Friday, January 27, 2006

Living in a Mill Town.

When My husband was drafted into the Marine Air Corps During World War II, we lived in a small house in a small Georgia Mill town near my husband's parents.
My husband's mother, Lillian Wilkerson Shaw, had grown up there as the daughter of Charles Wilkerson, who was Overseer of the Carding Department for Calloway Mills. His department carded the cotton to get it ready to be spun into yarn in the Spinning Department of the Textile Mill.
Charles and I had married as teen agers and had two children. But after the Japanese attack on Pearl harbor, nearly all young men were willing to serve in the Armed Forces.
While my husband was away, I dressed my two little girls early every morning. We walked to the Post Office where I mailed the long letter I had written to my husband the night before. Then I picked up any mail I had as well as the mail for my parents-in-law. The Post Office was also the "Company Store" of grand-ol'-opry fame. I bought any grocery item my mother-in-law or I needed. We had ration books and were limited in the amount of staples we could purchase and of course, a limited amount of money.

On the way back home, I stopped at the home of my husband's parents for a brief visit and to give them any mail or information I had from their son or about the war.

Their son Grady, was a tail bomber for the Air Force in the European Theater, We were all "at war." Our hearts and prayers were with "our boys" in service and with the few women who were also serving as WACs or WAVEs. Women were not drafted, but many joined to serve in one of the Women's Corps.

Calloway Mills was making cloth for the growing needs of our defense troops in Europe as well as in the South Pacific, and soon cotton looms were running 24 hours a day to make tents and uniforms for the soldiers.

With so many men away in the Army, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard, Calloway Mills began to recruit more women workers. Then they noted that in order to make it possible for able-bodied women to work , child care was needed.

One day, A Calloway official came to me and asked if I would take a job supervising the night shift of the Children's Nursery they were establishing. When they were looking around to find someone, they told me, it had been noticed how I cared for my little children and would likely be good for that position.

Calloway Mills, under the direction of a "Nursery Expert" had taken one the the large houses in the community, gutted it and rebuilt it with play and sleeping areas for the care of children in the community while mothers were at work.

I accepted the job and the small salary each month -- perhaps the only easy money I ever made. The Nursery was need for only about a year. This kind of public "Child Care" was new to our generation. Most of the young women who needed child care while working for Calloway had a mother or an aunt to take over in their absence from home.

In addition to the separation of the races, there was class inequities and much class consciousness in the 1920's and 30's. Mill workers were generally considered inferior. In fact, some people lived "from hand to mouth" rather than take a job in a textile mill and risk being called a "lint head" or low class. Many things that working class people (both black and white) lived with was discrimination by todays standards and by Biblical teaching that God is not a "respector of persons."

Celestine Sibley liked to point out that people in the South were proud to be poor and "working class." This meant they were honest and at least not "carpet baggers."

Aubrey Simms, a cousin and I talked briefly about this when he told me how his father did not want him to get a job in one of the cotton mills only a few miles from their home when they were struggling to make a living on their farm after the boll weevil ate most of the cotton and the Great Depression in the early 1930's. His father had told my father he would go to"share cropping " before he would raise his family in a mill town.

My husband Charles's paternal grand parents also felt work in a Cotton Mill was not for them, even though they, struggled to live. His grandfather Columbus (Lum) Shaw was a talented cabinet maker and was proud to have made the cabinets for some well know Atlanta officials but profited little from his work.
Charles maternal grandfather, Charles Wilkerson was an "oversear" in the Textile Mill in their town earning $100 weekly when the ordinary worker's wages was only about 10 dollars a week.

Columbus Shaw's oldest son, Grady grew up to finally get a job in the Milstead Textile Plant and there met and married Charles Wilkerson's oldest daughter, Lillian. Their oldest of five sons Charles Columbus Shaw and I were married in 1938 and stayed married until his death in 1986.
The advent of World War II and the need for textiles for the army made it more "respectable" as workers were needed to keep the looms humming 24 hours a day. More and more people took jobs in Textile Plants.

No doubt the mill owners and officials were paternalistic toward mill workers. Mill hands! People were called "hands"! It is difficult to be intelligent (or so we thought) and perceptive and have to work 12 hours a day for barely enough income to survive.

This was the situation "down South" after the South lost in the Civil War and before the wage and labor laws. This seemed to be the lot of most people who worked in textile factories in the South in the twenties and thirties.

My mother (whether correct or not) felt that the mill officials tried to "run the church" as well as the mill and the town. So employees looking with disdain toward the employer is nothing new. I think Mama was right in that the Bibb officials probably did try to exert as much influence as possible on the churches.

