Little Boys

Toy Wooden Top

Boy's Great Grandpa's Pocket Watch

Boy’s Great Great Grandpa’s Pocket Watch

Wonder how many “greats” you get to add before somebody starts saying “an ancestor on your father’s side”?  Genealogists would know that.  I don’t.  This grandpa was on the Hamrick side.  He was my husband’s grandmother’s husband.  Her name was Cora Lee Hamrick.  His name was E.O. Hamrick.  He was a railroad conductor who played fiddle.  We have the fiddle.  It’s worth about five-hundred dollars.  No Stradivarius there, but it has a rattle from a rattlesnake inside.  This must have been his Sunday watch since he left behind a railroad watch too.  Oddly, I never asked Mrs. Hamrick anything else about him.  The story has it when he was laid out at home for the wake, Mrs. Hamrick swept up behind the callers as they left.  Sounds like her.

My husband and his parents lived with Mrs.Hamrick, Dean’s grandmother.  Dean never knew his grandfather.  He died before Dean was born.  All that remained of him were the watches, the fiddle and an old photograph.

 

Little Boy

Little Boy

The grandson was an only child.  His father told me the boy would sit on the back porch steps and watch the neighborhood boys play with his toys in the dirt.  When he was little, their play fascinated him.  Perhaps, that’s where he learned to play well with others.  A skill he never lost.

 

Toy Wooden Top

Toy Wooden Top

One of the toys the boy kept was a wooden top.  It must be seventy years old by now.  He showed me once how to spin it, but I’ve forgotten.  Somehow, you wind a string around it, and start it spinning.  When it runs out of string, the thing just sits there spinning.  I think that’s the way it went.

 

Metal Gas Tank With Red Wheels

Metal Gas Tank With Red Wheels

This old toy gas tank must have been a favorite of the porch stoop boys.  She’s plenty banged up, but she rolls perfectly.  She still has some of her shiny silver coat.  Ah, little boys and their toys.  What fun they must have had.  So many stories of climbing trees, catching a squirrel he couldn’t turn loose fast enough, stealing chewing tobacco with his buddy and throwing up green beans after.  He never liked green beans again until he was an old man.  Yep, it took that long to forget.

 

Dean's Childhood Bible

Dean’s Childhood Bible

This Bible has always made me smile.  My husband was a normal, happy kid.  He loved everything he did until the day before he died when he had to say goodbye to his own grandson. I never met a man as comfortable in his own skin.  He did not, however, show proper respect for his mother’s religion or for her church.  Lattimore Baptist Church.  He grew up there…carrying his Bible with him.  His mother saw to that.  I cannot imagine his having studied the Book.  From the look of it, I’d say he might well have left it out of doors a a few times after church.  He liked to tell stories about the preachers who came and went.  It was customary for his family to invite the preacher for lunch after church when it was their turn.  One old preacher liked boiled chicken wings with cream gravy.  I suspect he had a bad tooth. That was before the last one who finished off Dean’s churchgoing days. The church provided a parsonage for the preacher and his wife if he had one.  They also provided a car.  There was the rub.  When Dean was sixteen and desperately longed for a car, the deacons “took up” money to buy this preacher a new one.  A NEW ONE.  That was the straw that broke Dean’s religious life.  If he ever entered another church, I don’t know about it.  His mother kept the Bible.

22 Comments on “Little Boys

  1. beautiful photographs and an excellent post. The bit about religion reminds me of my material grandfather and his eldest brother . Both my great Uncle john and he had no argument with God, they saved it for the church & churchmen. Coming from a small village in Europe they saw the priest’s behaviour rather inconsistent with the priest’s teachings.

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  2. The Church bit reminds me of my grandfather who died when I was four. I adored him. And still remember him clearly. In his day (and mine) a person’s majority was at twenty-one, so he was forced by his parents to go to Church three times every Sunday. They were Scottish and the religion was Presbyterian. He was not allowed to sing anything except hymns on Sundays. He was not allowed to read anything except the Bible on Sundays. He was definitely not allowed to dance on Sundays (he was a soft-shoe dancer and was in a two-man comedy act as the straight man – which, for you youngsters out there, has nothing to do with sexuality; it means that he fed lines to the “funny” guy, or comedian). The day he turned twenty-one, he stopped going to Church and, except for his marriage, his children’s baptisms and later, their marriages (in an Anglican Church – his wife’s religion) his only other trip to Church was his funeral. He was a lovely man whom everybody adored, both friends and family. But, of course, for his parents, he was the black sheep of the family.

