Friday, February 28, 2014

Valdese for the last time

Many trips to the Catawba River riding the bike or walking with Ace. Most of the time alone, me ‘n Ace. I made Minnow Jar(traps) to catch bait for us, but most times we caught nothing, so we went swimming. I felt like I could swim a hundred miles.

Summers I went to church Youth Camp. Once I won a diving contest and a swimming contest. 

Von Dale (my friend from Albemarle) came to visit a couple times for a week at a time. some great times. He got to meet the boys at Valdese. That was always fun.

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(Cousin Bobby O’Shields visiting Valdese, Bobby lived outside Laurens, SC)

There is a mountain called High Peak near Valdese, we all climbed it a couple times. Then climbed the fire Tower that was on top. the Rangers were always very friendly to us.

BF Jack Grace Valdese

(Note dad’s belt buckle, he always wore it to the side. That was to keep from scratching his car when checking the oil)

Once I asked mama if I could ride my bike to my brother’s house in Shelby. It was 39 miles. She said yes. I got about 8 miles over the mountains, I was beat. So I got to a phone and called home. Shirl answered. she said she would come and get me. When she go there I talked her into driving me and the bike to Shelby and not tell anyone, so she did. At the city limits she let me out and I rode up to my Brothers house and lied, I said I had rode all the way. I don’t think Shirl ever told. Sister in Law Ruth probably didn’t believe it, but she was so sweet to me, like a 2nd mama.

I hate to say I lied, we used to say I told a story.Surprised smile.

Valdese had a sad point. Folks let their chickens loose in Valdese. Ace could not stand that. Mr. Brinkley had chickens in his lumber yard across from our house. I had to keep an eye and a cow chain on Ace. But sometimes he did get loose.

My dad did not see Vets for house pets. Vets were for farm animals that provided a lively hood for families. BUT he made an exception with Ace. We went to the vet. The vet said it was no use, and Ace died of poison.

I took him home, buried him and prayed over that grave for many nights, that God would allow me to see Ace in Heaven.  If any dog got there, it will be ACE. Winking smile.

Valdese was a great place to fly kites. Ride bikes, skate and fish. Garland page would take us to a creek across the mountains to swim and eat watermelon.  Few folks had TV, but Garland worked for Kirksey Furntiture Co, and they allowed the Page family to go to the furniture company and watch the display TV’s, of course they let me come along. What a thrill to be in a business after it closed.

The NEXT big announcement at the Darnell residence was, we are moving to Belmont, NC.

Hey I thought, I know a beautiful girl there, I met her at the Campground. I even remembered her name, Martha Carver… Shirl wasn’t real happy, she had a boy friend she did not want to leave.

But leave we did, that is what preachers families did, MOVE!

Thanks for coming by the log

Nite Shipslog


My sights had already been set, I thought, “When I am 16, I will quit school and join the Marines.”


1954 Ford Fairlane Sedan1954Met1954_Hudson_Jet_Liner_4d_sdn_-_fvr1954PackardPanther

These cars were the newest on line when we moved. I knew them all except the Packard. I never did see that dude.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Valdese last stop in my life before Sherryville!

We drove into Valdese, dad was driving the ‘51 Buick with a trailer. The first thing I noticed about Valdese, IT SMELLED GOOD. It smelled like a giant cinnamon bun. WOW, I learned quick it was the Waldensian Sunbeam Bakery. I also learned as in any business (ref NEHI co.) there were always rejects, not free here, but cheap!

Valdese means Waldensian in Italian. The Waldenses crossed the Atlantic from Italy for religious freedom.In May of 1893, a group of Waldenses, from the Cottian Alps of Northern Italy, settled on land located near the Catawba River in eastern Burke County in North Carolina, between the towns of Morganton and Hickory.  The center of this community became the town of Valdese.


(The Bakery has since changed hands a couple times.)

Valdese like many southern towns, was a mill town, specializing in hosiery.  The parsonage was small, 2 BR. so Shirl and I went back to sharing a room.  I believe she was a Junior and I was in the 7th grade.  School started a few weeks after we moved and I was in Mrs. Melissa Grill’s room, one tough teacher.

While waiting on the room to open I was in a small fight. There seems to always be a challenge to kids when the new kid arrives for some reason. Fortunately Johnson was a bully and only took a little for him to back down and save face with, “You are lucky this time,  I was easy on you.”

