Porterdale Mill on the Yellow River
NAMED for: Oliver S. Porter, Mill Owner



Porterdale, Georgia
(Period: 1932 - 1948)
Author Prentis L. Ollis

Porterdale was my birthplace on January 18, 1932.  I moved to Cedartown, Georgia in 1948. The following is what I remember about Porterdale and it’s surrounding area, during the sixteen years that I live there.  Although we lived on Hazel Street in Porterdale when I was born I remember very little about that address.  When I hear people talk about Hazel Street I vaguely recall living there.  I do recall a visiting preacher that was visiting there, I do not remember the preacher’s name, but I do remember that he drove a huge car, with a wooden  steering wheel.  It was a coupe and had a large round radiator cap with a temperature gauge, similar to a thermometer.  He called his car ‘Jeremiah.’  Mom and Dad worked in the Cotton Mills while we lived here.  At some point Dad started preaching full time and we had to move out of the ‘Company’ housing. The whole town was owned by the Bibb Manufacturing Company.  There was a small church just out side Porterdale, heading West, on Highway 81. There were three rooms built onto the rear of this church and this is where we lived for several years.  There was no inside plumbing,  no electric power.  We used kerosene lamps to see and a ‘pot belly’ stove for heating.  The place did not have any insulation.  I can remember the pipe running from the stove into the ceiling used to turn red from heat and we would still be freezing.  I remember riding the school bus to Porterdale Schools.  When the weather was good I would walk the one and half miles to school.  I could sleep a little longer if I walked.  It was a very long bus ride, since I got on at the second stop on the route.  Using the oil lamps to study by was difficult for me, but Dad thought it was no problem since he had to do a lot of his Bible studying by the same lamps.

These were very hard years for Mom and Dad.  I can remember hearing them talk after we had gone to bed, wondering where we would get food for the next day.  Aunt Montine, Dad’s sister, usually had a few extra beans.  It seems that some of the church folks came to church and would bring a few food items.  There were two families that were very generous with their food supply, since both of them lived on a farm and grew most, if not all, of their food.  They always provided some meat, eggs, and milk.  One family was a relative of Mom’s, Corine and Edgar Chapman.  The second family were church members, the ‘Seabolt’s.’  One of their sons, Dallas, would later marry my sister, Jeanette.  If it had not been for the generosity and love of these two families during this period I am sure we would have gone to bed hungry some nights.  I remember on one visit to Corine and Edgar’s I was involve in an incident that gave everyone a good laugh.  They had a row of chicken nest about six or seven feet above the ground.  The nests were nailed to the side of a barn and had one piece of wood with small cross pieces nailed across and led from the ground to each of the nests.  These ‘ladder’s’ were not built for little boys, but you know boy’s.  Anyway I climbed up one of  these ladders and picked the eggs.  There were so many eggs that I stuffed them in my pockets, besides I needed my hands to hold on.  On my descent to the ground I had to bend my knees, and every time I did this I broke the eggs in my pockets.  By the time I got to the ground both of my front pockets were a real mess.  Everybody had a good laugh about this incident.

There was a service station with a small grocery located next to the Church.  It was owned and ran by a Mr. Lee Farrol.  I remember almost every time I got my hands on a penny I ran there to get a piece of candy or chewing gum.  Mr. Farrol always made sure that I got my money’s worth.  Some time I would find a penny in the Church yard, but I would always take it to Mom and Dad before I would run and spend it.  Keep in mind that this was not a very big store, I am sure it was no more than 15’ by 15’,  but he had a big candy display.  You could always get a real nice soda pop for a nickel.  The gas pumps were the type that had to be pumped by hand, and on a few occasions, Mr. Farrol would give me a RC Cola if I would keep the tanks pumped full.

During this period there were very few cars.  Dad would start a couple of hours before Church and go haul the folks to church, and then would have to give them a ride home after church.  Also, there were several farm families who would drive their horse and wagons to Church on Sundays.  Sometimes one of the families would invite us for Sunday dinner and I would get to ride on the wagon to their place.  I always thought this was a lot of fun.   But it was a lot more fun when I got my driver’s license, because I became the chauffeur to haul the folks to and from Church.

