Friday, June 21, 2013

This is Home, Part 15 - Democratic speakings, voting, Uncle Doc, influential Democrat, ninety candles, Uncle Doc the judge, election day

This is part 15 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Democratic speakings

Back home at that time, we had what was commonly called Democratic speakings. I don't even remember hearing about Republican anything.

At the speakings, the Democratic women sold food such as pie slices, ice cream and cake, sandwiches of mutton, beef, barbequed pork or whatever.

The candidates would speak, we would listen and clap. People would also hand out cards for the candidates.

They were getting ready for a local primary election. Something we just had.


I remember when I first voted back home. There were two large circles at the top of the ballot. One was Democrat, one was Republican. If one wanted to vote a straight Democratic ticket, one would just put an X inside the circle at the top. I did.

Uncle Doc, influential Democrat

Uncle Doc had been a member of the Randolph Democratic Committee for years. Mom had a Missouri Blue Book from 1913 that had been sent to Uncle Doc because he was on the Democratic Committee. There may have been earlier ones. Mom said he was a young man when he joined. Uncle Doc's name, J.D. Rice, is in each of the Missouri Blue Books as on the Democratic Committee from Randolph County, Sheriton Township. The actual name of the Blue Book is Official Manual, State Of Missouri. You all have one for your year of birth except Sharon, who was born in Scottsdale.

Back to Uncle Doc. He became influential in the candidates the committee supported. I remember candidates coming to the farm to talk to him and being sent over to where he was working. There the candidate was in a suit and tie with nicely polished shoes, while Uncle Doc had on faded overalls, a blue shirt and work shoes. Not every candidate, but some.

I also remember hearing committee members asking Uncle Doc who he planned to support.

Uncle Doc met Harry Truman, shook hands with him and talked to him. Truman later became President.

Ninety candles

Uncle Doc went to Jefferson City to some Democratic Committee meeting in May 1960. He came back and happily told me that they had surprised him with a birthday cake with ninety candles on it. He said it looked beautiful with all the candles lit. I was so glad for him. We had celebrated his birthday just before he left, and had only put something like three candles on it so it would be easy for him to blow them out.

Uncle Doc really worked to elect the candidates he liked. He recommended them to people he was talking with and he arranged for Democrats who had no way to get to the polls to be picked up and driven there and back.

Uncle Doc the judge

Uncle Doc worked as a judge on election day. As he got older and was under stress, his handwriting got shaky. Mom worked as his secretary and did the writing. After Uncle Doc died, she became a judge.

Election day

Election day was strange. When we got home from school, there were no snacks waiting for us and Mom wasn't asking how our day went.

Usually, it was cold, but the roads were passable and Charley picked us up from school in his car. We went home to get Daddy, then to the voting precinct in Darksville so they could vote and get home before dark.

It was always well after dark when Mom and Uncle Doc got home. They had to help count the votes after the polls closed.

School, by the way, was always from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for all grades. We didn't have kindergarten.

Daddy, Uncle Doc and Albert Hooper were the school board the entire time we went to school at Hickory. Daddy was President, Uncle Doc was Secretary-Treasurer, and Albert was a board member.

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