After all they had a responsibility as they had built three impressive "up to date" brick church buildings, a Methodist, a Baptist and a Presbyterian church.

The companies who brought their cotton factories south for cheaper labor after "The Civil War" built the whole town including schools, churches, business, police, fire and community buildings.

Probably mill owners and officials did the best they could for their times and understanding. When we look in the past to criticize or to re-write history we need to keep this in mind.

The mill owners and officials felt that they must look after their workers (some of whom were illiterate and superstitious.)

With as little formal schooling and lacking in social graces as my parents had, I remember Mama being disconcerted at the superstitious talk and grammar of some neighbors and co-workers.

Mama told me that when they first moved to Porterdale she felt that she had moved to the "jumping off place." She seems to have thought of it as a wild and pagan town. Many of whom would have been labeled the "most illiterate people" seems to have been some of our neighbors back of the large brick Osprey mill building.

Mama was especially horrified to see that when the children would get into fights as they played together, the mothers would often dash out of their houses and take their child's side of the argument. Sometimes the mothers would get into loud shouting matches and even physical fighting. Some of the women actually got so mad they "cussed."

Mama observed and commented on the fact that the children would often be back happily playing together while their mothers were still angry and hostile toward one another.

Sis (my sister Louise ) told me this story: When we first moved to Porterdale, my young brothers,Charlie, Tom, and Jack, were out playing with the neighborhood boys and got into a fight.

One of the mothers came storming to our door, saying, "Miz Baird, I've come to'whoop' you!" Mama opened the door and calmly said, "Well, come right in, Mrs. Smith and tell me what I've done to need a whipping ." Sis was happy to report that Mama made friends with the woman and did not get “whooped.”

Speaking of cursing or "bad words" as we called it, I never heard even slang in our house, nor in the neighborhood. One day when the little boys were playing out in front of our house at 32 Hazel Street (the larger house we lived in before my father died), I heard my brother Jack say, "Oh, Heck!"

I was shocked. Of course, I did not say anything. Since I remember this so vividly as being in front of the house where we were living when my father died, I was 7 or younger at the time, and Jack was about 12.

Before I started to school, my parents were able to move to a house in a "quieter part of town." I have no memory of women fighting in the streets.

Our neighbors on Hazel Street were hard-working church folks and, like my parents, although unschooled by today's standards, were intelligent with old-fashioned common sense and a strong Protestant work ethic.

They did not seem to consider themselves "victims", nor did they seem to be lacking in self-esteem. After all, we were made in the image of God and so important and loved that Jesus died for us.

For me, is was a good neighborhood in which to grow up, even though I was well-aware that many Covington residents put mill workers in a box labeled "low class."

Covington (our "town") was the Newton county seat. Porterdale was a village with three large textile factories owned and operated by Bibb Manufacturing Company. Covington also had a "Covington mill village" as a part of the town as did many other Georgia cities and small towns.
In Porterdale, we also had two large brick school buildings with grades one through nine and a "teacher's cottage" across the river but in walking distance to the school. It was a more than a cottage- built to house teacher, many of whom were single women. It was a well built attractive ante-bellum house.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Twenty Seven Questions for Friday the 27th.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what did you think? Why is my nose so red in the mornings?

2. How much cash do you have on you? None. I think I have about 16 dollars in my purse.

3. What's a word that rhymes with "TEST"? QUEST.

4. Favorite planet? The tiny little ball of Earth in the vast solar system which is my temporay home. I love it but know I'm "just a passin' thru" . My favorite "planet" is where "my treasures are laid up "somewhere beyond the blue"...our wonderful "tiny blue planet." "

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone? One of my wonderful kids.

6. What is your favorite ring on your phone? I do not have a "favorite ring?."

7. What shirt are you wearing? A warm long sleeve ivory colored shirt with glitter squares of pink and blue and green. I pulled it out this morning. I think I've worn it once before. It was passed along to me by a long time friend who buys in bulk and I am always glad to get a box from her.

8. Do you "label" yourself? Good question. I have a hard time with labels. In group situations where we are asked to introduce ourselves. i am never quite sure where to start. So I usually make it as brief as possible. I sometimes start off by saying " I am a Christian." But, as C.S. Lewis says, this does not mean, "I am good." Lewis further explains, there are "good" Christians and some Christians are not "good." So when I say, "Christian", I am simply stating what I believe and who (Christ) I am trusting for salvation.

9. Name the brand of shoes you're currently wearing now: I am wearing socks ( warm .stretch socks). Charmaine (Reasoned Audicity) , Carol (The Median Sib) and Larisa gave me a supply of socks at Christmas which are my favorite footwear in the house.
10. Bright or Dark Room? Bright. All the blinds are opened.

