GROWING UP IN STANTON
By INA FAYE ROBERTS GIERHART
They called my grandfather (James Frank Dancy,) Jim. We called him Dee, don't
ask me where that came from we just always called him Dee. I have a real story to tell you
about my grandfather.
MY INTRODUCTION TO THE RAZOR STRAP:
When I was child growing up in Stanton Tennessee, we had an outhouse. At night my Mother would put a slop jar out in case we had to go during the night. My Granddaddy was visiting us and it was about 7 or so at night, must have been in the winter time because it was pitch dark outside. He told me to go take the slop jar and empty in the outhouse, I didn't want to go but I grabbed it and out the side door I went. I couldn't have been more than 6 or so. On the way to the outhouse was this huge bush outside the house, I decided to give a fling in the bush with the slop jar because I didn't want to go all the way to the outhouse, besides I was scared.... my brothers had told my sister and me that panthers get on top of the outhouse. Well little to my surprise my granddaddy was watching me out the window. When I went back in he said,"Gal did you empty that slop jar in the outhouse. I said "Yes sir." He asked me again and again I said yes sir, well he started to put his shoes on and grab his flash light. He went outside and then came back and ask me again if I had emptied the slop jar in the out house ( Again I Said Yes Sir.) He took me by the arm and marched me out the door and then he shined his flash light in the bushes and there was all that toilet paper hanging off the bush. Back in the house we went. He kept his razor strap hanging behind the door, not a word did he say, he went straight to get it.. He wore my butt out. I never ever emptied the slop jar in the bushes again. I have to laugh though... I must have invented rolling trees in toilet paper.
My Uncle Jack Dancy used to come and get us to pick cotton for him. My Mama had made a cotton sack out of a toe sack. I would take this little toe sack to the cotton field to pick cotton.
Uncle Jack had a dog named Buster a little black and white dog. I loved animals and Buster would go to the cotton field with us. Buster stayed close to me while I was picking cotton, and come weigh up time I would put Buster in my cotton sack and weigh him with my cotton I would run and jump in the wagon so I could empty my own sack. Cause I didn't want Uncle Jack to know I had Buster in my sack. I know Uncle Jack must have known Buster was in my cotton sack., but he never let on like he did.
THE BB GUN
My sister and me were playing one afternoon and we had been in my oldest brother's room and found one of his bb guns, we had shot and shot it, but seemed to be missing our target, I couldn't have been but 3 or so, anyway my sister has a totally different, story than I do but she says to me I am going to put my finger over the barrel and you pull the trigger and that way we can see, if any bb's come out??? Well I did and yes there were bbs in it... I shot her in the finger, she took off like I had killed her, and to this day she maintains that she told me not to pull the trigger.
Now let me ask you... what would be the logic of her putting her finger across the barrel if she hadn't wanted me to pull the trigger..
We still to this day, have different stories.
Now I really don't remember a lot about this story but have heard it told many times. As I recall my brother Billy and my sister Beverly were out playing, and my Mom and Dad were burning trash, and my sister and brother got a old milk carton and were running around the fire, and my brother lit the end of the milk carton, and was playing trains.
My sister was in front of him and he squeezed on the carton to make the fire shoot out and when he did, it caught my sister's clothes on fire.
My Mother had just cleaned her up and made a brand new dress for her, they had to roll her on the ground and tear her new dress off her... Children back in those days, didn't have TV or computers to play with so we invented our own games.
CHRISTMAS MORNING, DECEMBER 25, 1955
I can remember this Christmas better than any Christmas . It is a Christmas that changed my whole life. I can remember Christmas Eve night when we were hanging our monkey socks behind the old coal stove. I was so excited, it was almost Christmas.
The next morning we awoke to find our socks filled with oranges and apples and peppermint candy canes and nuts of all kinds. I had ask for a toy telephone and deck of rook cards for Christmas.
Something was not right this special morning, my Mother (Lelia Dancy Roberts) said my Daddy (Luther Thomas) was sick and needed a doctor. She finally got a doctor to come to the house. She had called a local doctor in Stanton, and he would not come because it was Christmas morning. By the time the doctor got to our house from another little town down the road my Daddy, had become quiet ill.