One real big event happened while we live behind the Church.  It was May the 12, 1939, my brother Jackie was born there.  I remember the day that happened, the Seabolt family were there and us ‘guys’; Mr. Seabolt, Dad, Dallas, and his brother R. L. and myself were outside near the water well,  when someone came out an announced that I had a baby brother.

While living behind the Church, one day I found a long cigarette butt in the yard.  I slipped this in my pocket and later went into the house and climb up in a chair and got a match.  I did not know that Mom saw me get the match.  So I went out into the woods behind a very big tree and squatted down, put the cigarette butt in my mouth and struck the match.  As I was about to light the cigarette Mom jumped out from behind the tree and yelled “Prentis what are you doing?”  Needless to say I was frighten to death.  It was many years before I decided to try to smoke another cigarette.

At some point the Bibb Manufacturing Company allowed Mom and Dad to live in one of the Company’s houses in Porterdale. I think one of the reasons for letting us move into one of the Company’s houses was that most of the members of the Church lived in Porterdale and the Company provided housing for all the preachers attending the other churches in town.  I remember moving there, we now had inside plumbing and electric lights.  It was on Elm Street, on a part called lower Elm.  The houses were well built and you could stay fairly warm during the winter. This house was only three rooms, but the rooms were at least  two times, maybe three times the size of  those rooms behind the Church.  I can remember shortly after we moved there I got the mumps and had to lie in bed all day for several days.  I recall there was someone painting the outside of the house and the smell sure bothered me.

Shortly after we moved to Porterdale I got a job delivering the Atlanta Journal.  This was a good job.  I had about 50 customers, and I was paid based on my collection rate each week.  If I was ever lucky enough to collect from all the customers each week I would earn $2.35.  There were very few, if any, times that I collected from all the customers in a given week.  I remember that I earned around $1.50 each week.  This was a seven day per week job, rain or shine. It got awfully cold on some Sunday morning’s when I had to get out by six o’clock.  Most folks wanted their Sunday paper early in those days.  I remember getting bit by dogs several times during this job.  I kept this job for several years, it was good pay and many folks would have loved to have had this job.  I did have other jobs while I was at Porterdale.  I had a job helping a man cut cabbage, clean off the dirt, load onto a two and a half ton truck, then haul to the Atlanta Farmers Market.  Another job was cutting fire wood.  We would go to the lumber yard and get a load of slabs and bring to the saw.  We sawed the slabs into the proper length, then split the wood.  Then we would haul to a customer.  I remember this was some real work, but I could make fifty cents a day.  When I became older and visited my Grandparents in Cedartown for a few weeks I worked in something like a Rose’s.  One of the hardest jobs I ever had was when we left Porterdale and moved to Cedartown.  I got a full time job working in a Laundry on South Main Street in Cedartown.  I loaded the big washers and then after they were finished washing I then move the clothes from the washers to the dryers.  Those wet clothes weighed a ton.  It was almost more than I could lift.  I had to use a long stick something like a boat oar, to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer, since the clothes were so hot you could not handle with your hands.  The temperature was always around 100 degrees in the area where I worked.  But I hanged in there until I got a job working as a soda jerk in a drug store, besides we needed the money to eat.  I gave most of what I made to Dad.  During the time I was working at the Laundry, Dad was running a men’s clothing store in Cedartown.

While living on lower Elm Street I recall there was a relative of Mom’s, his named was Uncle Jeff Capes, who ran a dairy several  miles from town.  He delivered milk and butter, house to house, using horse and wagon.  At that time farmers fed their hogs anything they could get their hands on.  We saved table scraps and Uncle Jeff would pick them up on his rounds twice a week and would pay ten cents for what we had saved.  By this time my sister, Jeanette, had got big enough to want to spend money. We would alternate the money from the scraps she would get it on one pickup and me the next.

One thing that stands out in my mind about these years was that Dad was gone a lot of the time.  Having one of the few cars, among the church folks,  he was always busy hauling church members to and from the Atlanta Hospital’s.  It seemed that someone was always in an Atlanta Hospital and Dad was either visiting and or taking some of the families to visit their sick.

