Friday, December 31, 2010

Bell City Public School

My education started in 1950, first grade, Bell City School. Here I met some life long friends that I still stay in touch with. One of my fondest memories is a friend Virgil Hampton. When I started school we were aS poor as old "Jobs" turkey. Virgil and me became the best of friends. He got to go home for lunch as he only lived about two blocks from school. Not long after we started he asked me to go home with him for lunch. Well this sure beat and old brown bag lunch because we didn't have money to eat in the lunch room. His mother would always have a good hot lunch for the kids. Lunches I will never forget. This is also where I met the twins Tim and Jim Bollinger, now the teacher had to cut a little snip of hair from one of them so she could tell them apart. Here I also met Gary Warren, David Dalton, Donnie Wilkerson and Ivan Max Dunn. There were some old girls in our class to. I remember Stephen Peal, Lou Allice Marie Ellsworth, a girl named Winnie Ward and pleanty more.
I didn't do very well in school because I just didn't like it. I received most of my learning after graduating high school where I had a job that required me to correspond with HQ and here I honed my verbal and typing skills. Something that helped me in the military with the MI division.
I remember one spring day I was in the 7th grade. Now back then marbles were pretty poplar but we were't allowed to play "keeps" where the one that won the round got to keep the opponents marbles. Well we got into a game of "keeps" one day with Mr Croy a teacher. Needless to say we got caught. Larry Lancaster, another I can't recall and myself got to go visit Mrs Thompson who very quickly bent us over a desk and applied the old paddle. I don't know what happened to Mr Croy but we never played "keeps" again.
Well I finally made it through the eighth grade and finally to high school. Here is where the fun began.
Here I became running buddies with Carl Neldon, Harold Nichols and Donnie Wilkerson. We were always getting into something. Donnie had an old 1950 Studebaker car that you couldn't keep brakes on Carl had an old 50 model Plymouth that had a rod Knocking, Harold got to drive his parents car and I had an old pair of worn out brogan shoes. But we sure had some times with what we had.
In high school I met and became pals with guys like Milford Cooper, Harold Hunt, Gary Strobel, and the one and only Bob Nesler who deceided to end his education by lighting up in study hall, caused quiet a commotion.
We had an older teacher by the name of Mr Burge that was small in stature and not very strong. He taught science. So naturally Milf, Harold and Gary was always giving him hell. There was an old 50lb weight in the sceince room so Milf or Harold would pick it up and place it on Mr Burges roll call book so he couldn"t call the roll, or would lock him in the storage room where about the end of class they would let him out and explain to him that the lock got stuck which he bought for a long time until the principal caught them and stopped the little prank. Milford came down with a terrible allergy one day and started sneezing, we lost count around 50 sneezes which were mostly manufactured, so Mr Burge would tell Milf to get him a drink to stop the sneezing and Milf would go get him a drink where he would stay and stay and stay finally returning to class. He would sit down and Mr Burge thinking the sneezing was over with would start the lesson, he would say a couple words and Milf would sneeze. This went on for an hour until the bell rang. The science room had some gas valves for expirments and if you turned the gas on and let it out for a few seconds and then fired it up it would cause a big explosion. This was Harold and Gary's favorite thing to do which caused "I think I remember right" Harold to get expelled from school.
I was also in the senior play and had the part of a sheriff in which I had to chase a guy off stage. Well the day of the play we were at the gym and Carl Neldon was lifting weights and one of them fell off the weight bar and right on my big toe. I had to go to the doctor and have a cast put on my foot but still got to chase the guy off stage which was funny to the audience. Also one day while planning the play we needed a laundry basket for a prop so 6 of us went into the principles office and got permission to leave and look for a basket which we never found but the water was sure nice at the lake where we spent the day. We were all loaded up in Joyce Kirby's car. Nice Day THIS WILL BE THE FIRST OF OTHER STORIES ABOUT BCHS