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you? Terry is a loving husband and father, wonderfully talented teacher, singer, actor. He is my son or perhaps I should say, " I am Terrell's (Alone on A Limb) mother." People in this town, knew Terrell and his wife before I moved back here after retirement. So his reputation for intregrity as well as talent and community spirit had been a asset to me as well as to his siblings ad other family members who have moved here.

12. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping.

13. What did your last text message you received on your cell say? I am glad to have a cell phone for travel, thanks to my daughter in law and son. But I have not into "text messages" lately as I have been home much of the time recouperating from surgery. .

14. Where is your nearest 7-11? There is one about a half mile away but I have never been inside.

15. What's a saying(s) that you say a lot? Probably my children or friends could answer this one. I'm afraid I must plead guilty for trying (without a great deal of success) to pass along words of "wisdom" to the younger generation.

16.Who told you they loved you last? I think my daughter Debi as we parted yesterday after visiting my nephew at St Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta. Our family members usually end every leave taking with words of love.

17. Last furry thing you touched? I'm not sure. Perhaps the long warm wrap my daughter Joan, (Daddy's Roses ) gave me.

18. How many days of school did you miss this week? All of them!

19. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed? None. Is anyone out there still reading ? I suppose i am of the generation who thinks talking about oneselve is an ego trip?

20. Favorite age you have been so far? In my life review, I remember foldly the early years of marriage, the babyhood and childhood of my seven beautiful children, the years of Seminary and the pastorates, the awesome privilege of standing in a pulpit in the power of the Holy Spirit to tell the "Greatest good news that even dawned on the human heart...and to see people's hearts and lives changed through the grace of Jesus. Now the amazing privilege of living into "old Age". My life has been filled to the overflow with very, very hard work and difficult decisions I never expected to make. I would do it all over again! I have talked to many elders, visited in many. many hospitals and nurse care places. Many tell me they would never want to live their lives over.

21. Your worst enemy? A good question but I do not know the answer? Peter tells us the Devil is the worst ememy of us all?

22. What is your current desktop picture? A photo of my seven children with me at Christmas 2004.

23. What was the last thing you said to someone? " Thank you, Lord.

24. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly, which would you choose? I would choose the million.

25. Do you like someone? I like most people. I disagree with the comments made earlier by my wonderful son (Alone on a Limb), about the executive branch of our government. Our President is not behind the dis-unity in America. It is the radical left and the terrorist here and abroad who are fueling the discord in our country. The radical left is bringing comfort to our enemies and fueling hatred among us.

26. The last song you listened to? To myself singing The Doxology.

27. Carmen Electra or Pam Anderson? I am out of that loop?

The Second Day of The Twelve Days of Christmas

In addition to the five daughters I wrote about last, we also have two wonderful sons. One of our sons, who writes Alone On A Limb, is a blogger along with three of his sisters.

A month ago, our seven children, their spouses and family members gathered here at my house on December 26 (the second day of Christmas) for our annual Christmas celebration.

Seven of our eighteen grandchildren are married now and with 15 great- grandchildren it was a large gathering. But, as with your family, whether small or large in number, each individual is precious beyond counting.

We say every year that we will keep it simple and use paper products, but the Christmas spirit energizes us and we get out the best of everything we have in the way of china, silver and cloth napkins. Paper stuff tomorrow.

But it is not a formal dinner, as 48 people, including little children, teens, college students, young married, are milling around everywhere. People are bringing in food and greeting one another with hugs and kisses.

My house is not luxurious but is a roomy ranch type with a large living room and family room joined together with a fire place. In the family room there is a large camp meeting type (early American over 100 years old). The dinning room table is also large enough to seat twelve around. Then there is a breakfast room to seat 6 and other tables set up with table cloths.

So a good time was had by all 48 people who, after the reading of the brief Christmas story from Matthew and Luke and a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing, sat down to eat and later gathered around a large Christmas tree to exchange gifts handed out happily by the smallest children wearing Santa Clause hats.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Rick Warren Testimony

This is a short interview with Rick Warren, "Purpose Driven Life " author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California. In the interview by Paul Bradshaw, Rick said: " People ask me: What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal.

God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems. If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, "which is my problem, my issues, my pain."

But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others. We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.

It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.
First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better . God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Words We Do Not Hear Anymore.

Be sure and fill the lamps this morning so we don't have to do that tonight in the dark

Be sure to refill the ice trays, we're going to have company.

Watch for the postman, I want to get this letter to Willie in the mail today .

Quit slamming the screen door when you go out !

Be sure and pull the windows down when you leave, it looks like a shower is coming up.