While living on lower Elm Street I remember there was a big dairy about 300 yards in back of our house.  Some times we could go there and help do some small chores, like cleaning the milking stalls and earn a half-pint of chocolate milk.  I saved enough money to buy a bicycle, it was real old and had one of the pedals broken off.  I learned to ride it with only one pedal, if I was bare footed I used my big toe to turn the sprocket.  I had difficulty going up hills, but I was one happy boy having my very own bicycle.  I do not ever remember getting that pedal fixed.  I learned what an Indian Cigar was, something that looked about like a big green stringed bean, but was brown in color and you could light it and smoke it like a real cigar.  I remember getting into only one fight while I was a little fellow.  I think I was in about the seventh grade and a boy known as Sonny Boy Prince and me got into a fight at school.  I do not remember what it was about, but the teacher sent us home, we lived across the street from each other.  The teacher sent me first and she was going to send Sonny Boy about ten minutes after I left.  So about half way home I hide in some bushes,  sure enough it was not long before Sonny Boy came along and I jumped out and we had at it.  I remember getting the best of him, he left running for home with a bloody nose.  I later had to go and apologize to both Sonny Boy and his mother.  The only other mischief I  recall while on lower Elm was cutting down a lot of trees on someone else’s property without permission.  There was this big grove of pine trees about 15 to 20 feet tall and 4 to 6 inch’s diameter.  Well several of us boys decided that we would build us a Teepee.  We chopped down about 20 to 25 of these tress and trimmed the limbs off and put them up all around on one very large tree.  Then took the branches and placed them on these slanted poles and we had a Teepee that would house about 15 to 20 folks.  When the owner found out what we had done, he was very up set at first, but later said that boys will be boys.  However, I did get a good spanking for this incident.

One Christmas while we were living on lower Elm, Santa Claus brought me a Daisy Air Rifle.  I was real excited having received this gun.  However, Mom was not as excited as I.  She eventually took the Air Rifle away from me.  She was afraid I would hurt someone or get into some kind of trouble, if I were allowed to parade around the neighborhood with this gun over my shoulder.  The Air Rifle was returned and traded for some less offensive toy, which I do not recall.

At some point we moved from lower Elm Street up to the top of the hill on Elm Street.  There were four rooms on the first floor, with a very large room upstairs.  This was  really a nice house when compared to all the others we had lived in. We needed the room since my second sister, Mary Ann, had been born while we lived on lower Elm.  Being the oldest child I was allowed to have the big upstairs area, in which I setup a work table on which I would build model airplanes.  Those were models made of balsam wood covered with paper, and had a rubber band that you could wind up and set it on the ground and it would “taxi” across the yard.  I got to making those things and would put them in a wagon and pull around the neighborhood and get all the little kids crying for their Mom’s to buy them one.  I sold several of them each month.  Another thing I was very good at was playing marbles. We had the ideal place to play this game.  You needed a big level spot of ground with no grass, where you could draw out your playing area.  One of the favorite marble games was where you would draw a big round circle, the size depending on the skill of the players, generally it would be five or six feet in diameter.  The players would each ante up an agreed number of marbles, which would be placed in the middle of the circle.  We would ‘lag’ to a line to determine the shooting order, the one getting closet to the line would shoot first.  Sometime there would be a hundred marbles anted up when the game started.  It was a form of gambling because you got to keep all the marbles you shot out of the circle.  I always had plenty of marbles.  In fact I would lend some out to my friends, but I kept real close count of how many and to whom I had lent marbles to.

Another thing that we ‘older’ boys did was build what we called race wagons.  Those contraptions ranged from very simple to highly sophisticated machines.  The simple ones was a two by four about five feet long and two crossed two by fours about 18” long at each end.  The front two by four would have a single nail or bolt attaching it to the main five foot two by so that it could be turned to steer the wagon, while the rear two by was nailed in a fixed position where the seat was nailed.  The short cross two bys would have a medal axle with two wheels attached.  The wheels would be of any type, mostly iron pulley’s that had been thrown out of the Cotton Mills, which we converted to wheels.   You were real lucky if you came across some wheels from an old discarded ‘little red wagon’.  Some of the guys that were lucky and came across the building material would convert these ‘wagon’s’ into real cars.  They had trunks, spare wheels, dash with drawn in instruments, wooden fenders, bumpers and running boards.  We had developed a real neat steering system.  The materials needed were:  Prince Albert Tobacco can, a broom handle, leather straps, and a wheel.  These items put together made a very exact steering system.  We had gone into the woods and found a very steep hill where there were some large trees around.  We would lay out the track on the steepest part and have it turn in and out between the trees.  We had some turns we called ‘dead man’s’ curve.  We had several guy’s that fell off or did not make the turn while descending the hill.  We got up to some reasonable speeds, especially if we could get a hold of some oil to put on the wheels and axles.  Those were the fore runners of the soap box derby race cars.

