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My Remembers

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"I grow up a dirt farmer and retired a dirt farmer. Never got rich and didn't want to be. My childhood stomping ground is now concrete, stores and houses. I remember the good times and bad. It was not the money we made but how to stretch that last dime. It was not the wind, rain or snow. It was about the love that flow. It was not the hot sunshine nor the clouds that hung low. It was the grace of God that help us swang that hoe. I want my grandchildren to understand. My grands, your grands and their grands." In 1929, near Plano, Texas, Eddie Stimpson, Jr., weighing 15-1/2 pounds, was born to a 19-year-old father and a 15-year-old mother. The boy, his two sisters and mother all "grew up together," with the father sharecropping along the old Preston Road, the route used by many freedmen trying to escape Texas after the Civil War. His childhood was void of luxuries, but full of country pleasures. The editors have retained the simplicity of Stimpson's folk speech and spelling patterns, allowing the good-natured humility and wisdom of his personality to shine through the narrative. "Tough time never last," he writes, "but tough people all way do." The details of ordinary family life and community survival include descriptions of cooking, farming, gambling, visiting, playing, doctoring, hunting, bootlegging, and picking cotton, as well as going to school, to church, to funerals, to weddings, to Juneteenth celebrations. This book will be of extraordinary value to folklorists, historians, sociologists, and anyone enjoying a good story. "My spelling is bad, my hand writing is bad, and my language is bad," Stimpson writes. "But my remembers is still in tack."

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Letter to my grands and your grands and there grands

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father had to learn every thing out of one book. Two at most.

Reading, math, and spelling was all they learn. This one of the reason I wrote this book, as reminder to those who can appreciate the advancement made. Not that we want to go back or look back. Remember Lot wife look back and turn to a pillow of Salt, Genesis 19:16.

How do you know where or how far you come if you don't know where you been? I wrote what I know and quote what the old men and women said and how they talk. Thank God they understand each other back then to get us where we are today.

We did not get this far by our selfs. Some body did not know how to read or write, but they pray to God and He heard ther prays and had mercy.

2 Timothy 2:14-15 tell us to remember and study for your own self and your own good. It tell us don't cut corners with the truth. It all way bad when you get money in your pocket to think that you come from the other side of the world when you only come from the other side of town.

I think it would be a good story to tell if I could answer the questions I have been asked about my grand parents and ther grand parents. But I don't have much of an answer. As a boy growing up I asked my mother and in later years asked my dad and they could not tell me much. So I thought some day you kids might want to no about your folk and the folk that I grew up with and where and how we made it in my growing up days.

 

My Growing Up Days

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My Growing Up Days

The best part of my life were my growing up days. I was born in 1929 in Collin County, Texas, in northwest Plano. If you look north of Spring Creek Parkway before the red light at

Preston Road, there is some shade trees there. This is where I were raise from a boy of three year until fifteen year old.

There have been a lot of beautiful land mark destroy in

Plano with many of good story behind them. This is one of the reason I pass by my birth place and where I were raise so I won't forget where I come from and how I got this far.

My parents, Eddie and Millie Stimpson, taught me the way of life. My mom taught me how to live. My father taught me how to work and survive, and by the grace of God I've live and survive three wars and a cruel world or you may say cruel problum of this world. God have gave me sixty-two and half years, and I've learned to love all and have patient. I went from a little house to a big house to no house. No matter what, whin or where or how, I'm still very proud to be the country farm boy of Collin County.

 

Changes on the Farm

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Changes on the Farm

As we continue life day in and day out, night after night the years creep by us before we even realize where they have gone. So as you read, let your mind drift back to the thirties and forties, and I will attempt to guide you through one of the most dramatic changes of the times and how effective it was as it touched the life of the farm famleys. Famleys were being seperated by the Depression and then after the prosperous period that followed, were seperated again by the war. This time young man and fathers left for city jobs or were called to war. Those left behind had to double and triple there work load.

It was once sun up to sun down. We soon found ourself working some time twelve to fifteen hour a day, which took us into the night especial during harvest.

As a boy growing up there were two different kinds of life involved in this story of my boyhood. As a black boy who run bare foot all summer and hole in shoes in winter, I came in contact with the men who were the big land owners and I realize they were an asset to the poor white or black famley who had no land nor a house to live in. You had three choices.

 

Famley Problum

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Farnley Problurn

All that have been said and did, what I have talk about was the good and some bad about my family living on the farm.

Thing did not go to well with Mom and Dad. He was a man that like women. And I think it was from the Stimpson genes.

It has been said that the Stimpsons were highly sexually attractive. Only those who are knows. All of the thing Dad did, he was still a very good provider, he work six and a half and seven day a week. He was not book educated, but he sure did no the farming and all way made good crops.

