My First Year

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic


My First Year

 

© 2020 by Jim Shipp

 

In 1947, dad had a new wife and a child on the way, but local employment in Hartselle, Alabama, was scarce, so he took a job as a surveyor’s assistant with Texaco, which required him to travel.

He and mom took the train to Amarillo, Texas, where quite a few of his mother’s relatives happened to live. They stayed with her side of the family in the city proper until they were able to find a place of their own, sharing a house with an older lady on the plains outside of town. Mom would later recall that the weather was frigid, the winds were cutting, and there was sand in and on everything.

I was born during the “Great Blizzard” of 1948. I firmly believe that is why I have always hated the cold and snow.

We were only in Texas for a few months when dad got his next assignment to Paso Robles, California. He went ahead to get things set up and we followed by train.

I have no memory of this time, of course, but I have seen photos of us at the beach on the Pacific Ocean, even though Paso Robles was well inland, so I assume that things went well for a while.

One day, dad’s crew stopped off at a bar in King City after work, where local patrons teased him so mercilessly about his Alabama overalls that a fistfight broke out. He put mom and I on a train to Birmingham a few days later and followed after he had wrapped things up on the West Coast.

I was then six months old.

We stayed with my paternal grandparents in Hartselle until dad got work with Wolverine in nearby Decatur, which made copper and aluminum tubing, and he was able to rent a tiny one-room house deep in the woods at the far north end of Peach Orchard Road.

It was there that I became at least semi-conscious. I remember the house’s plain wooden walls. There was a big oval pan, cream-colored enamel with a red rim, that covered two eyes of our stove. Mom used it to melt icicles retrieved from a nearby waterfall for water when the pipes froze. And I recall standing in the doorway with mom the day that dad brought our first car home – a dark blue 1946 Plymouth coupe.

In retrospect, I guess you could say that my first year was pretty full.


Submitted: December 15, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Jim Shipp. All rights reserved.

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sprinkly biscuit

This is really nice and I love your recall of memories, ...
SB

Tue, December 15th, 2020 7:38pm

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