Another memory of living on upper Elm Street was there was a young man, I guess he was twenty years old at the time.  His name was Edwards and he sang in a Gospel Quartet, and was on the local radio.  Many nights we would already be in bed, but not a sleep when Mr. Edwards would come home. On his walks home you could hear him approaching and fading out as he passed the house, he would be whistling some of his songs, I have never heard anyone that could whistle like him.

can remember when I received a real talk from my Dad for committing a no-no.  I would have rather gotten a spanking anytime than to have my Dad give me a talking.  Anyway it was on a Wednesday night and we had a championship basketball game scheduled.  It also happened that in those days we had church scheduled for Wednesday nights.  Mom and Dad would not give in to let me miss church and go play basketball, although I explained that this was a championship game and I was the starting center.  Anyway I went to church that started around 6 or 6:30 PM, the basketball games did not start until 7 or 7:30 PM.  Just when church got underway I slipped off and ran the one and half miles to the gym.  I arrived at the gym just as the game was about to start and rushed to the dressing room and got changed and was immediately put into the game.  Although I was exhausted from all the running to get there I played my best game ever, by scoring 19 points that night.  We won the game, but I knew I had lost at home.  Mom and Dad both were waiting for me and they did not care that we had won the game and that I was the local town hero.  The gym was packed and the entire place shook every time I scored points.  Anyway I got a real good talking to and did not make any plans to run off and play basketball again, if I was scheduled for church.

remember my school years at Porterdale being very enjoyable.  I remember my first grade teacher was from Villa Rica, Georgia.  We passed through Villa Rica on our way to Cedartown and I recall getting Dad to stop and visit with her one time.  I think one of my favorite subjects when at Porterdale was algebra.  I remember my final exam paper from the tenth grade was hung on the school bulletin board for a long time as an example.  Other than the one fight, the only other so-called bad incident that occurred while in school at Porterdale happened in the tenth grade History class.  It was the first day of class and the teacher was a Miss Eubanks.  She had taught my mom when she had gone to school there.  She was an old lady and with more wrinkles on her face and neck than I had ever seen.  She really looked old.  She was in the front of the class explaining how interesting history was and that it was a very easy course if you would only pay attention in class.  While she was explaining this I leaned across to a girl named Evelyn Christian and said:  “It should be easy for her, because she has lived all the way through history.”  Miss Eubanks asked me to share what I had said with the rest of the class, talking in class was a real no-no.  I would not, but little Evelyn blurted out: “He said that history should be easy for you since you had lived all the way through it.”  Of course I was immediately dispatched to the Principle’s office to report what I had done.

guess I should say a few words about our little town of Porterdale.  It was a typical mill town like many scattered around the state of Georgia during this period.  The ‘Company’ owned everything; the houses, schools, both for backs and whites, stores, had their own police force, an appointed mayor, large beautiful churches.  The people that worked there seem to be real happy, since they were dirt poor and had move into town from the farms.  I guess if you have absolutely nothing and have an opportunity to earn a little, and considering this was during the “Great Depression Years”, you could be fairly happy.  The Company did seem to take care of their people.  We had some of the best schools around, both physical structures and teachers.  They had built one of the best gyms in the nation at the time,  It had beautiful hardwood floors, one of the first basketball glass backboards.  Huge locker rooms and showers for both boys and girls.  We had tumbling mats, volleyball, ping pong tables, etc. almost anything you would want or need in the way of a gym.  It could seat about three thousand people.  The seats were up above the playing courts, real nice for the spectators.  When the gym was dedicated in 1939, Joe Louis, Heavy Weight Boxing Champ of the World, came to Porterdale and refereed some wrestling matches.  I was not able to go see him since I could not come up with the money for a ticket.  However, I do remember some of us kids did manage to climb up an outside fire escape ladder to the second level and get a peep of Joe in the ring.  There was a very large swimming pool.  There was an area for the older men to gather and play poker and they had a ticker tape on which they received plays and scores of baseball games that were being played around the country. Remember no television and very little radio at this time. The business part of the town consisted of the Post Office, Grocery Store, Drug Store, Department Store, and  what we called, a dime store, something like the modern day Rose’s.  In the Grocery  Store was a lunch counter where you could get real good hamburgers and hot dogs, if you had the money.  But the one place where we kids spent most of our time was at the Drug Store.  There was a big soda fountain and several wrought iron tables and chairs, we met there before school, during lunch, and after school.  This was the in place.  Large milk shakes cost ten cents.