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lester Swindell

I guess I first met Lester back in the late 50's, he ran a little cafe in Bell City. Back then Bell City School had an open campus and everyone got to leave campus and go up town and get their lunch. Back then the old town was booming. At lunch all of the towns cafe's became real busy. Then the people elected some very intelligent people to run the local school and they closed the campus and forced the kids to eat in the school cafeteria. This act helped kill the downtown area of Bell City and caused some of the businesses that depended on this trafic to close. This is one of the worst things to happen to a small town. Anyhere it happens the same results take place. No hustle and bustle and soon no thriving downtown. Well documented. Anyway enough politics.
Lester and Wanda, his wife had the best bologna sandwiches in town, everyone ran up town to get one of these sandwiches which I think at the time cost a dime and a soda for a nickel. This made a good lunch. I know a lot of kids at the time that enjoyed this linch. Lester also had pinball machines a juke box and repaired shoes in the back of the cafe. He also had an afternoon paper route, him and his boys David and Keith would deliver the paper all over town. Lester did whatever he could to make a living in a small dying town.
I guess this is the first place I met Jake Fisher, the same Jake I have written about in another story. Jake would come over to Lesters and order a cup of coffee. He would tell Lester or Wanda to fill his cup full because he didn't use cream. Jake really enjoyed Lesters coffee.
Lester was one of the oldtimers, he wasn't a mean guy but would fight at the drop of a hat. I never witnessed him fighting but from the talk of the older guys most people knew he was pretty tough.
A lot of us that considered Lester an old timer are now getting to that stage of our lives.
Lester and Wanda had three kids, as mentioned before two boys David and Keith. They also had a daughter Sharon who sadly died early in life. This was one of Bell City's older family"s. Not to many left these days.
I only live about 15 miles from Bell City and nowdays I don't know half of the people that live there. NEXT GENERATION PLEASE

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I first met Wesley in about 1960. He was running around Bell City and ing with a girl by the name of Frankie Jackman. Wesleys first name was John so naturally everyone connected him and Frankie to the song Frankie and Johnny and old tune out in the late 50' early 60's. The first time I met him he had had a few to many, par for the course in old Bell City. Well Frankie was a very good looking girl and all the guys were after her so this little romance didn't last long.
Wesley later started going with a girl by the name of Pat Liggett, they eventually got married and had three kids, two girls and a boy.
I started running around with Wes in my senior year of high school. He was about 4 years older than me. We got along good and became the best of friends. Now Wesley was the town hotrodder. One time he got pretty juiced up and was comming back in to town real fast and lost control of his 1956 Ford. A beautiful two door hardtop I think it was red and black, anyway he wrapped it around a tree at the edge of town. Luckily I wasn't in the car or I would have surely been killed because when it hit the tree it spun around the tree a few times, it hit directly behind the right front tire.
Another time we were out partying and Wes liked to get in the gravel and do a few do-nuts. Well this time he did one to many and ran off in the ditch alongside the road. He walked back up to Square Morse's little country liquor store and got Herb Hoover to pull him out of the ditch. Herb went down and hooked onto Wes's car and pulled him out, unhooked the chain and started to leave. Wes got into his car made a few more do-nuts right off in the ditch on the other side of the road. Well this made Herb mad so he just drove off and left him in the ditch.
Another time Wes was juiced and in town showing off. Squealing his tires and hotrodding all over town. Well Max Bollinger a local business man was up on top of his store rapairing his roof when Wesley drove by his store, Max, already mad threw the wet tar mop on top of Wesleys car. Well this made Wesley mad and he stopped and motioned for Max to come down off the roof. So here came Max and he met Wes's right fist and I think the law locked Wes up at that time.
One time I was out having fun in my first car a 1952 Buick Dyna-Flo 2 door hard-top. A pretty car but not one for a teenager and the transmission didn't last long. I got stuck between two hills west of Bell City and had to walk home. So the next day I asked Wes to go out and pull me into town. We get out there and hooked the chain to the cars and he started to pull me. Now Wes had a 1962 Ford 390, 4 speed so naturally he had to show out. He would get over in the loose gravel and floor his car and throw rocks all over my car. When we got to Bell City all the lights and the windshield were broke. Wes didn't give a damn we just loaded in his car and went to Perkins and started partying.
One Saturday Wesley, big Red Cody and myself left Bell City and went over to Sikeston to see Wes's cousin Frank Wright. We stopped at a very fancy tavery called Wagon Wheel. We had a few and Wes and myself decieded to go to Franks house. Cody said he would stay there. We got in Wes's car and started to back out of the tavern and into the side of a big black fellows car. Well this other guy got scared and took off one direction and we took off the other. Now the city of Sikeston had been doing some sewer work and had dug a trench across one of the streets we were going down. We hit this trench and the beer bottles broke the windshield and the front tires each went in a different direction. So we had to walk back up to the tavern where we left Cody who gave us one of the worse cussings a man could give, I got my brother in law to take us back to Bell City.
Later I moved to St Louis and had an appartment and a job there. Well Wes and Pat had a falling out and he came to St Louis and stayed with me for a while. Then another friend Gary Bright came and stayed with us and got a job with Western Electric. We would work in the day and party at night. One day Wes got off work early and was already drunk by the time Gary and me got home. He was passsed out on the couch. Now there was an old small gas stove pretty close to the couch so Gary and me decieded to light the thing and warm Wesley up. So we lit the stove and left to eat supper and do our daily rounds. This was in the middle of the summer. When we came home Wesley gave us the damndest talking to I ever had.
One other thing about Wesley, he could eat more chicken than anyone I have ever seen. He would have chicken noodle soup for breakfast, chicken pot pie for lunch and fried chicken for supper. He loved his chicken.
Sadly, we lost Gary many years ago and just this past year Wes died. So I am the only one left to tell this story. We sure had a good time one summer in the mid 60's. So guys if it is possible for you to know about this story I hope I have told it right. Miss you guys. Curt

