Chapter 11 Harold Brown Memoir – 1955

January 3, 2019

Fourth grade, different building, different part of town. Mrs. Bunn was my teacher. She taught me that adults can be cruel. I will always remember that she crushed my confidence and self assuredness with one thoughtless statement.

I had asked for a part in a school program and she had agreed, I thought. As we begin practice I was having some trouble with my lines. I knew the lines but for some reason they were not coming hard and fast. I saw her lean over to the principle and say, “he was not my first choice”. I immediately went down and told her that I thought someone else should do the part.

My fifth grade teacher, Mrs.Williams, did a good job of mending my self esteem. You will feel better about yourself when you make others feel better about themselves.

Mother and I moved out of Mrs. Young’s duplex. Mother had a belly full of that old battle ax. She didn’t like it when I road my bicycle across her yard even though her yard was a jungle. We paid twenty dollars a month for the two rooms and shared bath. Mother felt like she could do better.

That winter mother invested in a house on the other end of Cherry Street. It was great. The Stell’s had built a house next door and their old house was purchased by mother for five thousand dollars. It sat on the corner and had three cedar and two pecan trees for shade. The good news was we had pecans by the sack full. The bad news was I had to rake the yard and pick up those pecans forever.

Cub scouts was a big thing. Our den was sponsored by two women, Tommy’s mother and Mrs. What’s Her Name. Sorry, I can’t for the life of me remember her name and what we did as scouts. I do remember the time that the halter top she wore didn’t quite do the job it was built for. I guess that she was getting on up in age because one of her saggy breasts had slipped out of the bottom of her halter. The only normal people are the ones that we do not know very well. She never noticed.

Most of the time we just played football in her back yard while the leaders drank beer in the kitchen. Our den leader lived in a duplex and rented the other side. At one of our meetings we had the opportunity to meet a new family that was moving in. They had the loveliest daughter and she turned out to be my age. I decided that I was in love.

She would have nothing to do with me as long as she thought I was interested. Helen was her first name but I have forgotten her last. Bradford. Yes, Bradford was the last name. Two years later she decided I was worth her while and she asked me to march with her in the sixth grade graduation. I enjoyed telling her that I was going to march with one of the guys. Her family moved away after sixth grade graduation and I never heard about her again. Judging a person gives you less time to love them.

Love is a Many Splendored Thing was one of the top songs of 1955. Anaheim, California was home town for a new theme park called Disneyland.

I would visit that park about five years later. I got separated from my sister and her roommate Yvonne Bettencourt. After wandering around that place for what seemed like days I found them enjoying a soda at one of the outdoor cafes. They thought I was on one of the rides and never believed me when I told them I had been lost.

Albert Einstein died. The civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. become synonymous. Busses are boycotted in Montgomery, Alabama.

While setting in the barber shop on day I heard a story about a negro man that drowned in the Mississippi River. It seems that he had stolen some chains and tried to swim the river with them rapped around his body.

As children we accept so much as truth just because some adult says it is so. About this time James Merridith, a young negro man, enrolled in the University of Mississippi. These same men predicted that he would also steal some chains and try to swim across the Mississippi River. It is easy to see how prejudices get so imbedded in a child’s brain and we accept as fact the fiction that is presented to us. It took years to overcome things that were given freely in my home town.

The best influence a child can have is a caring adult worth emulating.

I understand that pink clothes were becoming a fashion statement for men. It didn’t catch on in my hometown. I owned my first pink patterned shirt some fourteen years later and considered myself quite the trend setter!

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