There were three large cotton mills in Porterdale, two located on one side of the Yellow river and one on the other side of the river that flowed through the center of town.  The two mills generated their own electric power.  The third mill was located a short distance from the river and was said to be the largest mill of its type in the world.  It was three stories and covered 12 to 15 acres.  These mills ran twenty-four hours per day five days per week.  On some occasions they would run six days a week.

Towns built on a river normally have special relationships between the people and the river.  This was the case between Porterdale and the Yellow River that flowed in a Southerly direction through the center of town.    The housing villages were also located on both sides of the river.  The river was used for fishing, baptisms, electric power, and yes we had several places where we could go skinny dipping.  We had one very nice skinny dipping spot, where we had a rope tied in a tree and we could swing almost half way across the river and drop with a big splash.  There were a lot of rock shoals where we could go and fine fish, frogs, turtles, and snakes that were caught in the rock pots.  The bridge was a span of metal framing and decked with creosote treated wood.  There was a pedestrian walk way on each side of the bridge.  During the summer time, the wood would get extremely hot. We were normally bare footed and on a hot July or August day one could hardly make it across bare footed without jumping up on the hand rails to let ones’ feet cool a little.  We lived on the opposite  side of the river from the schools.  Therefore, we had to cross the bridge at least twice a day.  My sister Jeanette used to tell Mom that I would run off and leave her to cross the bridge alone when we were returning from school.  She was wearing shoes, while I was bare footed.  I had to move out to keep from blistering my feet from that hot creosote wood planking.

Porterdale had a very large hotel constructed in the English Tudor style.  I never knew who would come and use the hotel, but there always seemed to be someone staying there all the time.  It had a huge front porch and in the evenings when you passed by there was always plenty of folks sitting on the porch, in big old rocker’s reading the news paper.  Maybe people coming to do business with the mill.  The mills were a very big operation, we had our very on private railroad that operated between mills and then connected to the main rail that left town.  In addition to the hotel we had a big boarding house that was always full.  Then there was a large modern dormitory down by the river that housed all of the school teachers.  It seemed to me that most of the teachers were unmarried.  One interesting thing about our teachers was that in the evenings they would leave their dormitory and travel in pairs and walk through the neighborhoods.  We kids always kept and eye on them, since if they were to stop at your house it generally meant they were telling your Mom and Dad of some areas where you needed improvement.

During the years that I lived in Porterdale I recall seeing the Ku Klux Klan on two occasions.  They were out in full white robes and hat, carrying their lit torches.  I do not know for sure why they were out, but I was told that on one of the occasions they burned a cross in a white mans yard.  The reason was because he was a wife beater, and if it ever happened again they, the KKK,  would come and give him a beating.