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Jake Fisher, an old man that lived just outside of Bell City with his brother George. Just two old batchlors.
I first met Jake when I was in grade school, he had a little building you could not walk into that he called a store. He had cigaretts, some old canned goods, candy and the bread truck would stop at his place everyday as he would get a loaf of bread for some of the people around his store. His store was about 100 feet from my grandpa's house and he would get him a loaf of bread when he needed one. I must have been in the 5th-6th grade of school at the time I met him. We still lived out on the farm.
I remember that Jake was very superstitious and if a black cat crossed his path he would walk a mile around his normal route or would turn his cap around backwards. Now this would ward off all evil, he believed. So if he saw a black cat he would stop and ponder what to do. Then he would choose his route.
We moved to Bell City in 1958 and Mom and Dad bought a house across the street from my grandpa which made us about 100 feet from his store. As kids we would buy candy from Jake when we could muster up a nickel. As time went on us boys started to buy tobacco from him and go up in the rocks and smoke. Now some of this tobacco was years old and very strong and would make us light headed and sick but it didn't stop us. About this time we started to agrivate Jake. We would smoke and then we would start to throw rocks down on top of his building. We were mean little bastards.
Jake would also skin coons for some of the coon hunters in the area. I can remember walking by Jakes and seeing 20 or more coons laid out on the ground for him to skin. One of the hunters was a guy by the name of Charles Drew. Him and Jake really became good friends. One time Charles told Jake to get him a loaf of bread off the truck that day and he would come by and pick it up that afternoon. Well this made Jake happy for he knew he would make a nickel that day. So when Charles came to pick up his loaf of bread he thought he would have some fun with Jake so he handed him a $20.00 bill for the 10 cent loaf of bread. Jake looked at him and said SHI? yu ain't pulling that crap on me. He told Charles to go over in town and get some change and bring him his 10 cents. Charles said I'll take the bread and bring you your money back, well Jake said Hell No you go get the change then come back. Finally they agreed on something and Jake got his 10 cents and Charles got his bread.
Jake would ease over into town some days for a cup of coffee. He would always order the coffee black and tell whoever was waiting on him to fill the cup up because he didn't use cream.
In the 50's and 60's before they took out the railroad depot Jake would stay downtown on Saturday night and sometimes he would have a beer. On some occasions he would walk up to the depot and lay down on the bench they had for the passengers to sit on while waiting on the next train. Now Jake always carried his money in a tobacco sack in his bib overalls. Jake knew if he laid down on the bench on his back someone would rob him so he laid down on his stomach and went to sleep. Enter another young thug-a-bout by the name of Bill Bollinger. Bill knew Jake was at the depot sleeping and went to check him out, sure enough there was Jake all stretched out on the depot bench only face down in a deep sleep. So Bill went and got some razor blades and eased back up to the depot and crawled under the bench where Jake was sleeping. He took a razor blade and very gently sliced Jakes overall pocket and got all of Jakes money and went to Crowder partying. When Jake woke up and realized what had happened he knew exactly who got his money and a few days later him and Bill met face to face and Jake let him know he knew what had happened. So a little later Bill got up in the rocks and was throwing rocks down on Jakes store and snorting at him, which he hated. So Jake reached in the old store building and out came his 12 gauge shotgun. He peppered the hell out of Bill. After that Bill pretty much left Jake alone.
Jake died when I was in the Army. We as kids really aggraviated him but as we grew older we got to see a side of Jake that made us regret the things we did to him.
Now Jake was a very poor man, he didn't have any money other than a few coins to his name. I have been told that after Jake died his old friend Charles Drew knowing Jake was more or less a pauper went and bought a real nice grave monument for Jakes grave.
Yes Jake was one of a kind and one of Bell City's best old timers. There aren't any of those old timers left. Just memories of a day gone by.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bell City"s Herb Hoover