There was never another problem with students. It took me a long time to realize that these kids (like Sherry) had been with the same group since first grade, and I was invading their territory.

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(I have used this picture before, My cousin bobby, Me and Guy Abee. shirl hung us on the clothes line, while cousin Mildred took the picture.)

My closest friends became Jim & Bub Page. Peter David Hunt and Guy Abee. The only girlfriend I had was Betty Carswell, but she never knew it.Surprised smile

Jim and Bub had a Pinto named Frank. the first horse I was ever thrown from, and Garland (Jim’s Dad) said ‘get back on him Jackie’.  I was scared, but I did and he did not buck again. Frank and me ‘n Ace became good friends, I always took him some sugar cubes.

Sad thing later I witnessed the death of Frank from foundering, he got into the oat barrel, then went to the creek. The vet was there and we were up all night, but Frank lost the battle.

I became a regular at the Page house. Cornbread and milk or pintos most every night compliments of Baker, as Bub was known. It seemed they separated the chores, Jim, the animals, gardens and Bub the inside and cooking. Both parents worked. I was probably more in the way, but I was there.

Segregation was real in Valdese. The Black population did not have a lighted field for nights sports, so they used Valdese high field every Sat. night.

I will continue Valdese one more post…

Thanks for coming this way.

Nite Shipslog


Shirl, Mickey, & Margreta had a trio that won the Arthur Smith Talent show while we lived here. I covered that in an earlier post.



the 1952 Desota was built while my family was at Valdese.


Waldensian Sunbeam truck

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sherry and growing up

Sherry was a good kid, she became a Christian at a very early age. Her mama was what I would consider, the model person, also a Christian. I thought her mama was cute when I met her, she had a pug nose and a sweet smile.
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(This is as close as I can get to What Sherry’s mama looked like when I met her, she is holding Elmer and Lennie’s kids, Brenda and Mark)
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(This is Susie before Sherry was born, she was a beauty.)
We were raised in a segregated society. But some of her brightest memories was of ‘Satan’, a negro nick-named Satan who was missing most of his fingers, but would come to their mill house and play the piano while her sisters danced in their socks.
An early school picture:
Maybe 5th grade.
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(Sherry, 2nd row from the rear, 2nd from the right)
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(one of my favorite pictures of my girl)

She remembers the thrill of having Mr. Bolick in the 7th grade.  Her first man teacher. She said all the girls were excited.

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(Sherry is in front of the 2nd girl from the right on the last row. Cute scarf tired around her neck)
Sherry was a diligent student and a good daughter. Once she reached High School, although she was in the Beta club, an A student, she decided to work part time in a hosiery  mill. Her job was ‘Looping’. Loopers placed socks and hosiery on sharp needles on a moving wheel to sew the seam you see at the toe of your socks and hose.
(Looper from the web)
Her work was on production and she always made production and over. Sherry is a methodical person and pays attention to detail. I learned many years ago that is a very good character trait, that even though I know it is good, I still tend to raise my hackles when I say, “back in ‘72 da da da…”  Sherry will say automatically, “That was June 12, 1973.”  She is always right.
Sherry always paid her ‘tithe’ to the church because she was taught that. The first phone in their home was installed and the bill paid by her. She joined the Christmas club where she worked. A program to save $’s from each week’s pay held back until December.
As a dutiful daughter she gave her mama money for her board, as most mill hill youngsters did.
Her mama said she was always a sweet girl, I SORTA believed her Surprised smile.
Thanks for coming this way.
Nite Shipslog
We are coming close to knowing each other…. I have just one more move, then Belmont.
These cars were built before we met.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

More of Albemarle, Jack’s side

Once in elementary school, Shirl and I were both called to the office. The principal didn’t have much tact, “Kids you had better run home, I just got a call they think you dad is dying.”  It was a little over a mile home, we ran all the way.

Come to find out dad thought he was dying and was making a lot of terrible noises, groaning and calling ‘Lord Help’ pretty loud. Dad found out what a kidney stone was. Angry smile.


There was a NEHI bottling company near the house. The last person on the assembly line before they went into the cases, checked for foreign matter and the level of drink in each bottle. If it was too full or not enough it was not allowed so the operator pulled that bottle and put it behind him.  They were warm, but they were Free! My friends and I could drink all of those we wanted, but had to stay there to do it, because we could not have the bottle.