Before I leave Porterdale I had better say a few words about the Church, (CLICK HERE to see a Drawing of the Inside of the Church) since I have mentioned it so much.  As I said earlier my Dad was a lay preacher, and  our entire family activities revolved around the church.  Services were scheduled for Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday nights, and Sunday morning.  With the young folks having services on Sunday afternoon.  On other days and nights when there were no scheduled services at our church we would generally be someplace else.  We were always having prayer someplace or visiting another church in some nearby town.  Dad was a pastor at churches in Porterdale, Cedartown, Atlanta, Milstead, Athens, and Winder Georgia.  I chose Porterdale to talk about since that was where I was the most involved.  When Dad left Porterdale I moved out on my own and lived apart from the family until I joined the Air Force, and was gone for twenty-seven years.  Back to the church,  I have no animosity toward the church, but the way it was practice in our family there was no time for anything else.  Kids with young, growing, and formative minds, needing to be exposed to what was going on around them and in the rest of the world, there was very time for that.  I could not have been raised in a family where there was more love and caring.  My Dad became known as one of the better Pentecostal preachers in the Southeast United States and was sought after from every state to come for prayer and run revivals.  I can remember traveling to Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and the Carolina’s.  In fact I can remember that I learned to drive a car on the back roads of Mississippi.  Dad was running a revival at Tupelo, Mississippi for the Cole family.  I remember that I got my hand caught in a  washing machine cloth’s ringer in Dyersburg, Tennessee, while visiting the Bingham family.  I recall sleeping on wood shavings in a canvas tent where Dad was running a tent meeting.  I can remember traveling to towns like Winder, Whitehall, Crawford, Social Circle, Milstead, Rockmart, Cartersville and many more with in Georgia.  I went several years, maybe around ten, without missing Sunday School.  I remember all the Gold Stars placed by my name for not missing a Sunday.  I also recall my little brother crawling behind the piano, during church services to hide his legs. Mom had made him ware short paints and that he could do without.  Some of the times that I enjoyed the most were attending the Young Folks Meetings.  We got to travel to different churches and we would always have Bible verse quoting contests.  Each team would line up with the same number of people and each side would be ask to quote scripture.  You had to sit down when you missed, even one little word.  The team that had the last person standing was the winner.  I can remember the team that got to go first would always quote Acts 11:35, ‘Jesus wept.’ That being the shortest verse in the Bible.

Porterdale was a very quite town with very little or no crime.  I recall that we would rarely lock the house when we went to church. I can remember being gone over night or maybe for several days without locking the house.  If we locked the house we used a skeleton key and placed it up over the door threshold.  Every house in town had the same kind of locks and your key would fit your neighbors locks.  If you had lost your key and needed to get into your house you could go next door and borrow your neighbors key.  Or if that was not possible you could run down to the Dime Store and for five cents you could purchase a new key.

While living at Porterdale I recall a time that Mom and Dad had to go away for a day, I believe it was to Atlanta to visit the sick.  My sister Jeanette and I were taken to Milstead, Georgia to stay with our Aunt Rosie Lee, one of Mom’s older sisters.  Why I remember this so much is that Mom brought me a small ceramic cuckoo clock, and I still have that clock.  I think I was about six and Jeanette about two when this happened.  It amazes me how such a small incident like this can stick in one’s mind.

remember when I was about fourteen and I had a little girl friend, her name was Rozzell Few.  The main reason that I remember her is that I was being a ‘big boy’ one day giving Rozzell a ride in a wheelbarrow.  However, I had an accident  while I was pushing her very fast.  I veered off the sidewalk and ran into a telephone pole, and the accident broke Rozzell’s leg.  Believe it or not we remained friends after this incident. Click HERE to see a couple of my FRIENDS from Porterdale during these years.

Another very much remembered event that happened occasionally was a visit to the ‘Varsity’.  It was a real treat to go to this Atlanta Drive In.  In those days the so called fast food eateries were known as ‘Drive Ins’.  Not only do I remember the food as being very good...the hot dogs...chili dogs...steak burgers...fries, and most important to me was the freshly made chocolate milk.  Anyway when you entered the parking area there would be a waiter jump on your cars running board and direct you to a parking spot.  Then all the fun begin, your waiter would go through all kinds of gyrations, using all kinds of descriptive adjectives telling you the menu.  This waiter would return shortly with your order, and boy did we enjoy that feast.  It was reported that those waiters at the Varsity had to pay the owner in order to work there.  They made so much in tips that they could afford to pay the owner. I don’t know how Dad could afford to take the family there about every time we were in Atlanta, but he somehow managed.  The story was that the owner of the Varsity had been thrown out of Georgia Tech for lack of ability.  His reply was that he would show everyone his ability.  He went across the street from Georgia Tech and opened this Drive In and the rest is history.  He went on to open several Varsity’s, with two in Athens, Georgia the home of the University of Georgia, and became a very wealthy individual.

