Chapter 6 Harold Brown Memoir – 1950

The lady’s at the school all thought I was wonderful and that made it unanimous.

It was a place of many firsts. My first hair cut, balloon, doll, toy gun, candy, and movie. It was my first town and I was afraid to cross the street with all those cars. Give me wild horses anytime!

We rented a room in what I know now was a run down hotel. My sister said that we were not able to use the bathroom, there was just one in the hotel, because a family of Mexicans had moved in.

We used a hot plate for cooking even though they were against the rules. We were evacuated one evening because someone fell asleep in bed and their cigarette caught the mattress on fire. Another first was seeing a fire truck with real firemen. The upstairs window was opened and the smoldering mattress was thrown from the upstairs room to the alley that separated the buildings.

Miriam told me many years later that Mother was very depressed about the circumstance that mom found herself in but was encouraged by how happy her baby boy seemed to be.

President Truman ordered U.S. forces to South Korea and General Douglas MacArthur was named the UN Commander in Korea. The United States sent soldiers to aid South Korea in the summer of 1950. The KoreanWar would continue until the summer of 1953. Garvis became part of that conflict. That war claimed 54,246 deaths. Get even with those that help you. Those that love you touch you even in their absence.

The National Council of Churches was formed. We went to church and Sunday School every Sunday. We stayed there long enough for mother to learn what she needed to know about fixing hair. Then we returned to Hamburg. Some Puerto Rican nationalists tried to assassinate President Truman. We are not going to be special to everyone, but we can be special to someone.

What a great day. A new place and many adventures were surely waiting for me in this place. That night I played so hard and was so thirsty that I drank several swallows of semi cool cooking grease. I was so sick that death would have been welcomed. The low point of my life. Everything got better from that moment on.

I discovered a soon to be friend next door. Glen Riles and I spent many hours playing together. He was about five years older than me but very patient with his new neighbor. He taught me how to catch a baseball. To have a friend you must be a friend. Self image just might be the single most important factor in performance.

Years later I purchased my first glove. It was a four fingered glove but I could catch anything that was hit to the outfield.

It snowed that winter but didn’t do that again for another ten years. We lived in a duplex with a bathroom that we shared with just one other person. It happened to be the woman that owned the house but what the heck, everybody loves a little redheaded boy. Well, most of the time.

Mrs Young was a music teacher that had outlived her husband. I am not sure which one was the luckiest! I thought her yard was a jungle and even though it wasn’t very big I never did explore all of the undergrowth during the four years that we lived there.

My brother joined the Air Force shortly after that. I worried so much about him. He didn’t take his rifle with him and that just compounded the problem. Mother said he would be all right without it. As it turned out she was correct but I just didn’t feel right about him fighting the Koreans without that twenty-two. “What if we don’t win” I would ask her and she would say, “Then they will come over here and rule this country”.

When I thought about that at night, sleep was hard to come by. “Communists were infiltrating the State Department”, Senator Joseph McCarthy warned us. The fear was compounded by the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese communist forces. We even passed laws that restricted communists and communist parties in the U.S. I always thought a party was a good thing.

Fear makes the wolf bigger. If you plant a seed the harvest will come.

Some mornings I would wake up and there my brother would be, sound asleep on the cot in the kitchen-bedroom. I wasn’t allowed to wake him. When I returned home from school he would be gone. Little brother was the last thing on his mind.

Chapter 7 Harold Brown Memoir – 1951

The principal mode of transportation was our own two feet. We walked everywhere until, of course, I received my bike. When Mother and I would walk home from church on Sunday night, I would play a game with her that I called Trust. I would close my eyes and hold her hand. It was her assignment to get me home without letting me fall down the steps or tripping in a hole.

When we got home she would always ask me what I wanted for supper. It was a treat to have warm corn bread and butter- milk. It was Mother’s favorite also. There were times when we would substitute the buttermilk for turnip greens. Life really was uncomplicated.

Miriam was a senior in high school and I was in kindergarten. Mrs. Vera Mae Nolley Barham was my first teacher and friend. In reality, it probably wasn’t an actual certified kindergarten, but it was the closest thing we had to it. Miriam would get me at noon and we would eat in the high school cafeteria. I think my sister was very popular and a very good student. Mother was very proud of her. You have to give your approval for someone to make you feel inferior.

There were two hotels in town. One was named The Elite. John Spivy has his office on that corner now. The other hotel was named The Eureka. Jack Carpenter opened his Furniture Supply store in that building. I became friends with a blind man that lived in the hotel across the street from mother’s beauty shop.

I do not remember the blind man’s name but I do remember how he would take his glass eyes out and show them to me. I tried with little success to take my eyes out the same way. He told me that he had lost his sight when the explosives he was using to blow fish out of water went off in his face.

