I never knew my grandfather. His name was Calvin Eugene Adams.
Grandmammy's name was Mary Jane Metlock, and most knew her by "Miss Jane".
The story my Aunt told me was she didn't know how they met, but grandmammy lived in South Carolina and Calvin Eugene Adams rode a horse back and forth to see her. When they were married he sent her to Tennessee by train and he brought a covered wagon with all their belongings. Others on the trip, I believe she said, were a sister or aunt ..... they kept telling everyone that a child was going to bounce off the wagon if he was not watched.... he bounched off the wagon in the mud and she gave a very pepperly spoken comment ......... @#%#
They raised all 12children on a farm, a son died in infancy, another when he was a year old (Alvin Jr. and Harry Eugene). My father was then the only son and was so dearly loved and cherished by my grandmother and his sisters.
They were well respected in and around our community. My grandfather was a man very involved in the Masons and he represented all of West Tennessee, going to Nashvile for meetings.
My aunt said that no matter how little money he had, he always brought back a treat for the children, if only an apple or orange and would equally divide it.
I remember swinging in the swing my daddy made for me in our front yard and singing every song I had memorized ... LOUDLY
I remember waiting for my daddy to come home at lunch so I could get a hug and kiss.
On March 12, 1947, my father recorded two songs, "Soldier's Joy" and " Nellie Gray". He played his guitar and his french harp.
For Victory Speed
395 Broadway, New York, N.Y.
I have the paper and plastic cut record and now dark-white jacket cover that I cherish so.
Through this was instilled in me, from as long as I can remember, my deep love for Country Music.
My father taught me ..... to be still and listen, to learn and then sing with all my heart.
My hand's were to tiny for a lady he knew to teach me to play, so later he taught me to dance .....
As I grew older he also cautioned me "Don't ever sit down while you are up there dancing because if you do you may get yourself in trouble"..... Many times now I wish I would have listened because sure enough I did get into some deep trouble that lead to many heartaches and wrong choices. I have paid a heavy price for my mistakes but God forgave me and I hope my children and grandchildren also do.
I remember making mud pies and hiding in the neighboring grape vines that grew over onto my parentsí property, playing in the buildings there, pretending I had a baby. I would cut out pictures of things to pretend with, so my baby had good things to eat and cleaning up the little house that I had made. Going to the far end of the garden and sitting under the old apple tree, playing by myself with a doll or coloring pictures. My Aunt Verlie and Uncle Corbet always gave me new ones for Christmas. My Aunt Odel always gave me a new doll.
Sunday nights ... listening to WKRP in Cincinnati, Ohio and the gospel music on the Chuck Wagon Gang.
I remember a dear sweet high school girl who lived across the street when we lived beside my Dad's sister. She would always come and get me after school and weekends to play........how I loved her. Her nickname was "Herky" or maybe that was my way of speaking her name. I was so small.
Me at 2, my brother John
(called Kay by the family)
and sweet "Herkey"
And I remember bad dreams that made me so scared I was afraid to go to sleep at night.
My blackouts started when I was somewhere around three years old and it's hard to remember when I didn't have them but they became worse as I became a teenager. Sometimes I would just pass out, other times the time just went by and I wasn't aware of it till much later and I would wonder "How did I get here?"
Memories came out during counseling ...
Mother had struck a red hot fire poker to the back of my leg ... never knew why I was always so afraid of anything hot ... until I was asked about the scar and asked my Aunt ... she didn't know Mother did it but she said they all thought for sure I was going to lose my leg because of it being so severe.
I have so many old standard hymns that I learned as I took my little self to Church as soon as it was decided I was big enough to cross the street's to get there. Sunday's were always a hard time for me except church.
My father was always drunk and my brother and I were usually made to sit quietly in the living room so he could hear the ballgame while they were in bed doing you know what. If we made noise we were told to go outside and cut a switch and it had better be a good one. Next we had to strip down to our underwear and hit each other. I don't remember when this punishment started but I do know it lasted until we were both big enough to be embarrassed looking at each other and we also learned "I won't hit you so hard if you don't hit me" ... now I remember how furious my mother would be and she would leave whelps on me and my brother.
I don't remember Daddy ever saying anything.
I never remember waking up without my Mother nagging or picking a fight with my Dad.
Growing up in a very small town where everyone knew everyone's business was horrible. I was the daughter of the town drunk and God knows everybody knew not to cross paths with my Mom.
On Monday's when I would go to school everyone already knew he was in the county jail and were talking about it. But, I would always find somebody who knew how much I loved him to take me to see him until he got out. No one minded waiting on me and it was so hard to go home and leave him there.
When I was just barely a teen he would send me around back of the jail to a colored man's home to buy bootleg whiskey with money all the men pooled together, until they made him jail keeper and he could go buy it himself and not get caught.
I grew up believing if she would have just let him alone when he came home or when he got up he wouldn't get drunk.
My dad started going into the VA Hospital in Murfreesboro when I was maybe 10 years old, off and on when things got too much for him to handle and I was never told what, but he always came home getting off the bus in front of our house drinking again.
It just devastated me as a child because each time I thought and mamma told me he would be well. I would pray to God to please make my daddy well.
Guess I cried till forever ... so very sad and hurt.
The last time he went in was before my only daughter was born ... he spent the last 8 years of his life there and died of a coronary embolism. I knew the exact moment of his death and I was living in Southern California. I had no idea he was sick.
There was an Honor Guard of Veteran's for my daddy from the VFW he belonged too. My prayer's were answered. He was never alone after he came home because of those who stood shifts until his burial. He was buried with full Military Services.
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