This URL will connect you to some amazing North Carolina history:
Here you find a collection of film, most of which comes from North Carolina in the late 1930’s and early 40’s. The film is self explanatory, yet younger people might keep in mind it is “post-depression”, pre-World War 11, and pre-integration.
I lived in one of many small towns featured, Madison in Rockingham County, from 1943-1952. Now almost 75 years old, I was four when we moved there. As I viewed the film I realized that this was done before we moved there, and before I was old enough to remember much. School children, teachers, mill workers faces I didn’t know. Certainly I paid attention, remembering downtown stores, the town clock, and even horse drawn carts on the village main street. Occasionally a face would cause me to wonder, “…wasn’t that man a deacon in The First Baptist Church”, where my Dad was the minister. For the most part I hadn’t seen any of these faces since the 50’s.
And then “… DAMN! There is Ira”. A bolt of memory kicked in. There was Ira Paschal, with his satchel of GRIT newspapers. A nickel a copy. The USA TODAY in Madison.
Every village has them. Ira was a “not quite all there” riot, or one of”those guys” who joined Pompey Cardwell in entertaining the village at a high level. High level!
Certainly I had heard Dad’s lesson, pulpit and kitchen table, about the “less fortunate”, ah but fate enters the tale.
Fate was the fact that Billy Fulton lived only two houses away. And we were thick. Billy had at a remarkable early age diabolical outlook. Every thing from a pre-teen “pornagraphic memory” to “Uncle Louie”. “Uncle Louie” was just home from WW2, and taught us every dirty joke and limmerick the great war interchanged. I never saw him when he wasn’t bent over into the hood of his car, or talking about quail hunting. Or when Billy and I wandered up the hill for Billy to restock with xx rated material.
Free to roam it didn’t take Billy long to find Ira, and a whole new source of fun. “Get your ass over here. Bring Tuddy (Webster, one of many). Ira is selling GRITS, i just saw him.
Vee Bundy moved to Madison about the time we left. His Dad was the Superintendent of schools. Maybe Vee had a parental shove toward the fruits of sin as I did. Didn’t take Billy and Vee long to find each other. “Vee, there he is. The one and only, Ira Paschal. C’mon, I’ll show you.” Guess who.
Vee just sent me this tale:
Tom, how about sending me that information also.
I remember being in Sharpe’s Barber Shop and hearing a story about someone who had dropped a lighted cigarette in Ira’s coat pocket and the coat caught on fire. A week or so later, Ira returned the favor and burned up a new sport coat that the perpetrator was wearing. He was in the barber shop complaining about Ira messing up his expensive sport coat and Jack Carter told him that Ira probably felt the same was about the old leather coat that he was wearing. I remember thinking that the guy got what he deserved and my opinion of Jack Carter when up about tenfold because he obviously felt the same way.
This film is a godsend for us olders. While I can’t remember what happened on hole #7 on the golf course once getting to #9, I’ve still got some vivid memories of Madison, and my friend, Billy.
Want a treat? Find a family member or friend if you are fortunate to have one in their 80’s, from one of these North Carolina towns. Help them view their past. Comments I’ve heard go like this:
“Thanks for telling me about this. I saw my fifth grade teacher. I HATED HER GUTS, BUT SHE MADE ME WANT TO PROVE HER WRONG ABOUT ME.” DR. Tyson Jennette of Henderson
and,”…that boy right there–he was in the 8TH grade then. He didn’t make it back from the war. A lot didn’t”.
A belated thanks to Mr. H.Lee Waters.
A P.S. to Vee Bundy. I was angry at my Dad for a long time for taking me away from my buddies. And I some how resented you for a while, because you got my spot. In retrospect we all are probably better off. I mean mixing us in with Fulton, David Spear, Tuddy,Quate, Seele, and Ira?
NOTE: Should anyone have trouble finding the Water’s film, google 1. Duke University library 2. H. Lee Waters fim collection. 3. then call up the listed town(s) you wish to view. tp