I guess I met Herb when I was about 13 years old. At this young age we lived in the hills west of Bell City on an old hill farm. My cousin Gerald Whittley a neighbor's boys, the Flannigans of which one later became my brother in law would all get togather and usually walk to Bell City. The old Bell City pool hall/cafe is where I met Herbie. Now Herb was a dandy, at this time he had I think 6 kids below the age of 10. Herb had an old 2 ton truck that he would hall grain, move furniture, hall wood and in the summer he would round up a crew of hay haulers. Most days on the hay truck you could make around 10 bucks. Now this was a lot more than you could make chopping cotton or beans for they only paid 5 dollars for 10 hours work.
I remember one time we were in the hay field and a boy by the name of Dale McCulley caught a big black snake after lifting a bale of hay. He was chasing everyone in the hay field with this dam snake. Now Herb didn't think this was funny because he wanted to get the hay hauled, so he got onto Dale/wine his nickname. Now Dale had already been in trouble with the law and wasn't too shook up over Herbs fatherly ways, so he caught Herb not really paying attention and threw the snake in the cab with Herb. Ths caused real havoc because the truck was about half loaded and Herb jumped out of the truck and the truck hit a small ditch and dumped all the hay. This really pissed Herb off and he fired Dale and made him walk back to town. But the next day he was back out on the truck.
Another time we were hauling for the Jennings boys, three batchlors that had cattle and raised hogs. Now around their barn was a lot of wet corn cobs so naturally when we went to the barn to unload, a corn cob fight would start. Well Herb got mad again and started raising hell about this. So one of my classmates at the time Virgil Hampton was on one side of the truck and Herb was on the other. Virgil said watch this, he pitched a good wet and cow manured corn cob up over the load of hay and then yelled for Herb. Now Herb thought Virgil was on the top of the load of hay so he looked up just in time to get the full load of cow manure and vet cob. Now this started a hell of a round and Virgil got fired that day and had to walk back to town but was back out in the hay field the next.
I also remember the summer nights in Bell city. We would all gather down town for a few hours and it would usually end up in a giant water fight. It was always a great time in the early 60's in the old town of Bell City. I went into the Army in 1967 and while I was gone I was told that Herb had got hit in the leg by one of his hogs which caused a bad spot to develop and it turned out to be cancer. He didn't last to long after that. As I stated Herbie was a DANDY.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 1955