Another memorable treat when visiting Atlanta, was the Krispy Kream Donut Shop on Ponce de Leon.  You could go into the place and watch every step of the donut making process.  You could buy them just as soon as they came off the conveyer and they were still very hot.  You had so many choices, but when it came to the bottom line I guess I would have to rate the so call plain glazed donut as tops.  It would just melt in your mouth.  You can still buy Krispy Kream all over the State this very day.  But it is nice to recall going to the very first Krispy Kream Store in Atlanta.

As a youngster, I always looked forward to Saturday Morning’s.  This was the day that Dad always went grocery shopping.  He normally went by himself, but he would take me along occasionally.  Dad did his big shopping in Covington, Georgia, a town about three miles from Porterdale.  My first memories were shopping at A & P.  I really enjoyed going to this store, because of the very strong smell of coffee.  I believe they sold a coffee named 8 o’clock.  The smell was strong because everyone ground their coffee for either a drip-o-later or a perk-o-later coffee pot.  The floors were all wood and they maintained them by using oil.  The floors were soaked in oil and mopped down.  To absorb any oil that the floor did not soak up, they would sprinkle sawdust all over the floor and leave for several days.  When you shopped at A & P they would give you a big box that you put your groceries in and bring to the check out counter.  Another option was to give your list to one of the store employees and they would collect your grocers for you.  Lot of people used this option by leaving their list and returning later to collect them.  I’ll never forget how wonderful the coffee smelled.  Although, I am sure I was not drinking coffee at this time.  During this period there was a lot of talk about a new Grocery Store coming to town, but it would be called a Super Market by the name of Piggly Wiggly.  I remember my first visit to the store.  It was a very large store, brightly lit with the new fluorescence light fixtures.  It had pretty tile floors that really shined.  I had never seen so much food.  There were long cooler displays filled with meat already wrapped.  At A & P’s you selected your meat from one display counter and the butcher would cut, weigh, wrap, and mark the price on you package.  Back to Piggly Wiggly where they introduced the grocery cart.  Now you had a cart to push all over the store and fill up, then take to the check out counter.  I remember Dad saying that pushing that cart around was very expensive because you tended to put a lot of things in the cart that was not on your list.

After we moved to the house on top of the hill on Elm Street we got a radio for the first time.  On Saturday nights we would gather around and listen to Doctor I. Q., Grand Old Opera with Minnie Pearl,  and others that I cannot recall.  I remember that we had to be real quite while listening to the radio.  If we were lucky Mom would have made us some chocolate fudge candy.

Mom had a lot of relatives that lived in the country around Porterdale.  It seemed that we would go visiting quite frequently.  I remember going to visit Uncle Jeff Capes who owned and ran a dairy and very small country store.  Another Uncle John, who was very, very old and lived alone in a small log cabin.  Not to far from Uncle John’s  we visited a very old lady that Mom called ‘MO Chapman’.  She lived with someone that was called Uncle Otis Chapman.  I understand that MO Chapman was who raised my Mom, since her mother had died when she was a very small child.  What stands out in my mind very vividly about Uncle Otis was that he had four or five very small little girls.  I believe it was Scarlet Fever that the little girls contacted and three of them died almost at once.  I remember going to their house and seeing three very small caskets lined up in one room. 

recall that there were some black folks that live out in the country.  These folks used to wash and iron for Mom.  I would deliver and pick up the washing after I received my drivers licenses.  On one occasion I was told to deliver some coal to the folks.  At this time  Dad was between cars and was using a loaner. I think it was about a 1939 Studebaker. Anyway being the real bright fellow that I am, I figured an easy way to load the coal in to the car.  During these days you and your car was weighed as you enter the coal yard.  You were then weighed again as you left the coal yard.  You paid the difference in the weight. Rather than get the old tow sack out and fill it with coal then load it into the trunk of the car, I merely raised the trunk lid, put the car in reverse, got up a little speed and back in the huge pile of coal.  This worked great got my coal without a lot of work and was on my way.  However, after I got home I had to explain to Dad why one of the tail lights was broken off.  So much for bright ideas.