My Dad’s 1956 Chevy

In an earlier post, I mentioned my dad’s 1956 Chevy which he hated with a passion. It was a two-toned blue car; it was really a pretty car.  He called it a lemon because something was always going wrong with it.  Once he got rid of it, he swore he would never drive another Chevrolet; but as it turned out, he did drive Chevys again.

Part of the story about Dad’s Chevy is another story about Maple Hill Church of Christ.  One of the first preachers at Maple Hill was Donald Hall.  He and his wife, Pat lived in Graves County and drove to Maple Hill every weekend so he could preach.  Someone would take them home for Sunday dinner; they came to our house several times.  Their first baby was a little boy named Gayle.  Everybody loved Gayle and all us kids would try to sit with Pat at church so we could hold him.  I spent time at their house too because Pat had a sister named Laura who was near my age.  They were like family to all of us.

One summer, Don and Pat invited the whole congregation (approximately 25 people) to their house for a big picnic.  Grandma Thomasson rode with us.  Now, Grandma was a sassy thing and would tell you really quickly what she thought.  So, we started to Graves County and had to drive through Kaler (which is near Symsonia).  Just past Kaler are three little bridges that run through the bottoms; tree limbs and brush cover the road signs along that way.  Unbeknownst to Dad, the State Road Department had been working on the road; and since the signs announcing that there were bumps in the road were hidden behind brush and trees, Dad continued down the road at the speed limit.  Now, Dad knew where Donald and Pat lived so he led the way with all the other folks following behind him in their cars.  There was probably a one-foot gap in front of the first bridge and Dad hit that thing going full speed.  He didn’t see it, but even if he had, he wouldn’t have had time to stop before hitting it.  I’m here to tell you that ole ’56 Chevy left the ground; Grandma Thomasson bounced up and hit her hip on the arm rest and screamed, “Here, what are you doing?”  She wasn’t hurt, but I can tell ya, she was not a happy camper.  I’m sure my mother had something sarcastic to say too but Cheryl and I were in the backseat with Grandma and we were trying hard not to laugh.  She would have smacked the snot out of us if she had caught us laughing at her.  The people in the car directly behind us later said they had never seen the bottom of a car before, especially while it was on the highway.  Dad had to buy a set of new tires.

We finally made it to the Hall’s house in Graves county and had a great time with friends and family.  Of course Dad’s episode with the bridge was the talk for a couple of weeks at church.

See ya next Wednesday.

Maple Hill Church

I was about six or seven years old when we started attending the Maple Hill Church of Christ in Marshall County, Kentucky.  The building was a little one-room block building situated on top of a hill with maple trees all around it, thus the name.  There were maybe ten people who first started attending and it finally grew to the size it is today.

There was a pot-bellied stove in the center of the room; and in the winter, everybody tried to sit as close to that stove as they could.  I remember Mom bundling Cheryl and me up when it snowed to make the drive to church.  There were very few reasons to miss church and snow wasn’t one of them.  When it did snow, Dad would put the chains on the tires and off we would go.  It seemed like it took forever; and since we were on a one-lane gravel road covered in snow, it was treacherous.  And it was really tricky if you met another car.  Once we got there, Dad would leave the car at the bottom of the hill and we walked up the hill to the building.  By the time we got to the building, we were wet and cold, and Dad still had to start a fire in the stove.

I don’t remember when there were enough people attending that we started having classes. Most of the time, we sang a lot of songs and one of the men would preach.  I guess that’s where I learned to love music and singing.

My mom sat with her friend Vivian; of course they sat on the second row right up front. Vivian was the sweetest lady you could ever know.  What was so cute about her was that every Sunday, Mom would ask her how she was doing and she would always say, “Oh, I have  fresh cold.”  Her granddaughter and I were good friends and we sat on the bench in front of Mom and Vivian; and I tell ya, if we so much as moved, she would reach up and pinch a plug out of us or yank our hair.  But, she was one of the best alto singers I have ever known and I learned how to sing alto while I was sitting on that bench in front of her, even though she did pinch me alot.

Now, I have to tell you a little story about Uncle Ernest, my dad’s brother, and what he did at Community Chapel Church one time.  (He’s the fourth from the left in the photo) I think I have told you in earlier posts that Uncle Ernest was probably the most mischievous of the brothers, but this episode took the cake. Before services, the men and boys would stand outside and shoot the breeze and smoke.  On this particular day, all the guys started into the building except Uncle Ernest.  He waited until everybody got into the building and picked up a handful of little rocks and threw them way up into the air so he could get into the building before they came down.  Let me add here that he could have been a major-league baseball pitcher if he had just disciplined himself a little better. Anyway, after he threw the rocks, he ran into the building and sat down.  The church building had a tin roof so you can just imagine the noise when all those rocks hit that roof.  And you know what, Uncle Ernest was the first person outside to see if they could catch whoever did this bad deed.

I have more stories about Maple Hill Church of Christ that I think you will enjoy.

See ya next Wednesday.


Feed Sack Dresses

Did you ever wear feed sack dresses or know of someone who did?

My Grandma Thomasson was a great seamstress and she made me several dresses from feed sacks. Feed sacks were just what they sound like; they were sacks that were filled with flour, seeds for planting, corn or chicken feed.  At first, they were just plain unbleached cotton but in 1925, the sacks began to be sold in colorful prints and were soon being used not only for dresses, but aprons, shirts and children’s clothing.  Feed sacks were also made into dishrags, dish towels, and such for household use.

By the late 1930’s there was competition to see which manufacturer could produce the most attractive and desirable prints.  Artists were hired to design these prints. This ended up being a good marketing ploy because the women of the house picked out flour, sugar, beans, rice, cornmeal and even the feed and fertilizer for the family farm based on which fabrics they liked best. Some sacks even had border prints for pillowcases. Now, if you were born after 1950, you probably don’t have a clue as to what feed sack dresses are.

Until I went to high school, most of my dresses were made by either Grandma or Aunt Avis or I wore my cousin’s hand-me-downs.  One of my favorite materials was gingham and I had several outfits made from different colors of gingham.  If you remember in one of my earlier posts, Aunt Avis made a gingham dress for my doll in the Fall Festival Doll Walk.

I remember one of my favorite store-bought dresses was bought when I made my first trip to the dentist.  I was really scared but my mom promised that if I didn’t cry, she would buy me a new dress and let me pick it out.  And, boy howdy, I sat in that chair and never shed a tear – I got my new dress too.  It was a silver-blue dress with dark blue velvet dots and a blue velvet collar.  Here I am wearing my new dress with my dad and little sister.

See ya next Wednesday.