I was 11 years old in 1955, Mom and dad had bought an old hill farm about 4 miles northwest of Bell City. It wasn't much of a farm, mostly run down. The old house had seen better days many years before they bought it. There was an old water well by the house where rain water was caught and guttered into the well for drinking and cooking and other uses. Now the old house didn't have a good wall in it. When it snowed we would wake up with snow on the bed, the floors had big cracks in between the boards and if you looked down through the cracks you could see the chickens walking around under the house. We had a few head of cattle and most days as we would come home from school we would have to get off the school bus and drive the cows home for they would get out of the pasture. They, like us I guess was looking for a better life and more to eat. I had one old Jersey cow to milk as my job everyday. One day in the cold winter the old cow had been in some water and cockle-burs. The burs had stuck to her tail and the water had frozen to the end of her tail. Now you ain't never been assualted until you have been hit up side the head with a frozen cocklebured cow tail. This really hurt as I was already cold and mad at the cow for having to milked.
In the fall of 1955 around Thanksgiving my dad had purchased 2 fields of cotton from another farmer that didn't want to mess with getting it out. The two patches were not much, both would not have made one good patch. I don't know what kind of deal they made but I am sure My dad was probably drinking at the time and got the raw end of the deal. He could make some pretty bad deals sometime.
On Thanksgiving day of 1955, I am sure the year is right. It was so cold and the wind blowing, it was miserable. So, my dad deceided we needed to pull bowles on this day. Now if anyone don't know what pulling bowles is. After most of the cotton has been picked some of the bowles will crack open and there is a lot of cotton still in the field. Being poor and winter comming on strong this was a way to make a little grocery and Christmas money.
As I stated this was the coldest day of the year so far. I remember mom stayed home that day and had to take care of a little sister that when born my brother wanted to get rid of. He wanted to throw her in a pond we had on the farm. Anyway, the wind was so sharp and at the time we did not have the clothes they have now days. We liked to have froze. Fingers and toes were beet red when finally about 3 oclock dad finally said lets go to the house. Mom had fixed the biggest pot of chicken and dumplings, pies, dressing and all the other trimmings. It wasn't turkey but it is the most memorable Thanksgiving of all. To all that read this have a very blessed Thanksgiving and enjoy family.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

CAL HOOVER-An old friend of the 50's-60's

Cal was an old man that hung around town, mostly the old pool hall where we would all gather for hours at a time. As I mentioned in one of my other stories Cal loved to play pool with MIllie Tropf. You could hear him for a block yelling for Millie (creepy) to shoot. Then he would laugh and holler when she missed the shot. Now Cal didn't have any teeth, so we all called him smooth mouth or Colgate. Cal didt't like this or he acted like he didn't. On another occasion a chain saw was stolen I think from the Pike township. Someone, just kidding said that Cal was the one that took the saw. He really got mad about that statement. So naturally all of us regulars that hung around the pool hall started calling him chain-saw. We would make him so mad he would jump in his old car and speed out of town over the old Bell City hill. Now he wouldn't stay mad long and before you knew it he would be back for more. One day I had been agraviting him and he got to chasing me. He could really run for an old man, but I could out run him. On this day he stopped just before I started across the railroad tracks that ran behind the pool hall and picked up a big rock that must have weighed a good 1/2 pound. He whizzed that damn thing at me and barely missed my head. If it had hit me it would probably killed me. But this didn't stop the aggraviting. I just stopped and yelled back at him to go get his chain saw and go cut a spear and see if he could do any better with it than a rock. Now if cal came to town and no one started on him he would start on someone. Cal and Sadie had good hearts because an old man by the name of Archie Stroud would come to Bell City and without a place to stay Cal and Sadie would put him up for days at a time. A story about Archie will be in the future.
These were days when not many dollars were floating around and this is how we amussed ourselves. It was all good fun for us at the time.
A few years later Cal died and I was honored to be asked to be one of his paul bearers along with 5 others that were all a part of the old pool hall crowd.
Cal had a son named Herb. Herb had a whole house full of kids and lived in a house that didn't have running water as a lot of us didn't have at the time. Now Herb was a dandy to say the least. Which calls for another story.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What Has Happened to The America I Fought For

To all the people of the good old USA. What has happened to America, What has happened to the politicians, what has happened to the morality of the churches, have they forgot to read their Bibles. We are sitting back and letting the America we knew just a few decades ago slip from our kids' future. They will be in a few short decades wearing a towel around their heads. They will be bowing to a false savior. A lot of so-called christians put on their Sunday best and go to the churches and tell each other how damn good they are, yet will not stand up for the one that gives us everything. The politicians will not step in and stop the ACLU from stopping people that want to pray from doing so. They take Abdul's side. Stop whatever is going on so he can bend down and smell the guys ass in front of him in the name of some religon. They let the liberals teach kindergarteners that it is ok to have two Bob's or two Betty's {no offense with the names} as parents and hug and kiss in front of them, do the same things a real mom and dad do. All in the name of equality and not offending anyone. Well folks it is not right, God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. So wake up before it is to late. If you go to church let it be known that America as we know it is worth more than a tax exemption. I get so tired seeing on TV this gay rights Bu-lS--t. And what about the black panthers. If a white person got out in the middle of the street and said go kill some N's kill some N's babies it would be hate speach as it should. Why is it not the same on the other hand. Why is this idiot not being prosecuted, because of the grease head Al Sharpton, or the blackmailing Jesse Jackson or the fruitcake Louis Farakan,also a towelhead. Wakeup America it is almost to late. We must start protecting our own way of life or live as the others will make us.

