Daddyís Autobiography

 

 

 

ďIncidents in the Early Years of My Life"

Kelsey G. Adams

 

 

Part 1

 

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Daddy's Story

(Written in 1967) 

This true life story begins in the year of 1905 in the mountains of Kentucky, the country that is surrounded by small mountains where the pure air and clean springs of water flow continuously.  The large stream is called Cowan Creek.

I was second of a family of eleven, five boys, four girls and our parents.

My father and mother were very industrious and adhered to strictly clean living.

My father was one of his fatherís family to remain on the five hundred-acre farm he was raised on.  As I remember, there were three houses on the farm about a quarter of a mile apart. 

At the age of five, we lived in a two story log house, but my birth place was approximately fifty miles away in Hindman, the county seat of Knott County, Kentucky. 

The memory I have of the house that I can first remember was a very beautiful place with a large apple orchard extending to the bank of Cowan Creek.

 

 

I remember my mother would tie a string to a paper shoe box, and I would haul apples from the orchard to the house; and I enjoyed it very much.

To entertain the family at Christmas time, my father would buy fire crackers; and after dark he would stand in front of the house, light fire crackers and throw them and possibly getting as much fun out of it as we were.  But an end came to the fun when he let a fire cracker explode in his hand.  I can remember his groans as he walked up and down in the orchard.  It made a lasting impression on me.

Just a few hundred yards from the house was a bend in the creek, and it caused the water to carve out a hole in the bed of the creek that made us a nice swimming pool.

My brother and I went up there one evening.  It was a really warm day, but the sky was kind of cloudy.  As it was on the farm and a private place, we didnít use bathing suits; for there was no one around to see us.

We were having a great time splashing around in the water when it began to get cloudy and darker, and the thunder began roll.  But we were not concerned or scared until we heard our mother call at the top of her voice and it sounded like she was worried.  She was calling for us to come at once as there was a storm coming up.  All excited, we got out of the water and grabbed our clothes and never took time to put them on, as we were scared so badly.

We ran as fast as we could.  I outran my brother, and I was calling to him to run for his life.  When we got to the house, I saw that Mother had company; and I was so embarrassed that I hid under the bed until I could get my clothes on.

Another incident I remember that touched me was when my mother was reading a letter about some sad incident that had happened to someone, and I was crying.  She asked me what I crying about as she didnít realize I could understand what she was reading.

My father was a very ambitious man.  He was always trying to make improvements, and at this particular time, he had some men helping him build a bridge over the creek so we could get to the main road when the creek was up.  Without anyone noticing, I climbed on the pole behind the men.  For some reason after men got off the pole, the foundation slipped and I was sent into the air thirty or forth feet turning over and over.  But as the good Lord would have it, He had a large pool of water for me to land in.

My father made a dive in the water to rescue me; I guess expecting the worst.  It was a very cold day, and he carried me to the house.  I remember he asked if I was hurt, and I said I was hurt all over; but it was being cold that I was feeling like I was hurt.  If it hadnít been for the pool of water, I possibly wouldnít be writing this.

We lived a short distance from the school house, and this is something I donít remember so clearly.  In fact, I never tried very hard to remember it.  My mother said she could look up the road most any time of the day and see me coming home.  I didnít have any reason to come home and didnít get a permit from the teacher, but I possibly didnít see any reason to stay at school.

My fatherís brother was a police officer in Stonega, Virginia; and my father got a job as shop foreman in the same town, so he moved us all to Virginia.  Before we moved or after we moved (I donít remember which), I recall I made a trip with a friend of the family who was also a relative.  He drove a team of mules with a wagon loaded with something, and it took all day.  I would run along behind the wagon and get on what was called the tongue of the wagon.  It would spring up and down, and I enjoyed it very much.

But the main incident that would seem odd if it were practiced today (In fact, I doubt if you would last long if you practiced it today as the water is polluted more now):  At noon time, he stopped to eat lunch.  We were along beside a small creek larger than the one at home.  He took his tin cup down to the creek and dipped a cup of water out of the creek to drink while eating his lunch.  I donít remember if I drank any or not, but I thought it wasnít sanitary.

The next thing I remember is we were all going to Virginia, and it was night when we got into town.  It was the first time I had ever seen electric lights; but somehow it didnít excite me as it seems it should have, but maybe we were just tired and sleepy.

As we traveled on into town, it seemed the whole world was lit up, and there were long rows of holes belching fire and smoke into the air.  I learned later that they were coke ovens where they converted fine coal into coke to be shipped to the steel mills to be used in the manufacture of steel.

We lived five years in Virginia, in the same house; and by this time my brother who was two years older than I came into my life of memory.  We were very close to one another.

We had a cousin that was a conductor on the passenger train, and there was a station right in front of our house. When the train would stop by brother, Kerney, and I would get on the train and stay with it until it made its complete run.  They never did ask us for fare or tickets.  They would just smile and pass on by us.

One incident my brother told on me was on the first day of school in Virginia.  Since he was older that I was we had to go to different rooms, and the teacher wanted to know how old I was.  I replied very loudly, ďKerney, how old am I?Ē  I donít remember if he told me; he didnít say if he did or not.

My uncle that was a police officer, lived next door to us, and I remember seeing him chasing a black man down the railroad track.  When he got opposite his house, he stopped and came over to his.  What seemed so strange to me was that the man that he was chasing stopped too and asked my uncle if he wanted him to wait on him.  I didnít hear what my uncle said, but the man just waited; and when my uncle came out he started chasing him again.  Many years after it happened, I asked my uncle about it.  He said he was just giving the man a chance to get out of town and was pretending to chasing him.

We lived next to what was called Hungarian town, and once a year they had what they called Water Day.  It was a holiday that the company allowed them to celebrate.  I never did know what it represented, but they would throw water on anyone they could slip up on. 

They had a lot of fun, and I was standing at the edge of town watching someone pouring a bucket of water from an upstairs window.  I was holding my side with laughter when I felt a flood of water go down my back.  I looked around and a Hungarian girl was doing the laughing.  I had to go home and change clothes.

Our father was afraid we would get lost, so he got us two whistles so if we got lost from one another we could blow the whistle and locate one another.  He also built us a track around the side of the hill (Some people might call it a mountain.), and working in the shop he built us a car; and we had lots of fun riding this car down the hill.

There are many incidents in the five years spent in Virginia; the towns of Norton, Roda, Appalachia, Dorchester, Big Stone Gap, etc., were interesting places.

 

Be sure to come back for the next installment of Daddyís memories.

Click here for installment 2

Click here for Installment 3

Click here for Installment 4

Click here for Installment 5

 

 

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