Thursday, August 14, 2008

Growing Up in Jefferson City

Guest Blogger for Today is my husband, Dub (W.B.)
Hi there,
I'd like to tell you some of my memories of growing up in Jefferson City. We moved to Jefferson City when I was three months old, and my dad was a miner who worked in the zinc mines, shoveling zinc ore. When I was three years old, some rocks fell on him and injured him. He lived a short time after that. I never really knew him. I had an older brother, Howard, and an older sister, Johnnie, and a younger sister, Bonnie, who was only a little more than a year old when our dad died.

When he died, the zinc mines paid my mother insurance money, and we used that money to build a small four room house, near the Carson-Newman College, and near Mossy Creek (only about a block and a half away), and there was enough left over for some other needs.

My first knowledge of life in Jefferson City involved a Maltese cat who did his business on my gray overcoat My brother, Howard, took the cat and threw it into Mossy Creek. The cat returned home looking pretty, clean and healthy. I don't know what happened to the cat after that. We may have thrown the coat away after the cat messed it up. I don't recall for sure.

We went fishing in Mossy Creek and caught suckers and minnows and rode a paddle boat on Mossy Creek that belonged to someone else. We rode from where we got on it down to the mill race and then had to turn it around and come back home. We paddled it up to the head of the creek and had to go under a railroad bridge that was just culverts and duck our heads and go on.

We also went swimming in the old mine hole at the quarry. One time, when I didn't know how to swim, we had a little part of the water that was shallow where we went when we couldn't swim. We crawled around and got some motions of swimming and as we got more experience, we would move out a little farther. This area was called "Little Bitty" because of the little bitty kids that learned in it. One time when I almost drowned was when I jumped on a water-soaked log which was between Little Bitty and a rock crossing called Snake. I saw the log and thought I would jump out on it. When I did, it went down and could not hold me up in the water. I went down and hit the bottom with my feet, would bounce back up and holler "Help". I did that at least three times before Jr. Collins heard and rescued me by the hair of my head. He set me down on Snake (the rock). I had to start my learning back in Little Bitty all over again.

We also went swimming in the creek where there used to be a bridge that led to Dandridge. We always swam nude, called "skinny dipping" because it was only we boys who went swimming together. We swam in Shel Emert's field where Mossy Creek ran; where he put his milk cans in to cool. We dammed up the creek to make it deeper and stood out in the water to get used to how cold the water was before we started to swim in it.

We also went frog hunting on Mossy Creek. We had gigs to spear the frogs and carried carbide lights or flashlights to shine on them. One time when we were hunting them, we walked over through a pig lot and scared the pigs, and started running every which way and it was every man for himself. With the frog gigs in our hands, it was a wonder that we didn't hurt one another.

My brother and I once saw a heron and tried to corner and catch it. It was the first time we had ever seen such a big bird. We didn't get it. Another time, we were in the same field and we accidentally set the field on fire with a match. We tried to put it out with big tree branches (unsuccessfully) and then took off running. It burned up the whole field.

Near the place where Carson-Newman had their end-of-year picnic, and at an earlier time they got their water supply, a zinc mine was started up during World War II. It was called Mossy Creek Mines. This was down from Mountcastle Street on Carson-Newman's property.

{from Grammy: Hey you all, Gramps will be back tomorrow to write more of his early years memoirs. I checked on Imazo this afternoon and she is doing fine. The dr. told her this morning at her appt. that her eye is looking good. (her grandson, Tom, took her for the appt. this morning.) Hope you all have a blessed evening and may you feel God's love each day. See you tomorrow.}

4 comments: TN said...

Grammy, I'm sure glad you didn't drown! Oh, I know that was scary! TN said...

Oh Grammy, I'm sorry...I just didn't read the first line good enough. I thought you were the one who almost drowned. Sorry! I'm ALSO glad HE didn't drown! LOL

Tanya said...

Jefferson City was even more country than now !!!??? I love both of you and am excited to finally know where to find your blog. Love you...

Unknown said...

HA...I love the Little Bitty story...isn't that just like life...sometimes we just have to start over again.

Love you Dad...