Monday, July 19, 2010


After a year of surviving in the jungles of Viet Nam, living with the rats the size of possums, leaches sticking on you and the constant use of malaria pills and salt pills to survive trying to keep from being one more sent home in a body bag and becoming another target for "charlie", I was getting ready to go back to the world. I got all my stuff ready to DEROS, done all the out-processing, de-brefings, got all paperwork and my new orders for home. I just had one final most important thing to do, I had to go say good-by to Bitch. One of the hardest things I have ever done. I finally got through it and started the long journey home. First to Hue then a C-130 to Cam Rahn Bay for three days, then the freedom bird for the world. We had a pretty good flight home and finally landed in Seattle-Tacoma Washington. I dont know how the pilot landed the plane with all the cheering and yelling. We got off the pland and on a bus for Ft Lewis for our in-processing so we could get home. What a rude awakening on the bus ride to the Ft. Some hippies were lined up just outside the fence and we thought they were welcoming us home, but we had a rude awakening, they started yelling baby killers, spitting toward the bus, giving us the middle finger. Our spirits just sort of dropped. We went on into the Ft for our processing and a big steak, our first in a year. Then for our lecture from one of the in-processing personnel. Troops for your own safety and the Military's, we are advising you to not wear your Military Uniform in public as you are now back in a different world than you left. What the hell did this mean, we just spent a year, some more, living everday facing death and destruction and now we are not welcome back in the country we had just fought for. Some of us thought he was just blowing it out of what it really was. So some of us wore our uniforms, we were proud, it didn't take long for reality to hit us like an incomming mortar. We weren't welcome home. And it wasn't just the hippies. The American public rejected us as some kinda monsters. The people didnt really know how to treat us MONSTERS. So most didn't even try. It took years for the American public to finally start accepting us as anything but damaged. But the truth is we were all damaged by the War and our WELCOME HOME. It took years for some of us to sober up and become good citizens. Never again do I wish our government to send our troops in combat and then turn their back on them when they return. Some of us are scared for life. Some have already died not ever feeling WELCOME HOME. Some are so messed up even today they cannot bring themselves to ask for help. It has been 40 years for me and I still have very vivid memories. For those that have never been there in any kind of combat it is very scary but it is also something that gets the adrenlien pumping so high you just do things you never thought you could do or would do. You will never get that kind of feeling anywhere else but on the battlefield, or while under an attack. To all those Viet Nam Veterans that read this I say from my inner soul. WELCOME HOME AND MAY GOD BLESS

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Old Bell City Pool Hall

My first visit to the Old pool hall was in 1949 where I ate my first hamburger that I remember. Dad and mom had bought an old hill farm just out of Bell City and we were moving to it from Commerce Mo. I was with dad and we stopped for a burger. Little did I know that this would be a big part of my life, for later as I was gorwing up I would go to the pool hall every chance I got, I learned to shoot pool and snooker and got to be fairly good at it. Harl Tropf owned it for the first few years I went there. He added a garage on the side of it for his new Mercury car. I thought this car was really neat. His son Leamond and wife Millie later took over. But before doing so he turned the garage part of the building into a tee-town, dance hall for the kids where I learned to do the jitter-bug. I can still remember hitting the floor to the sound of Rockin Robin. I was about 12-13 years old at this time. The back room was the pool hall where there was 2 regular pool tables and one snooker table. We had some great times in this old building. As a young juvinile with many others we were all looking for ways to kill time and get into meaness. There was a couple old fellows thatlived just outside of town in an old house with a tin roof on it. Now these tow brothers were Jake and George Fisher. Sometimes at night in the summer after the pool hall closed and nothing was happening some of us guys would go up over the hill to Jake and Georges house they lived on a road that had lots of gravel on it with good sized rocks. Around 10 or 11 oclock after they went to bed we would rock their house. When the first big rock hit that tin all hell would bread loose. Out would come one of the brothers with a shotgun yelling I'll kill you bastards. Lucky for us no one ever got hurt but as I look back I sure dont blame them. Now George had an old team and wagon that he came to town in. We would see him comming and get ready for some fun. Now George had to cross the rail road tracks to get to the grocery store of post office. When he got on top of the tracks one of us in the pool hall would yell wooooa and te old mules would stop right on the railroad. George would start cussing and raising hell. We would finally keep quiet and he would come on int town where he tied up his mules. He would pull up to his parking spot and get down from the wagon at this time someone from our gang would yell getup and the old mules would start to walking off and George would start cussing and yelling for the mules to stop. We would wait for him to start to get back up into the wagon and someone would yell getup, this just made him madder but as young bucks we didn't care we were just having fun. Now Jake his brother had a small store on the wrong side of town, but this is another story. Hope you enjoy