That year I was the groom in a Tom Thumb wedding and Emily Kay Wells was the bride. Miriam and Emily Kay’s sister were good friends in high school. I made friends wherever I went in Hamburg. Good friends are hard to find, hard to leave, but never forgotten.

The adult business men would come by the beauty shop where mother worked and take me to coffee break. Bill Law and Billy Veazey were two of my special coffee break friends. It was a great place to grow up. Their encouragement is a gift that keeps on giving.

Billy Veazey had a grocery store on the northern corner of the same block that mother’s beauty shop was located. His morning break would begin with him and Bill Law picking me up at mother’s shop and taking me to Golden’s cafe for coffee. I didn’t think much about two grown men taking that much interest in me because I was sure that I was great company for them. Charles Spencer later purchased that store from Mr. Veazey. End of coffee breaks!

The Veazey family has a special place in my heart. Ann, Billy’s wife, was one of my Sunday School directors in junior high. Ann had a son, Bob Hall, by an earlier marriage. He delivered groceries for his step father. He used this big bicycle with an extremely large basket on the front for the deliveries.

Mr. Veazey told him not to let me ride with him when he delivered groceries because he thought it wasn’t safe. Bob took me anyway. I was told never to let his dad know that he was taking me. Bob was an important part of my community experience. What a person says can be forgotten, the things the did will pass away, but how they made you feel will linger forever.

The Presidency has been limited to two terms according the passage of the 22nd Amendment by Congress.

Dr. Barnes, one of three physician that I knew in Hamburg (White, Cammack, and Barnes), stepped out of his office as I was running by. He knew me well because he had been giving me shots in the butt for years.

Every time I had a cold mother would send me to Dr. Barnes and he would say, “lay down here and pull your pants down.” That was when he would pull out that long needle and insert it into the container of Penicillin that he got out of the, I called it an ice box, but it really was a refrigerator.

Then when I would ask him the question that I knew he would lie about, “Dr. Barns, is this going to hurt?” he would say, “it is only going to sting a little.”

But on this particular day, Dr. Barnes had something to ask me. As it turned out he had a rabbit that he wanted to give me, if mother would allow it. I said there would be no problem but he insisted that I go and ask and if it was alright then I could come to his house later an pick up my new friend.

For some reason mother allowed me to accept that rabbit. It was a Dutch breed that was black with white chest and blazed face, we became fast friends. Uncle Robert made Peter a cage. People that I didn’t know would come to town and ask if I was the kid that had the rabbit that followed me on a leash? They always wanted to see my black and white rabbit. Imagination is not limited, knowledge is.

Dad Chapman was the barber next door to mother’s shop and he had the most beautiful wife. Mr. Chapman was many years older than her but there was no doubt in my mind that they were made for each other. I often went to their house for lunch. She taught me many things about politeness and correct use of my spoon, fork, and napkin.

When Dad Chapman died it was very sad. I was allowed to visit him in his home while he was sick. I am thankful for him and his family. They say to touch another is saying you care and trust them.

When his family moved away Maxie Ann Wilcoxin moved in. Her parents had divorced and Maxie and her mother moved into the Chapman house. A Chevy dealership was located there several years later. Maxie Ann was tall and had long pig tails. She could hold her own with anyone and we treated her with the respect that was due.

CBS transmitted the first color broadcast on the newly introduced color television. I am glad that I wasn’t aware that any of this was going on. It was often so hot that mother and I would make a pallet and sleep on the screened in front porch. We had a radio, don’t know where it came from, that I often listen to as we tried to beat the heat.

As I lay there in the dark I would look into that radio and imagine that the voices I heard were people inside that plastic box. There was even a light that showed me which tube their bodies were living in. Amos and Andy was a favorite of mine. They taught us that a sense of humor is something that one can’t afford to lose. What ever happened to Kingfish? Life was so uncomplicated.

Chapter 28 Harold Brown Memoir – Appendix for History Buffs

1632 Jasper County History

Jasper County history is recorded as far back as 1632, when traders listed the Seven Islands Crossing on the Ocmulgee River as the place they first traded with the Creek Indians. After the Indians, the first settler was a deer hunter named Newby, who lived in a cabin near the present community of Hillsboro, as early as 1790.

In 1790, George Washington met in upstate New York with the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi.

Jasper County was split out of Baldwin County by an act of the Legislature in 1807 and originally named Randolph by the General Assembly. Monticello was laid out and made the county seat in December, 1808. Monticello was named after President Thomas Jefferson’s estate in Virginia. In December, 1812, the name of the county was changed to Jasper. This was to honor Sergeant William Jasper, a Revolutionary War hero who risked his life to save his country’s flag from the British. He was killed in the attempt during the seige of Savannah.