I remember being called into the room where he lay in bed, with his hand stretched out beside him as I placed my hand in his , his words to me was did you get what you wanted for Christmas? I said yes sir, but I could tell there was something very bad wrong with him.
The next thing I remembered was the house filling with people. They were crying and screaming. I remember being so scared I didn't really know what was going on. My Daddy had died of a heart attack. Back in those days they brought the body to the house. I can remember his coffin being put in one of the bedrooms. There was the blue net thing stretched across it.
My Daddy's sister (Aunt Rene) kept picking me up trying to get me to touch, but I was afraid. Then the next thing I remember was we had his funeral at the Stanton Baptist Church. Then we went to the grave yard to bury him which, by the way, was right behind our house.
After the funeral the house still was filled with people, Aunts, uncles, cousins just lots of people. I still to this day have a very hard time with Christmas. I wondered what would happen to us, I was very close to my Daddy. I went to work with my Daddy lots of times he drove this big bulldozer and he would put me on it with him.
Which brings me to another memory I have.....
THE RABBIT PELLETS
I had gotten up one morning to get dressed to go to work with Daddy. We went to the gravel pit where he had been working and he put me on the bull dozer with him. I remember being scared cause I was so high up. That afternoon when we left we stopped by a little country store and my Dad bought me some candy, yes sugar babies.
He told me to save some for my sister Beverly, but I didn't. I had found some rabbit dropping when I was at work with him, and I ate all the candy and put the rabbit droppings in the package to give to my sister... When we got home my Daddy told me to give my sister her candy.. I did and she started to eat the rabbit droppings. My Dad stopped her but I can remember I got a in lots of trouble over that... but I thought it was funny.
At a very early age you were taught not to take things that belong to someone else. It must have been near Christmas because they had little chocolate Santa's out in a bright red paper with marshmallow inside. I asked for one, my Daddy said no. I decided to take it, I really wanted it.
We were going down the road when I had unwrapped the Santa and began eating it. I had just bitten his head off when my Daddy noticed that I had it. He said gal," where did you get that?" I had to tell him I took it from the store.
He took it away from me and back to the store we went. He forcefully marched me back in the store with Santa in his hand and in front of the store owner I had to give the Santa back. Daddy offered to pay for it but the store owner said no, and to let me have it. Daddy said no, I was not going to have it. and proceeded to throw Santa in the garbage can.
My Daddy had taught me not to take things that didn't belong to you.
THE COTTON GIN
My sister and me had ridden to the cotton gin with Daddy. My Dad went into the cotton gin telling my sister and me he would be right back. In the mean time my sister and me decided that we were going to drive the truck. Now I am about 4 and my sister is 7. Neither of us are big enough to reach the gas pedal.
This truck was the kind where you push this button after you turn the key on and mash on the gas peddle, my sister gets in the floor board and lays on the gas peddle while I turn the key on and mash the little gray button, well we took a ride into the gin post and knocked it down. The next thing I knew the truck door opened wide with my Daddy grabbing me from behind the wheel and turned the key off and smacked me across my bottom , of course I was the only thing he could get to cause my sister was laying in the floor of the truck. She missed that whipping..
(Editors note: For those who never experienced the ordeal of an outhouse and the "slop jar," before the days of indoor plumbing, a little clarification is in order. The outhouse of course, was an unheated outdoor toilet. Sitting on the wooden outdoor toilet seat in the dead of a winter night, is an experience remembered for a life time. If your were British Royalty you called the slop jar a "chamber pot." It was a little container used as a portable toilet. In Tennessee we called it a "slop jar." If you ever carried one to empty you would know why slop was in the name.
Thanks to Ina Faye Roberts Gierhart for contributing
these memories for the site.
Faye is the:
Daughter of Luther Thomas and Lelia Elizabeth Dancy Roberts
Granddaughter of James Frank Dancy
Great-granddaughter of John William Dancy
g-g-granddaughter of John Henry Dancy
g-g-g-granddaughter of Isaac Dancy
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