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Posts tagged ‘family’

A Mother of a Snowball

Growing up in South Carolina, I probably saw snow a handful of times in my formative years, always a wet, slushy mess. On my fourteenth birthday, it snowed several inches. I remember getting out and playing in it with my then-boyfriend.

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StoryCorps: Dad and the UGA Race Riots 1961

Because I received several requests, I have included the excerpt of Dad’s StoryCorps interview on his role in the race riots at the University of Georgia in 1961.

For readers unfamiliar with that part of American history, I will give a brief synopsis.

Much of the Southern United States was racially segregated until around 1960. Where I live in Charleston, one can still see remnants of the segregated era, from a separate ‘colored’ entrance on an old theater downtown, to a wall that divided waiting rooms at the train station. We don’t use these things anymore, but the layer is there.

The Federal government forced desegregation in the South in the early 1960’s. Southern universities, which had historically been all white, were required to admit people of color for the first time, and many of the other separate barriers mentioned above were abolished. In the South, it was not a popular position, and it led to unrest, like the riot at the University of Georgia, in which my father played a key heroic role.

His story is about six minutes long. Set it to play and listen while you do something else at your desk. It always gives me chills to hear him tell it, and I’m very proud of him for standing up and taking what was, at the time, a very unpopular position.

Click here for Dad’s story about the UGA race riots.

A Moon Pie and an RC Cola

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Growing up, I never understood Dad’s fascination with the Moon Pie. Soft cakes filled with marshmallow cream and covered in chocolate, they are a Southern tradition that tasted like cardboard to me. Still, Dad ate boxes and boxes of the things.

I never knew the Moon Pie originated close to where Dad grew up. Chattanooga, Tennessee. As soon as we drove into the city yesterday, he started pining.

Golly. I sure would love to get me a Moon Pie and an RC Cola.

Riding up Lookout Mountain on the Incline Train……

A Moon Pie sure would be good with this view.

Eating lunch…..

I’m not hungry for much…..Can we get a Moon Pie?

At the Moon Pie place……

A double decker. Make sure you get me one of them double deckers.

I got one, too, and shared a Moon Pie with my father. It was the best thing I’ve tasted on this trip.

I Saw the Sign

Dad stayed in the car while I walked across the expanse of grass. Touring graveyards has to be hard. His 60th reunion program indicated that it would be his last.

I am glad I am with him.

Alone, I stood at the foot of the grave of my great grandfather. The man whose scowling photo frightened me as a little girl.

Thomas Jefferson Watkins.

And, I shuddered. It was another sign. To keep trying. Just when I needed it.

It will make sense to everyone someday, but for now, it is enough that I see it.

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A Cut Above the Monkey Trial

According to Dad, he was born in a hospital above a drug store in Dayton, Tennessee. That building was an institution.

The Scopes Trial occurred in Dayton, Tennessee. Only, it didn’t start at the storied courthouse with the battle between William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow in what was the biggest courtroom in the state.

The seeds of it germinated in Robinson’s Drug Store on Main Street. Just imagine the possible twists in strategy, with laudanum available to enhance the ice cream float from the soda fountain. The folks behind the trial plotted, and they planned. In 21st century journalistic fashion, they stirred up a story that became an international sensation.

Right inside the building where my father was born.

We toured the courthouse, and Dad talked so much that we all worked up an appetite. When we walked into Cafe Pascale, Dad waltzed up to a table of strangers and made their acquaintance.

I was born right here in Dayton. I was. Above the old Robinson’s Drug Store. You know that place, do you? They done gone and tore it down, but I was born there. In the hospital upstairs. That Doctor Broyles – you remember him? – he circumcised me.

DAD!!!!!!!!! THOSE PEOPLE ARE EATING!!!!!!!!!

No, I’m not gonna eat much. Do you have any apple pie and ice cream?

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