The bottles were worth 1-2¢ each. I earned a lot of money picking up bottles from the side of the road. They took them dirty or clean.

We must have lived in Albemarle on the coldest winter they ever had, because the Mill pond froze over enough for kids to walk and slide on. Of course no one had ice skates, but it was fun to run and slide as far as you could.

Dad & Mom got me a brand new J.C. Higgins bike, wow was I something. I rode and Ace ran beside me. I learned one problem with Ace, he was a bird dog, and a chicken looked a lot like a big bird, so he would chase chickens and I would have to chase him. there was no calling him back.

BF on the Radio

Dad was on the radio at least once a week in most towns we lived in, Albemarle he was live on WABZ. Burlington..WPCM, Valdese..WMNC and Belmont … WCGC.

Albemarle, NC is built on a BIG HILL. to a kid it was a small mountain. To skate down that hill was dangerous but Von Dale and I would do it. Once I got too fast and sat down. Ruined a good pair of “overhauls.”

(During this time, Sherry was being left down east, Surprised smile)

While in Albemarle we also got to see the Ocean for the first time. Dad drove there to Little Washington where his friend Walt Moody pastored, and there was an old fashioned Camp Meeting.

Those were carefree years, I was too old to Pout at our next move, but I sure hated to leave Von Dale.  Dad said we were going to Valdese, NC. I said, “What is a Valdese?” When we moved this time I not only had a big sister but I had ACE, he was my buddy, he rode in the back seat with me and Shirl on the move.

Thanks for stopping by the log.

Nite Shipslog


I didn’t know it at the time but Valdese was a wonderful small town, in the foothills of the South Mountains.


It was Valdese when I first started paying attention to cars. This was the prettiest one I remember seeing:


Now I am not positive which I liked,  the top one is a 1953 Century Buick,  the Bottom is the Sky Lark.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sherry thought I would never get to Belmont

Of course She did not know I existed. But I was getting closer to her. Albemarle was half way from Burlington to Belmont. I have to go by what she says, she enjoyed growing up on the Imperial Mill Hill.  The village was actually on a hill. She had kin folk that worked in the same mill.


(Sherry said her dad said many times, if that boy (Elmer) don’t marry Lennie soon I ain’t  ever gonna get any sleep, Elmer lived next door and stayed late hours courting Lennie)

Elmer married Lennie and brought a car into the family. Up until her dad Wiley saw no need for a car, everything they normally needed was within walking distance. So they simply walked or took the bus where ever they traveled.

The kids loved to skate. She lived there when the streets got paved and all the kids were thrilled. She talks about going down the hill on skates and her feet starting to wobble and scared her.


(Colette holding Sherry at the Imperial Village, cute ain’t she?)

She and a friend tried dipping snuff, she didn’t care for it. She smoked a few cigarettes as a kid and wasn’t thrilled with that either.  But like all kids, she loved to dip cocoa and sugar. LOL

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(This picture is much earlier that is Sherry on the far right. Her brother Tommy far left, Vacation Bible School)

Sherry’s mama came from the eastern part of NC. And when there was a death in the family down East. Folks would double up and load cars down and head for the wake and funeral.

At the loss of an uncle two cars went east to Whiteville, about 200 miles. Of course no one place could sleep everyone, so the crowd scattered to different kin folks houses. After the wake and the funeral the cars loaded up, said their good byes, and headed for Belmont.  Remember the story of the child Jesus, being accidently left behind by Mary and Joseph?  Well that happened to little Sherry she was about 10yrs old. Her parents thought she was in the ‘other’ car. BUT SHE WAS NOT.

After spending the night with a cousin, she had arrived at her aunt’s house for the trip back to Belmont and the cars were GONE! She said she was miserable and cried day and night  mostly. Making folks lives bad (she says).  Well when Wiley and Susie got back to Belmont Sherry was missing.  The very next day Susie took the bus back to Whiteville, NC, got a cousin to drive her out into the tobacco country to get her little girl. Now 200 miles was a LONG WAY in the 1940’s.

Sherry was picking butter beans when she saw her mama coming. Now if you are familiar with picking beans years ago, the ladies that had aprons on would make a pocket of the apron and drop the beans in. Little girls used their dress tails. When she saw her mama, the beans went flying and she went running, the happiest girl in the world. She still says that was the best she ever felt as a kid, seeing her mama coming up that dusty road.