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    • I used to have a very interesting book, “Religion May Be Hazardous To Your Health”. An odd friend gave it to me. The premise was not anti-religion. The little book simply explained how religious experience often ruins lives. ‘Tis true, I think. In Dean’s case, I don’t think it affected him much one way or another. He viewed it as one of the rather superficial interests in the life of his mother whom he never understood.

      What an interesting character your grandfather must have been. Don’t you think men of that era had a greater sense of self? I think we live in a very confusing time for young men now.

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      • Pa, as his daughters and I called him (short for Papa) was given a private school (called public school for some reason in England) education in Australia. This meant that he learned to read and write, count, add, subtract, divide and multiply, and received a smattering of a few other subjects, mostly History and Geography (British Empire). Apart from that, he was taught prayers, hymns, cricket (he was a very good player and later played in interstate matches), rugby, dancing, social graces, including how to propose a toast (especially to the monarch) and make a speech. And that was about all. Which meant that, having been more or less rejected by his parents as a “heathen”, the only employment for which he was fit was in a factory. He eventually became Foreman, and his boss later told my grandmother that he could have gone much higher if he had had an education. “Educated” to be a “gentleman”, he never got off the factory floor. So, I think you could say that religion did indeed mess up his life – only because he refused to be controlled by it.

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  3. I agree with Michael: the bible does indeed tell a story. Whether it’s the story of a zealous man hungry for the Word, or the hapless circumstances of a bible left to dissipate under the sun, I suppose we shall never know, right? Either way, the photo is dramatic, just the way a picture should be.

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    • I suspect it was the latter. Dean was not a Seeker, but he was not a Denier either. He simply did not question life. He lived it. And he allowed everybody else to live theirs too. He had no quarrel with the Church. It simply didn’t suit him.

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  4. 1.Wonder how many “greats” you get to add before somebody starts saying “an ancestor on your father’s side”? – this is just the kind of thing I would ask and not take the time to research. Hilarious
    2. Dean sounds like someone I would have enjoyed very much. Your photo of that Bible speaks volumes. It is a great shot

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    • Yes, you would have liked him. He would have been interested in your business ventures. He most admired people who actually “did” things versus those who only talked about doing things. He was not a philosopher or a Seeker or a Denier. If he had talked about his philosophy, he might have said: “You are who you are. I am who I am. Things are the way they are.” Then, he’d have told a joke…”A man walked into a bar…” to distract you from what he thought was useless speculation on the nature of man and God. He was not a one-dimensional character, but he did not “waste” time worrying about anything he could not change.

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    • Ah, Scott. I enjoyed looking at these objects that I had all but forgotten. I don’t “live in the past” as my mother always said. These things remind me of characters I knew once. Little bits and pieces of who I am, I suppose. I don’t mourn the dead or long for times past. I am satisfied with my life the way it is. It has come almost full circle and it is good. Just the other night, one of my young friends at the drive-thru was telling me about his girlfriend’s pregnancy and how he no longer cared about her but wanted to “be there for his child”. You know the drill. I think he had an epiphany when I said, “Young hurts, doesn’t it?” He agreed with such passion I almost laughed. I think we have it worked out now so that he doesn’t move in with this girl. Lord, these kids!

      Last night, I scrolled through your astounding photographs! I have to go back to read the posts. You are too far ahead of me. I have to stop this blabbing and visit!!

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      • I do have the impression that you have lived a full life…and that you continue to cherish it with everything that you are. I see you “enjoying” life and its marvels, and as in this post, enjoying what and who has been in your life.

        You don’t seem to encounter many “strangers,” do you, George? Even the drive-through folks are your friends. 🙂 How nice that you had something special for the young man…and how nice that he seemed to have received it, as well.

        I will be here when you get to me, George. I love your visits, here included. 🙂

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  5. Great memories and stories… It is always so nice to read you dear George, and your beautiful photographs completing the whole touches of the memories. Thank you, with my love, nia

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    • I am happy that you like them, Nia. We remember the good things, the funny things, the interesting things. We forget the rest. And that is as it should be. Life cannot be lived twice.

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    • You know, Victor, I don’t think of these things as “memories” at all. I suppose I’m strange. I realize I’m relating family history, but it doesn’t seem that way at all to me. These are simply people whom I’ve known and about whom I recall small details that make them real characters to me. I suppose I need to sign up for some shrink time? Didn’t you say something about that once? I suspect we’d agree not to waste our resources on such foolishness now that we know who we are. 😉

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    • Thanks, Naomi. The post started out to be a collection of odd photographs that I just liked. Then, it ended up this way. When we start out, sometimes we don’t know where we will end up. That’s the cool thing about blogging, I guess.

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