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Water Jug

It was the summer of 1956 and my dad had rented some ground from Slim Limbaugh down on section 14 south of Bell City. Now this old ground was gumbo. For those that don't know what gumbo is, it is black clay like ground that when it gets wet sticks to anything. Well it was a very hot time of summer and we were chopping cotton as most people in our area and economic world had to do to survive. One day we were at least a 1/4 mile from the old pitcher pump and the water jug was empty. Well dad had my little brother Pete takgallon jug to the pump to get us a cool drink of water. Now the ground was flat and we could see Pete all the way to the pump and back. It was so hot the grasshoppers were riding double to conserve energy. Well Pete gets to the pump and pumps it off as directed by dad, this makes the water get cool. He fills the jug and starts back to where we were chopping. Now he is only 10 years old and a gallon of water gets pretty heavy walking in plowed ground and 100 degree heat. He gets tired and deceides to roll the jug. Not having the big mouth gallon jug lid on real tight a little water seeps out from around the lid. The further he rolls the jug the more gumbo sticks to it. Finally when he gets the jug back to where we were chopping he was a muddy mess and the jug was as big as he was. This got us a much needed break from the heat as we all got to go to the pump where a big shade tree and an old red barn were. We stayed until we got cooled off and rested. As we rested a dark cloud began to form over the hill about where the Kitty litter plant is located now. We went back to chopping after our break and the cloud got darker and darker. Now dad had this old woman hired to help us, and she weighed about 225 and stood about 4'5". Someone looked over at the cloud and yelled it looks like a tornado was hanging down. Everyone threw down their cotton hoes and started to run for the barn. We all made it pretty quick "save one" this old woman was trying get to the barn as fast as her short legs would allow her. Some of the older ones was yelling that the storm was about on her and she fell down. I still remember her trying to get up. Damnedest sight I think I have ever seen. She finally made it to the barn but never came back to cotton patch with us. I dont think she ever picked a hoe after that.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Great Watermellon Bust

One night in Bell City in the heat of summer about 1963 some of us young guys were having a water fight and having a good time. We finally tired and couldn't figure out anything to do. One of the guys said it would be nice to have a watermellon. Another said he knew where some was. The local barber Bill Fisher had 8 or 10 piled up in his front yard. His son and a nephew were in our little pack. Also two brothers Ray and Gene Sicism along with Jimmy Griffin and Ivan Griffin no relation. So here we go sneaking up to Fishers place and got all of his watermellons where we took them down to the local lovers hangout, an old oak tree at the edge of town. There we eat all the watermellon we could hold then proceeded to have a watermellon fight with the rest. We looked like we had been drug through the local dump. We finally went home for the night. A couple days later the news was going around town that if Bill didn't get paid for the mellons or get them back he was going to have all of us arrested. We met that night and deceided we needed to do something to stop him from going to the police. Return the mellons was the only thing we could think of, but all of us were broke and did not have the money to buy the mellons. Then a great idea hit me as we were trying to figure out how to get the mellons to return. I had a cousin in Vanduser that had a watermellon patch, mabe we could get them from him and pay him later. Se here we go to Vanduser and to Jesse and Violets Whittley's home to see what we could do. Well Jesse told us after hearing our story to go to his patch and get all the watermellons we wanted.So we got enough to return Fishers and had another watermellon bust. This kind of juvinile thing went on all the time in and around Bell City. We never forgot the time Jesse got us ot of trouble. He also had a good laugh about it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