Also, out of all the arguing Dad and Mom had, he never raise his hand to hit her-even the time she and I walk five miles leaving Bessie Lee and Ruth home. We went to the house where Dad was visiting a woman. We peep in the window. The woman was sitting in Dad lap. Mom kick the door down. The woman ran out the back door and Dad got up and stroll on out to the car, Mother and I behind him. Whin we got back home

Mom jump out of the car, run into the house, got the shot gun and as Dad come in the door she raise the gun to shoot him, and Ruth and Bessie Lee standing beside her jump and swung down on the barrel. Without Ruth and Bessie Lee, Dad would have been shot gun dead, but all the shots went into the floor.

 

A Vision of What Was

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A Vision of What Was

The following is some thing that has been ask, just to jot my remember. By the research and question Ive ask, it help me to fill the remember that I had forgot, but if ask I can remember. As I write, in the back of my mind I ponder the thing I remember before I paint a pitchure, then put it on paper just the way I hear and see it. I don't write what I can't see or hear. From my remember I would like for who ever read or look at the pitcher to concentrate and visionalize as if you were there and I were narration you through my life, and the surrounding I grew up in.

The first house I live in that I can remember were whin I were about three. It were a shot gun house, tin top, located east of Preston Road near the creek bed. I remember because soon as we move there were a bunch of cows in the pasture and the weeds were high as I was. Mother miss me and she was standing on the small porch calling me. She said she seen the cow running and my head bouncing up and down. Whin I got to the little house of two room she chewed me out.

 

Famley Life

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Farnley Life

Farnley life during my growing up as a share cropper was not an easy life, and to make things comfortable the famley had to be very close such as knowing one anothers problums. You all sit down and ate together. Each member had their own duties to do and if one had a hard time doing their share, the other famley members would help out. If I chop the wood, my sisters and mother would pick up the chips and help carry the wood in the house. If some one come up with a game, the others would make the game work in a fun way. If we were in the field chopping cotton, if one got a clean row and one got a bad row, you help out. You had prayer together every night. You sit around and told everybody what you did that day. You went to church together every Sunday and prayer meeting on

Wednesday night. Mother would read the Bible to us.

We got our school work together. It was good for my mother to help get school work out because of her lack of finishing school. She was in the fifth grade whin she dropped out to get married. And she continued to hang around school whin she could until I was born. She learned schooling with me all the way through high school. Self taught education.

 

Getting a Wife

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Getting a Wife

One day I got to wondering how my mother and dad come to get married. Of course I no the boys and girls was very much acquainted because they all lived nabor to each other. They got to see each other whin they walk those three to seven mile to school together. In good weather they cut across the fields. In bad weather they went around on the roads.

They had an even better oppitunity to get closer to each other at the parties, especial during those days whin there was a party each week and the famleys would go together from house to house. There was all way sodie pop, ice tea, lemonade and for the grown up folks, beer, wine and whiskey. There was all way food too-bolonie, sandwich, fried chicken, potato salad and plenty cookies and cakes. And music. There was all way music. Uncle Devil Horse, my dad-dad, and grandmother brother, could really play the gitar and banjo. He would play for all the parties in and around the community, both black and white.

At those parties there was all way somebody there or came by to play the gitar or banjo, piano, or just beat on a pan or bucket. Those parties were not only an oppitunity for the boys and girls to get together but men and women who may not no each other might drop by for a good time. There was never no problum knowing whin the party was or where, especial when

 

Come on Kids, Lets Eat!

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Come on Kids, Lets Eatl

From about the time I was seven years old I've been cooking. During my early years most of your food were garden raised. Pinto beans, onions, cabbage, carrots, potatoes (Irish and sweet), corn (yellow dent and white), tomatoes, radishes, mustard and turnip greens, asparagus, dill, cucumber, and okra. Water mellon and cantalope was planted along with the cotton. A desenated spot in the field were picked out and the seed was drop in the planter box with the cotton seed. Every thing you raise in the garden were harvest and canned for winter months whin there were no going to town but maybe once a month.

Canning season was very hard work. There were always plenty of plums and wild blackberries, peaches for jelly whin corn were ripe. You pull, shuck, silk, cut off the corn, and can.

Whin it was harvest you shuck and shell, pick out the good grain, and made hominy. Shell corn were taken to the mill and grind up for corn meal.

Pinto beans were pick early for green beans, and some time there were fresh Irish potatoes mix with the green beans with a piece of dry salt for season. All the vegetables were canned in fruit jars. Finely my mother were able to get a canner and a pressure cooker and a can sealer. Cabbage were use to make chow chow. Most farming famleys main meals consist of red beans, dry salt or ham bone, potatoes, corn bread, biscus and gravy-breakfast, lunch, and supper. Day in and day out, year round.

