Saturday, January 10, 2015

This is Home, Part 44 - Daddy stands by a friend, Uncle Doc

This is part 44 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Daddy stands by a friend

Daddy was a Mason at one time. Mom told me about it.

Albert Hooper was nominated for membership and was rejected. Daddy quit because he was being loyal to Albert. He said something like if Albert wasn't good enough to be a Mason, then the Masons weren't good enough for him. I think Mom said that some of them tried to change his mind.

Uncle Doc

Uncle Doc belonged to the Masons. He received his 50 year pin when he was older. I read somewhere that he belonged to the Shriners, but I don't know anything about the truth of that.

He had a more active social life than Daddy. Of course, he was single.

He used to go up to Maudie and Irvin Williams' house at night sometimes and play cards with them and talk.

Every now and then, he would also stay a few days with Albert Hooper and Zack and talk. I had the impression that Albert's farm was pretty isolated.

I think he also went to see Roscoe and Dora Mae. Mom told me that one time Roscoe was about to lose his farm and everything. It must have been around the Depression. Anyway, he asked Uncle Doc for help. Roscoe must have given someone a note, because if his things had been mortgaged, it wouldn't have helped. Everything was transferred to Uncle Doc's name. Knowing Uncle Doc, he had a lawyer do it. He always wanted everything legal.

After Roscoe paid back his debt, Uncle Doc transferred everything back to him.

I used to have different men telling me that they had gone to school to Uncle Doc. They all laughed and said he made the same speech each year at the start of school. It was something on the order of this: "I'm going to be your teacher this year. We have a great deal of work ahead of us. I'm going to help you all I can. We are going to get along just fine and you are going to do what I tell you. If you don't, I'm going to whip you."

I asked him one time if he really said that and why.

He said that he did say it. He said in those days, parents kept their children home to help with the farming. He said there were 16-year-old boys still in grade school and they were much taller and heavier than he was. He wanted them to respect him and, I think, be a little afraid of him. He said after the speech he never had any trouble with them.

I think Roscoe was one of his pupils. I seem to remember that he talked about Uncle Doc's speech.

Uncle Doc had a more serious and quiet personality than Daddy did.

I don't know how I would have gotten through grade school without him. He helped me with my lessons. I really had trouble with my arithmetic, especially with questions like this: Jack left home at 9 a.m. and drove 50 miles at 35 miles per hour, stayed three hours, then drove back home at 45 miles per hour. What time was it when Jack got home?

I hated that kind of question.

Uncle Doc helped me memorize things I had to memorize, like poetry. He listened to my spelling. Night after night, he sat at the kitchen table and helped me.

One time he was in the hospital for a week or two. Each night Daddy put his reading glasses on and sat down in his rocking chair in the living room by the lamp on the sideboard that Sharon has and helped me.

When Uncle Doc finally got out of someone's car out front, thanked the man for bringing him and started walking towards the house, Daddy breathed a very audible sigh of relief. Then he closed the book and we all went to meet Uncle Doc when he came in.

There was snow on the ground and Uncle Doc had on his heavy overcoat.

Uncle Doc was still helping me in high school. One year -- senior year maybe -- I took bookkeeping. They had us adding long columns of figures in our heads. I couldn't get the same answer twice, so Uncle Doc added them in his head. He didn't have any trouble.

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