actually think I missed my calling to be a boxer…Smile! The store was where Mr. Gene Bagwell uses to give everybody on Atlanta Street an account, so that when your parents got paid, they would pay him on payday or whatever arrangement they had. We used to go and get the ends of the baloney!!!!Cookies and candy were two for a penny and I think the drinks were a dime. OH yeah, he sold Nehi orange and Grape. We use to put peanuts in the drinks and drink and eat. What about the “Rock & Rolls”, “Mary Jane”, and “Squirrels”? There was a white man that came through the projects, and he sold ice cream and it’s so funny, but we used to call him “The Honky Man” and when we went up to him for ice cream or popsicles, we used to say “I want a Honky!” Boy, what were we thinking?.Calling that man a “Honky” and then asking him, for a “honky.”There is no telling how much our parents paid Mr. Gene Bagwell, he got rich off us. We used to get our clothes from Mr. Jimmie Louis and Mr. Hardy (who bought clothes from south Georgia).I remember my Mama sending me down to Mr. Jimmie Louis and telling him to give me some dress shoes, which they usually cost $2.98, but He told me to go tell my Mama that, I could not wear those $2.98 shoes anymore!!…my feet had grown to larger sizes. We walked just about, everywhere we went. On Atlanta Street, we kids used to follow the water truck that would come through the summertime, and wash the street off. We followed that truck allowing the water to soak us.We also followed the trash trucks and Mama whipped all of us because she had told up not to do it.We used to catch bumble bees, in a mason jar and put clover in there… What about catching “June bugs” and tying a string on them, and letting them fly…There were a lot of “gnats” and “lighting bugs” back then also…” Miss Dot” used to look out that window and tell on all of us. she was the neighborhood watch. Mama Bell used to tell us not to play down in the branch, and I can still hear her say, “Y’all come out from down there!”I remember playing football in the streets, and every now and then, somebody would say “Car coming,” but if we were almost getting a touchdown, we would argue with each other and say “we had the touchdown before the car came too close. We rolled old car tires and I always wanted a “whitewall.” I finally got one and tried to keep that “whitewall” clean. Mama used to whip me for using her detergent and bringing water out of the house. I went to Green Hunter nursery, and one day my sister Lois came to me and said, “He bit me! I said who? I think it was Ken Reid…so I went and bit him back…right there in Nursery school. Nurse Brown use to scare us because we knew we would get shots. Ms. Morrow and Ms. Greenlee (Morehead) was the caregivers at the nursery. We played on the sand box and on the sliding board and those monkey bars.One day Mama was off work but she walked my sister Lois and me to the nursery part of the wa. Wee noticed Mama went back to the house, so instead of going on to nursery, we made that circle and went down the sidewalk behindAtlantaStree.Losss and I were sitting on the back steps playing until somebody, I think Ms.Hargrove told mama we were out there, so Mama politely took us back to nursery school!…We used to shoot marbles, and make bow and arrows, and we called them “flips”…”slingshots.” We didn’t have grass back then, mostly red dirt, and our parents told us to come home from school and take those clothes off. We had school clothes and Sunday “go to meeting” clothes. We used to be “barefooted” in the summer…we used to “thump our toes,” and those “flip flaps” used to always break at the toe because we did our share of running in them…I never had a pair of All-stars back then; I always had a green bottom pair of “Pick andPay” tennis shoes. My favorite clothes Iused to wash at night and dry on the heater to wear the next day for school. I never had a lot of clothes, only “hand-me-downs” and those things from Sears, WT Grant, Mr. Hardy and Mr. Jimmie Louis.Four things I knew I could do well and that was “fight”,play “football”, “baseball/softball” and “run”We had a neighbor that kicked a can all the way to school while up Fair Street and his name was Wayne Huchinson…we called him “Stymie”…I remember CharlesCarrington Jr. telling me to hit Hilton Clark and I did…he started bleeding and I was no longer scared to fight any “Big Boy”… I had a fight with Shawn Turner and my step daddy “Willie Mason” told me…”you either whip him or I’ll whip you, so that day I whipped Shawn”…we have been friends ever since…we actually caught the”Colonial Truck “together and used to ride in the trailer eating fruits and cakes all the way to OceanBoy we were crazy back then. When we first moved to W-5 Atlanta Street, Mrs. Dorothy Turner lived at W-1, Mrs. Pauline Hutchinson W-2, Mrs. Oneida Harrison W-3, Mr. & Mrs. Bullock W-4, and Mr. “Boots”& Mrs. Delma Ware W-5 and eventually Mr. Albert & Mrs. Georgia Williams. Back then, Dean Wells was in the US Army and use to come home and make his brothers and sister scrub the house down clean…we borrowed sugar, flour and anything else from each other back then…We were “Poor,” and we didn’t know it!My almost whole class was on welfare, the rest of them just hid it!….Shame, Shame, Shame on you!…Everybody was on welfare or just too proud to get it. What about that cheese in those USDA boxes…Lord knows…we come a long way… What about listening to”Randy, WLAC, Nashville, Tennessee”? What about the donut man, Mr. Clyde Rakestraw!…we use to love to see him coming!….I had a secret crush on quite a few older girls back then, but I won’t mention them now…I would never get those old Betties off me…and my wife wouldn’t like it…Smile…I am not conceded…just confident…I come from good stock….Smile again!
I intend to write more very soon and I hope I have not alienated people because that is not my intent…I am a lover of the truth and we have to accept truth wherever and whenever and who ever tells is. FACTS ARE ALWAYS FACTS…I always wanted to be a “Butler High Tiger,” but something happened…Browns’s. Board of Education #2…My life took a drastic turn and yes, I hurt a lot of people including my wife of 32 years, I am not proud of it, but as my friend, Mike Morris always say, “It is, what it is!” He’s been along with Jack and James Morris, very good friends of my family and me…I hope I get to attend this year’s reunion and see those people that I don’t know and that have forgotten they know my family and me. Everybody knows Bettyjo, Nathaniel & Linda and Barbara Ann Stephen…maybe this year we will get to know each other. To be continued…….Jade East…etc…GENTS CLUB….
Rev. Earnest MasonCool