John G. Walker married Elizabeth A. Chapman in Jasper County, Georgia, on December 7, 1817. On January 28, 1819, John G. Walker had purchased 163 acres in Dallas County, Alabama, at Section 5, Township 15, Range 9. He paid $326.15 for the purchase.

This property was located near the community of Whites’ Bluff near the Alabama River. On November 29, 1821, he purchased land in Autauga County, Alabama. He settled there and started raising a family. This property located in the Milton Community is still in the Walker family. (Raymond Walker’s farm.)

Dallas County was created by the Alabama Territorial legislature on February 9, 1818 from Montgomery County, a portion of the Creek cession of August 9, 1814. It was named for U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander J. Dallas of Pennsylvania. The County is located in the Black Belt region of the west-central portion of Alabama and is traversed by the Alabama River and bordered by Perry, Chilton, Autauga, Lowndes, Wilcox, and Marengo counties.

Originally, the county seat was at Cahaba, which also served as the state capital for a brief period. In 1865, the county seat was transferred to Selma. Other towns and communities include Marion Junction, Sardis, Orville, and Minter.

(Source: Alabama Department of Archives & History)

1820 Cornelius Walker

John G. Walker’s first son, Rufus Walker, was born in 1820.

Private Rufus Walker, Company H, hailed from Milton, Alabama. Between 1860 to May 4, 1865 he was a POW having been surrendered by Lt. General Richard Taylor to Major E.R.S. Canby. He was paroled in Selma in June 1865.

James C. Walker was the second son born about 1821, followed by Diede, Cornelius M.C. (This is my Great Grand Father), an unknown son, William A., Jasper Newton, and Martha.

Rufus married Eliza Jane Allen on February 27, 1838, and their first son, William S., was one year old. They resided on property owned by their father John G. Walker.

John moved from his home about the same time that this matter was the subject of everyone’s conversations. It can only be assumed that this was the reason for his departure and move further west. We do know, however, that John G. Walker left his land to Rufus, James C. and Diede, who all had families by then. Cornelius M.C. (My Great Grandfather) also stayed behind and settled for the time being in the same area.

In 1850, John G. Walker, 53 years old, and his wife, Elizabeth A., were residing in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. Records reflect that John G. was still solemizing marriages as a minister of the gospel. However, records of the Baptist church do not list him. (It is suspected that after the Baptist split, John G. was associated with what is now known as the Primitive Baptists.)

In John G. Walker’s household was William A., Jasper Newton and Martha.1 Although it is not yet verified, John G. Walker must have died between 1857 and 1860, probably in Lauderdale or Kemper County, Mississippi.

1797 John G Walker

It is reported that my Great Great Grandfather, John G. Walker, was birthed around 1797.

The Louisiana Purchase was made by President Thomas Jefferson in 1805 and it is believed that John G. Walker’s family was living in Greene County, Georgia about that time.

The region between the Oconee and Ocmulgce Rivers was opened for settlement after the Creek cession was made. The indian leaders of the Creek, Chickasaw, and Cherokee tribes signed a treaty in 1773 that involved about two million acres of Georgia land.

The Creek Nation was at war against the settlers and there was no peace on the Georgia frontier until the War of 1812 was finished. The indian raids were considered minor but the residents were always on alert.

The Creeks were gone by 1827. Greene County was named after Nathanael Greene. He was a General in the American Revolutionary War. George Washington could not have claimed victory for the young United States without his valued contributions.

I believe that some of the Greene family members also settled in the Nolensville, Tennessee area using their Revolutionary War land grants. John G. Walker’s family was in the middle of this fight for survival in this new settlement that would be Jasper County, Georgia.

General Sherman’s Army passed through Jasper County during the latter part of the Civil War. The Jasper Volunteers and the Glover Guards were major groups that county furnished for the Confederate States.

Elizabeth A. Chapman (could have gone by the name Mary) and John G. Walker were married in Jasper County, Georgia, December 7, 1817. He could have been 20 years old and she could have been 28. Elizabeth Chapman was born in South Carolina, 1789.

Memories, we all have them. The trick is to find the key that unlock what we have stored in our memory bank. I am trying to remember not to forget.

The exact date of my Great Grandfather’s birth is not know but it is generally accepted as 1797. The location was Georgia “the region of the Oconee” in Jasper County. His family settled in Greene County, Georgia in 1805, the same year President Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase. John G. Walker and his family would have had to have been Indian fighters to survive as pioneers in their new territory. Great Grand Paw John G. Walker could have been about 8 years old when they moved.