This is a true story about a dog named Bitch that was my closest companion in VietNam. It all started in May 1969. I had just arrived in Viet Nam and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. A cherry boy as the new ones were called. Hamburger Hill was being fought at the time. I was not involved with the front line operations but later got to see the top of the hill, as we flew over it. What a sight. I was getting settled into my new home adnd getting to know the guys, and naturally they were giving me hell as the NG "new guy". I had been in country about 60 days when a guy named Hollenbeck came in the "houch' barracks with a little pup. She was skinny and weak. No one knew what to call her and as she got stronger she became rambunctous and a normal puppy. She grew quickly and I named her Bitch. She would sleep on the end of my cot, and I would bring her food from the mess hall. She and I grew into pals. Her hearing and sinceing of danger were very good. She could since when were going to be attacked. One night she woke me up barking and pulling on me, I knew something was about to happen and sure enought we got hit and one rocket hit where I had just been. She saved my life. She would always alert me and the others when something was about to happen. About this time I received my last letter from my "faithful wife" which was very hard, being where I was, we were getting hit at least 3 times a week. Bitch would sit on my bunk and listen to me talk about the things I could not change being 10,000 miles from home. She became my counsler and my greatest ally. As I cried and drank as much as I could to forget the things back home she listened and licked away the tears. As time passed things got better and my company was reassigned to the north, just south of the DMZ. We got packed and ready to leave and went to the airport to get on the military plane. I had Bitch on a leash and we were getting on the plane when and Air Force sergeant in charge of the crew stopped me and said there was no Fn dog was getting on his plane. As I tried to explain my situation and she was my pet, things esculated into a shouting match because I had as much rank as he did, finally I told him what he could do with his Fn plane and Bitch and me returned to our old company area that was already empty. The next day I got a large cardboard box and put Bitch in it and made some air holes and put food in it for her. We finally made it up to HUE and to our new home. This was around the first part of 1970. We had a pretty easy life up north and didn't get hit as much as in the south. As was scheduled to DEROS back to the world I began to get paperwork ready for Bitch to come home with me. About two weeks before we were to leave Bitch got run over by a duce and a half and killed. The driver knowing she was my dog and comming home with me stopped and buried her. She was my friend in a time when friends were really needed. I have some pictures of her and will share them with you on FB. I will always miss her and the friendship we shared in a place most would like to forget. She was a beauty. Bitch this story is for you as I always said I'd tell our story someday. Love you girl.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Three Young Hoodlums

This could be a true or untrue story. Only those involved will know the truth.
It all started in 1965 when three young men were not very industerious and a little on the wild side. These three would lay around all day and run all night drinking, partying, and raising hell. They were not working at the time, and would get their running gas from the railroad trucks that filled up there trucks and left them sitting in Bell City overnight. They got very good with an Arkansas credit card. The cash they could put togather was used for six packs and spent on girls. This went on for most of the winter and summer of the following year. These guys I will call Curt, Frankie and Donald. One night in 1966 after filling up with gas and purchasing the necessary beverages they were driving around and looking for the necessary female companions, being unable to locate any they hit upon the idea of becoming a little more brazen in their unlawful actions. One of the three said he knew of an old country store that would be easy to get into and get a few cigarettes and a couple bucks for drinks. So these three rode around all night discussing the actions they were about to take. They cased the place for hours becoming more sober as the night wore off the booze, finally as the sun came up they went home to sleep off the nights party. The incident was forgotten at the time, but a few days later on a night when nothing was going on the three after drinking up all the cash they could muster togather they deceided to follow through with their criminal act. They drove to the old store, drove up and down the road discussing all the things they were going to do with their ill-gotten gains. Finally they deceided to go for it. They approched the old store with extreme caution. After gaining enterance they became sober very quickly, for from their first time of casing the store and the night of the breakin the ofd store had gone out of buisness and nothing was in the store or on the shelves. After leaving and laughing so hard it hurt This ended the criminal life of all three and not long after all three were in the US Army where two of them served in Viet Nam and both came home highly decorated and none of the three ever broke the law again or went to jail. There will be more to come on one of the felons, on his tour of duty and a dog named Bitch that save his life and was his greatest companion in the war.