Thanks for coming by the log.

Nite Shipslog


Isn’t if funny how one little thing can change your history.  If we had not moved to Belmont when we did……………  Some other fellow would have been very lucky.



They would have ridden 200 miles in a car like these.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Burlington to Albemarle, NC

As a preacher’s son, in the 1950’s you knew your present address was only temporary. So after I graduated 3rd grade Dad took an assignment to Albemarle.

I was old enough to know how to pout. After the move I tried my best to make mama and daddy’s lives miserable because I had left my friends in Burlington.

But they took it in stride and one day brought the answer home. My Aunt Ann (dad’s sister) had sent me a black English Spaniel. All pouting was forgotten, I named him Ace. He was my constant companion until his demise. I have always said Aunt Ann gave me the best gift of my life, a dog!

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(This is the only picture of Ace that I know of, I tried to repair it.)

TV came to Albemarle (1949-50 time frame). One channel, #3 WBTV out of Charlotte. The local fire house allowed the boys of the neighborhood to sit on the floor and watch Howdy Doody. What a thrill.

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(This was VonDale, a little older I got the picture from Martha his girlfriend)

I met Von Dale Tucker, a cool dude in the same grade but different schools. Ray Sides was cool also, he had goats that pulled a wagon. VonDale was to become my closest friend and continues until now.

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Roger Slack was older, he once ‘borrowed’ a new Henry J. He was arrested in SC and brought back to NC. Dad was able to talk to the chief, the Judge and the car owner and Roger, showing remorse, was not charged. Roger became a solid citizen. It would be nice if ‘stupid’ crimes could be fixed that way now.


Shirl was in a couple grades ahead of me. We were both in the band, She was first a drum major  then took up the French Horn, she was good on it, but it was heavy for a marching band. I played the trumpet.

I played ‘Pumpkin’ ball. A softball game inside the YMCA Gym. The ball was softer and twice the size of a softball.  Shirl was into regular softball and was a pitcher.

While in Albemarle Shirl moved on up to High School. Dad would most times drive to pick her up, but once she took the city bus home, pulled the cord too late and ended up a block or so from home. She is easily embarrassed, so she acted like she lived there until the bus got out of sight then hightailed it back home.

Life was fun in Albemarle, I learned to swim.  Von Dale and I challenged other boys to BB gun wars. I watched cedar furniture, mostly cedar chests being made. The workers gave me cedar shavings and said they were good for Ace’s dog house to rid him of fleas.

Life was really good in Albemarle. More later.

Nite Shipslog


Nine to twelve are real formative years. I did a lot of skating and bike riding.


Dad drove a 1951 Buick Special. note the three ports on the side of the fender.  Buick had three main models, Special, Super and Roadmaster. The Roadmaster had 4 ports.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stella met Mickey and Minnie!

(More of Jack & Sherry’s child hood after this commercial break for Mickey)

Reece and Stella flew in. Stella’s third flight, she is going to gain some air-miles if she keeps this up.

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We are family, so a little tight doesn’t matter. 

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Stella coloring Minnie Mouse.

For the last while Stella has fell in love with Minnie Mouse. She couldn’t wait to see Minnie. So today the little girl got her dream, and probably the only way she will remember it is thru her pictures:

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The one above I photoshopped for her, I cannot use that program without a lot of hit and miss.

Then she met the REAL Mickey and…


Her Idol, Minnie, although she did not seem as happy as I thought she would.


Squeezed in a pic. with Daisy Duck.


So Disney World has another fan. I guess that is what keeps WAlt’s dream alive.

Walt Disney was a good man methinks. He had kids in mind and we have all enjoyed his discoveries.

We have been busy around the Motor home, lotgs of fun and lots of kisses from our Stella (and Reece of course)

Reece says Stella is so great, good and sweet. I say, methinks her mama Reece had her beat. But that is Grandpa speaking. NOT TO DIMISH a Great Granddaughter now. Stella is a doll.

Thanks for visiting Stella and Minnie.

Nite Shipslog


Everyone loves to see the eyes light up in a child, and cartoon characters as big as life does that.

Anybody remember the Mickey Mouse Club?