 

Keep Clean

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Keep Clean

During my growing up days at school and at home sanatary was taught. In school we had a class period desenated to health. We learn how to brush our teeth and keep our body clean. You all no that most famley kept clean but there were some that did not keep clean nor keep the kids clean, so in school the teacher would teach kid how to keep clean, especial the girls.

At home mother was very strick on cleaness. First thing we were taught how to keep the house clean, wash dishes and food before cooking. Make sure your pans are clean.

People may not no this these days, that people did not take a bath every day back than. But in my home we keep clean by taking a bath at least two or three time a week. And it made no diffrent if you taken a bath at five in the evening, whin bed time come, you had to wash your face, hand, and feet. In the morning we brush our teeth and wash up or wipe down, whatever you want to call it. We never had any tooth paste so we use soda and salt to brush our teeth.

 

Sud Busting Day

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Sud Busting Day

I remember whin I was five or six we kid had to get up early on certain days. Wash day was one of those days. At night before wash day Mother would take the tub down to the well and fill the tub with water. And whin Dad come in from the field he had to come down the trail by the well to the house. So

Mother would watch whin Dad start to the house. She would meet him at the well so he could help her carrie the tub of water. I remember this because while mother was drawing water we kid would play in the tub, or try to. Mother would say,

Get outter my wash water. I don't want no dirtin it!

Whin we kids was growing up we were all way in my mom site-where ever she was we was, or in hollering distance. If she were busy and we kid were playing some place she would call up one by one by name until we answer. She had special concern on wash day. Everybody know of some kid, black or white, who got killed by falling in boiling wash pot. I guess that the concern she had, especial whin Bessie Lee was out of site.

 

Recration or Play Time

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Recration or Play Time

I suppose all kid think of nothing but playing, and my growing up was the same. As I think back on those days I remember there were known games and there were creative games. I think I enjoy playing most whin mother would play with us.

There were never any store bought toys except maby on

Xmas. There might be a Tom Mix or Lone Ranger cap gun for me and a doll for each of the girls. The girls all way got a black doll. Mother would help the girl make clothes for them. That was good for the girls because it taught them to sew. I'm sure it help Ruth. The size of famley she had, she had to make clothes.

She still do a lot of sewing. I don't no about Bessie Lee. She didn't take time to do any thing but tear up and stir up trouble.

In winter whin we could not go outside, or after school, we play jacks, pitty pat cards, and dominoes. We had Chinese checkers. All five of us would play at once. My Dad and I would play checkers while my mother and sisters play jacks. Some time we could get mother to play hide in seek. If there were snow we get old tubs, tires, boxes and use for sled. We would push each other and slide down the hill behind our house. If the water in the stream was froze hard enough we would skate on the icy stream. There was a lot more snow then than now.

 

Medicines

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Medicines

Doctors and medicine was out of the question in my young days. I only went to the doctor two time before I reach the age of eighteen-once whin I was scalded with hot water, and once whin my leg was broke. My home was quarantee once whin I was seven or eight because my sisters had scarlet fever, but I never did.

My young sister was very dangerous and destructive while I cooked breakfast. One morning whin I was ten or eleven I fryed my two sisters eggs and I boiled mine. We had got a three burner oil stove. While standing over my boiling egg I called my sisters and said, Don't you wish you had boiled your eggs.

Come see how my eggs are boiling.

My young sister were too short to see in the pot, so she grab the stove to pull up and see. The stove tip over and the pot of boiling water flip right on my chest. I had a T shirt on. I grab and begin to pull off my shirt and all the skin came with it. The deepest spot was in the holler of my right chest pit and ran down in the shape of a hump back camel. My sister never got a drop of water.

 

School Day

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School Day

I were the smart one with the dumb idea.

I don't really know if the kids these day are any diffrent than the days I were growing up. Probly the oppitunity are better now than they were whin I grew up. Studying habits are the same. Parents still have to make kids get their home work and try to make them understand education is the best thing for you. For me whin I was going to school my greatest ambition was to get a good education. But at the same time my dumbest idea were to get a education without studying. I soon learn better. I guess I was pretty dumb in school because of the four wall. I could never think very well whin I was box in. Or let me say force to do something even if it was for my own good.

My sister were much diffrent. Ruth were the smartest of us all. Bessie Lee was smart enough to get by. She was good at doing things and studying but did it only whin she had to.

Mother had to keep us seperated doing our home work. Bessie

Lee would not let no body do any. She could find the most unusual thing to do to interrupt your study even if she was on the other side of the house. She would do thing like start coughing out loud and continue. She would whisle, sing, or keep calling some body. Even at school she had to be put by her self. Most of the time she had to sit by the teacher. My biggest problum was whin I got old enough to go to school, Mother had all ready taught us the school basics: counting, time tables to the threeses, and reading.

