The Summer of 1960 "A time of fun and change"
My Perceptions of Reality
What does a discontented soul do when nothing makes sense anyway?
Christmas tree repaired, the year ended with in a happy note. Infact, it was the first real family Christmas I had ever had.
Aunt Gladys quickly became the mom I had always wanted. Uncle Austin, however was much more distant, even seemingly cold at times. Yet, what can you say about these two who opened their door and were willing to take a child that not even his mother wanted.
There were three families of the Hammock children living in Central Florida at the time. Aunt Vivian and Uncle Kenny in Rockledge, Aunt Gladys
We only lived a hour and a half away from each other, so we were always spending weekends, visiting and doing thing together. It really created a sense of belonging and family that I had not known before.
Winter, what there is of it in central Florida, quickly turned into Spring as soon it was time for school to be out.
Gerald, my aunt and uncle's oldest son had been living in Elba, Alabama and was getting married to one of the local girls. So we were off for a wedding.
I, also, didn't realize that Aunt Gladys had talked to Uncle Jake about me spending the summer with him and Aunt Louise. So when they told me, I was bouncing off the wall.
After the wedding I left with Uncles Jakes and Aunt Louise for the farm. It was to be a grand summer!!!!
Now every farm boy needs his own little project to handle, so, the first week I was there Uncle Jake bought me a hundred little baby chicks that I was going to raise..what happened when they were grown..now, that comes later.
They had also completely remodled their home, including installing air conditioning and had bought a color tv. This wa going to be a rough time, I could tell.
Morning started early ands while Aunt Louise would be making those hot delectible buttermilk biscuits, I would go out and gather eggs.
Then I would be off following Uncle Jake as he went out to his old Jersey milkcow.
We also had an entourage of cats waiting for that special squirt of warm fresh butter-rich milk.
After breakfast, we were off to do some work. During the summer the was hay to cut, corn to harvest, cotton to pick and peanuts to gather.
To help with all this, Uncle Jake had a number of hired hands, but also had the very latest in farm machinary and combines.
Now after lunch, we had a siesta, sometimes went fishing, sometimes went off to get supplies, shop and the like. I was Uncle Jake's shadow and everywhere he went, I went as did his loveable old beagle Joah.
The Summer of 1960 was also a serious turning point in my lymphedema. For this first time I had an attack of an infection called cellulitis. This is one of the many complications of lymphedema.
I had gone off to Bible school and within the short time that I was there, a left inguinal lymph node swelled to the size of a golfball and was incredibly painful. Aunt Louise came to pick me up and I went straight to bed when we got home. I don't remember a single thing for more then a week.
Once recovered though I was again unstoppable. It was back to chores, feeding the chickens,fishing, swimming, scaring the cows and other assorted tasks like devouring home made deep dish blackberry cobbler.
Uncle Jake had this antique corn shucker/grinder that his dad once used on his farm. I loved to shove ears of corn down that shucker, turn the handle and watch the grains of corn come flowing out the end.
By the way, remember those one hundred baby chicks?
Well.....yep.....when they were tender pullet size, we had the grandest cookout that county had seen thus far that summer. All grain fed, tender and very moist!!! Uncle Jake lopped off their heads, then we threw them in pots of boiling water and Aunt Louise and I would pluck the feathers.
But Summer by now was quickly drawing to a close and soon it would be time to return to Auburndale and start second grade.
However, while I was having the time of my life up in Cottondale, down in central Florida, there were some big changes occurring.
Steve, my brother had left Florida and returned to mother. Marion was tricked into returning when mother told her I would also be coming after I
returned from Uncle Jake's.
However, Aunt Gladys and Uncle Austin left that decision totally up to me. Even as a seven year old, I knew what I wanted and it wasn't to return to that kind of life.
Like the Autumn wind ushering in a new season, there were other significant changes as well.
Next time: a monster hurricane visits and I start at yet another new school.
Life is meant to be a celebration of the things we can do, not a requiem for this things we can not do. The great Native American chief Tecumseh once said, "When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lives in yourself"
Labels: 1960, alabama, cottondale, elba, farm, florida, summer