1857

John G.Walker’s daughter, Martha, married J.F. Blanks in 1857, in Mississippi,19 and they moved shortly thereafter to Hamburg, Arkansas, in Ashley County. John G.’s widow, Elizabeth A. resided with them in 1860. William A. and Jasper N. also came to Hamburg with their mother and sister. Jasper N., however, left the family and traveled with the David Lightsey family to Walker County, Texas. In 1860 Jasper married Martha Lightsey in Hamburg, Arkansas. Jasper’s descendants are still in Walker County, Texas.

In Autauga County, Alabama, Rufus, James C., Diede Walker Hunt, and Cornelius M.C. were all raising families and working cotton farms.

In 1850, Rufus Walker owned 21 slaves, and James C. owned 2 slaves. It is assumed by the ages of the slaves that all were of one family and probably came to Alabama from Georgia originally with father John G. Walker. (John G. owned 2 slaves in 1830.) It is interesting to note that by 1860, Rufus Walker had disposed of his slaves and no longer concentrated on cotton farming. He instead was raising hogs.

Rufus and James C. owned adjoining farms which also joined with sister Diede Hunt’s farm. Cornelius M.C. was farming 80 acres near Autagaville.

Rufus Walker sold his farm in November 1849, to Powhatton Kelly and moved further north, about the line between Chilton and Autauga Counties. The farm that Rufus sold in 1849 now joins the old Bob Walker place. (Now Raymond Walker’s farm). The large pond now known as “Kelly’s Pond” was known back then as “Walker’s Pond.”

As the Civil War approached, it was quite obvious that the Walkers of Autauga, Alabama, and Hamburg, Arkansas, and Walker County, Texas, were all States’ Rights advocates, and cast their fates and fortunes with the Confederacy.

Chapter 27 Harold Brown Memoir – Cancer

I spent over two weeks in the hospital during last Thanksgiving 2012 with what I rated as 9 on a scale of 0-10 back pain. My blood disease was confirmed during that time.

My body was shot from what I supposed was the results of so many drugs and limited use of my body. I did not understand why I would become emotional at the drop of a hat. I thought my life was over and every visitor that came to see me only stood to confirm that thought.

I was being controlled by a depression that I had never experience and thought that only a weak person was susceptible. I know what it was now, but that doesn’t mean that it will not happen again. I will be more prepared to deal with that depression if it should give this person another visit. It has proven to make me stronger.

God is good. He is the giver of only good and perfect gifts. In all thing give thanks. I try. My two children spent a lot of time with me when I was released from the hospital. We spent time talking. Mostly I talked and they listened. I told them stories and they stroked my back and fixed me food. I believe they have a better understanding of who and what their father is about and I have a new appreciation for the adults that my children have become.

Love without questioning. Need without demanding. Want without restrictions. Accept without change. Desire without inhibitions. Love not given is a life wasted.

Some of you make me laugh and others cause my eyes to water. Both emotions inspire me. Keep talking.

I visited my regular oncologist today, Dr. Willis, and I had several questions ready for him. Before that my first nurse looked at my results and asked me, “Do you work out?” Do you know what that does to a male’s ego? I know what it did for me. We spent several minute talking about what I did and what she did. That started my day off with a bang because I really like telling people what I do when they really want to know.

Dr. Willis finished my visit with him by telling me that he had never had a patient with my disease that exercised the way I do. His closing remark was to say, “Listen to your body.” I alway have.

Some of the things my body has told me has been good news and on occasion it has been negative. My last nurse wanted to talk about Ole Miss and how well they are going to do this season in football and basketball. I didn’t have the heart to spoil her day.

My daughter called before I left the doctor’s office. I went to visit her and my grandson. I had some of the best tomato and extras soup that i have ever had. I ate four bowls and would have had more if she had used a bigger pot to fix it. The three of us walked around the golf course and I finished my visit with some vegan ice cream that she made. I was a real pig.

Chapter 26 Harold Brown Memoir – Discipline

Mother must have spent more time than she needed punishing Garvis. He tells stories that she never denied. In fact, she often told him she was sorry when he told about one of his spankings.

Miriam tells of being spanked only once, and upon review, feels that it was deserved. Mother just wanted us to do the right thing.

She told Miriam not to let Grandpaw see her in a pair of shorts. Now, I am not talking about the shorts that exist today, but cut off pants that a country child would wear. Grandpaw was a Baptist minister and had opinions that were important to mother. At least she did not want to offend his puritan taste. Miriam, being the strong willed person that she is, appeared in grandpaw’s presence with the shorts and mother was forced to punish her.

Mother’s disciplinary tactics softened over the years. I got plenty of spankings, but each was well deserved. Did they make me better? Certainly!