 

After School Trouble

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After School Trouble

I suppose there is times whin people take thing for granted, even my self, but down through the years I learned that obidiance payoff. Here is some things I have thought about for years and more as I get older and this is what it is. There must be one of the strongest ties in the world between mother and child. In my case I no it was. I can remember as plain as day that every time there were some thing bother me or worrie me my mother would sense if there were danger in front of my day to day activities. She would detect it and remind me not to go or do a certain thing. During my growing up years from the time I was big enough, and my dad taught me to hunt and my mother and grandmother taught me to fish, they could not keep me off the creek fishing or out of the woods hunting. There are a cupple of time I can recall that mother stop me and others from possible serious damage to my life as well as some one else.

The time was late in the fall. I had a fight in school and I think it was one of the most serious and damage fight in my young years. It was noon one day at school that I had a argument with a girl. By two-thirty recess I had forgot about it.

 

Hussling for Survival

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Hussling for Survival

As far back as I can remember work was part of my famleys every day living. Starting back whin, I was told that my Dad had work all his life. Whin his family move to Plano from the country, he move in with his uncle and family. There he work for room and board. He did as all other kid at an early agechop wood, help in the fields. He learn how to farm, such thing as how to harness and hitch up a team of horses, he learn to plant and set the plows to plow corn and cotton. He learn about counting acres in a field. At twelve year old he went out on his own with Ray Haggard. He raise his first crop as a share cropper. The money he made on cotton the first year went to his mother Corie Stimpson. I think it was about $180. His mother put a roof on her house. That about all I learn about what Dad did that so special at that age.

Ray say he could all way depend on Pete (what he call my dad) to get the job did. By the age of fifteen he was often used as a straw boss, even to some of the older men. A straw boss was responsible for keeping drinking water, sharpening chopping hoes, moving from one field to another and the welfare of the hands. The word "hands" mean the peoples the straw boss is in charge of to see the job is did right.

 

Sending Messages without a Phone

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Sending Messages without a Phone

Most message as I remember were carried or transport by the boss man or woman of the farm you stay on, and that made every body no what every body no, so it was hard to keep any secret. There were cars, telephone, horse back. The most prompt message were the white rag-big enough to see for miles. There were plenty of open space on the farms and to send a message from farm famley to farm farnley, if there were a emergency such as death or sickness, some one would get up on a hill or in a clearing where they could see the other house or the field where you were working, and wave the white rag until some one would notice and wave back a white rag. And on and on, house to house and field to field. Sometimes the message would travel real fast if there were peoples in every field working.

I remember one incident whin a lady were very sick and died, the message were sent by a white sheet from the famley to our famley to find out what was wrong. Once you got the white rag signal some one would go to that famley before the day was over to see what was wrong. If some of your famley in town was in trouble some of the white peoples would call the other and the other would call the other until the message got to you. Most of the country farm famley had a car or horse to transport message. Eventual every body would get told. These days even with all the modern message technology, if some thing happen next door you still don't no. In the old days people had much more responsibility and concern about one another famleys.

 

Domestic Animals

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Domestic Animals

Horses, mule, cows, hog, goats, sheep, chicken, turkey, duck, goose, pigeon. There may be many other, but these are the animals I my self is most familiar with. Each animal has a distinction of it own.

Cow can be about as wild as any animal I know if a man or some one is not around them all the time. All cow can become a milk cow after ther first calf but you have to train them, and even the best train milk cow will some time kick you and your milk over while you have them in a stall. To prevent this you put leg hobble on. Also each cow no ther own stall where they eat and be milk. Cow are very good mother and very protective of the herd they with. During the day or night whin the calf are fed, the cows will bed down ther babies and at least one mother cow will stay there with them.

A cow have a steady feeding habit. The only time they are not eating is whin they are lying down or some thing unusual enter the field where they are, such as dog, deer, hogs, a strange person, even rabbits. They will stand still in ther track and watch what ever it is until it out of site or come too close to ther position, and if this happen they have a certain bellow and all take up a defense position, putting all the young in the middle or between them and the danger.

 

Hunting Wild Animals

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Hunting Wild Animals

Mother would ask which way are you going? Don't go off and stay till dark, and stay out of them thick woods.

This brought up the question of where I was to go hunting.

They ask me had I ever been hunting in the wooded bottom west of the Shepton School and Church. I tell them no lie. I said yes. And they were furious and told me I was never never to go beyond the school hunting. I ask why and said I can all way kill some rabbit down there, referring to, as they call it, the bottom or the Jungle Bottom. Dad said that place was so thick you could get lost or tangle up in the thick brush and could not find your way out. He told me that it had wofes, black bear, bob cat and black panther and God knows what else. This was back in the thirties and the bottom was a untame jungle.

They said that even deer had venture in there also.

The creek which was name White Rock Creek started far up north of us and run along Preston Road criss crossing Preston some place as far as a cupple of miles one side east or west of

 

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