Baby and Early Childhood Stories
I only know a few stories about my early life. My parents lived with my grandparents. My dad was attending the University of Alabama on the GI Bill. My mother continued to live with her in-laws until my dad was able to get married student housing in Tuscaloosa. The housing available was at the Northington Campus--a converted army barracks from the war. Their apartment was one room on a hallway. It turns out it was the x-ray room and it had lead walls. There were 4 families occupying this wing and there was a 4 burner stove. So each family had a burner to use for cooking and they shared the refrigerator. I would imagine it was awkward and hard to manage the arrangement, but no one seemed to mind. There was a couple named the Herndons--Jean and Frank, and Jean would take care of me while my mother worked.
When I should have been crawling, I didn't. I was a bottom scooter instead. My mother said she would open the door to their room and I would scoot on my bottom down the hallway, leaving a wet trail behind me from my diaper. What a charming introduction into society.
When I was a year old, I took my first step and fell down. Mother claimed I did not try again until I was 17 months old. When I took my step then, I just walked. I do not like to fail and if I fail once, I will not do something again in front of people until I am fully competent.
While living in Tuscaloosa, my dad played college baseball and we would watch him play. I was obsessed with the game, evidently. Another couple named the Higginbothems had a son named Robert. He could only say ball game. The story was told that we ran away together when we were about two years old. He had a bat and ball. I had a bat and a ball cap. We were going to play ball game. We were missing for quite a while and as our parents searched for us, they found us in the median of a highway in very tall grass trying to play ball game. Scared everyone to death.
When I was 4 my sister, Cynthia was born. By this time we were living in Fairfield, Alabama. My dad was working for the Birmingham News. I don't remember much about the place. I have a vague recollection that there was a kitchen and a bedroom. We had a table in the kitchen, but I don't remember it very well. Mother was on the bed resting and I asked her if I could have a spoonful of jelly to eat. She said I could, but to have only one. I got the jar out of the refrigerator and sat under the table with the jar. I could not stop at one spoon. I ate the whole jar. When I finished I did not feel well. So went into my mother and promptly threw up. Mother was not pleased and I could never have jelly after that for a very long time.
We lived in an apartment complex by the time Cindy was a toddler. There was a furnace grate in the hallway floor. It was fine to stand on it if you had on shoes, but was too hot for bare feet. I was old enough to know this, but Cindy didn't. She had on her night gown, walked onto the furnace with her bare feet, and when she pulled her feet up because it was hot, her bare bottom ended up on the grate. Mother was so scared. She got some soothing ointment to use on Cindy's poor bottom. I begged her to let me see. She kept saying she did not want me to see. I begged long enough that she finally allowed me to look. I turned pale and Mother had to run me away as it made me want to throw up.