Don't forget to wind the clock before you go to bed.

Wash your feet before you go to bed, you've been playing outside all day barefooted.

Why can't you remember to roll up your britches legs? Getting them caught in the bicycle chain so many times is tearing them up.

You have torn the knees out of that pair of pants so many times there is nothing left to put a patch on.

Don't you go outside with your school clothes on!

Go comb your hair, it looks like the rats have nested in it all night.

Be sure and pour the cream off the top of the milk when you open the new bottle.

Take that empty bottle to the store with you so you won't have to pay a deposit on another one.

Put a dish towel over the cake so the flies won't get on it.

Quit jumping on the floor! I have a cake in the oven and you are going to make it fall if you don't quit!

Let me know when the Fuller Brush man comes by, I need to get a few things from him.Y

ou boys stay close by, the car may not start and I will need you to help push it off.

There's a dollar in my purse, get 5 gallons of gas when you go to town.

Open the back door and see if we can get a breeze through here, it is getting hot.

You can walk to the store; it won't hurt you to get some exercise.

Don't sit too close to the TV. It is hard on your eyes.

If you pull that stunt again, I am going to wear you out!

Don't lose that button; I'll sew it back on after a while.

Wash under your neck before you come to the table, you have beads of dirt and sweat all under there.

Get out from under the sewing machine; pumping it messes up the thread!

Here, take this old magazine to the toilet with you when you go, we are almost out of paper out there.

Go out to the well and draw a bucket of water so I can wash dishes.

Don't turn the radio on now, I want the battery to be up when the Grand Ole Opry comes on.

No! I don't have 10 cents for you to go to the show. Do you think money grows on trees?

Eat those turnips, they'll make you big and strong like your daddy.

That dog is NOT coming in this house! I don't care how cold it is out there, dogs don't stay in the house.

Sit still! I'm trying to get your hair cut straight and you keep moving and it is all messed up.

Hush your mouth! I don't want to hear words like that! I'll wash your mouth out with soap!

It is time for your system to be cleaned out. I am going to give you a dose of castor oil tonight.

If you get a spanking in school you'll get another one when you get home.

Quit crossing your eyes! They will get stuck that way!

Soak your foot in this pan of kerosene so that bad cut won't get infected.

When you take your driving test, don't forget to signal each turn.Left arm straight out the window for a left turn;left arm bent up at the elbow for a right turn;and straight down to the side of the door when you are going to stop.

It's: 'Yes Ma'am!' and 'No Ma'am!' to me, young man, and don't you forget it!

Y'all come back now!

Bring back memories?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Interesting Facts

In the 1400's a law was set forth that a man was not allowed to beat his wife with a stick thicker than his thumb. Hence we have "the rule of thumb"

Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented.It was ruled "Gentlemen Only...Ladies Forbidden"...and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.

Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the US Treasury.

The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28% (now get this...) The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%

The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $6,400

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades - King David
Hearts - Charlemagne
Clubs -Alexander,
the Great Diamonds - Julius Caesar 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.

If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle.

If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Wake Up...Look Up

1. Wake Up !!
Decide to have a good day.
"Today is the day the Lord hath made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalms 118:24

2. Dress Up !!
The best way to dress up is to put on a smile.
A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.
People look at outward appearances;
but the Lord looks at the heart."
I Samuel 16:7

3. Shut Up!!
Say nice things and learn to listen.
God gave us two ears and one mouth,
so He must have meant for us to do twice
as much listening as talking.
"He who guards his lips guards his soul."
Proverbs 13:3

4. Stand Up!!...
For what you believe in.
Stand for something or you will fall for anything..
"Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the
proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good..."
Galatians 6:9-10

5. Look Up !!...
To the Lord.
"I can do everything through Christ
who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13

6. Reach Up !!..
For something higher.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not unto your own understanding.
In all your ways, acknowledge Him,
and He will direct your path."
Proverbs 3:5-6

7. Lift Up !!...
Your Prayers.
"Do not worry about anything;
instead pray about everything/".
Philippians 4:6

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Does God Hate Haiti?

Pat Robinson, of 700 Club fame made the evening news again when he commented about the tragic earthquake in Haiti. He told about of the Haiti nation's fight for independence from the French in the late 18th century and told the story about representatives of the Haiti nation making a pact with the Devil to throw off the French.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere is well known for it's religious syncretism, known for its voodoo, sorcery and a Catholic traditon greatly influenced by the occult. But Robinson did finally get around to modifying his first statement!

The 7.0 quake crumbled entire villages, with bodies flying in the air and crushed under mountains of debris. Orphanages, churches, markets, homes, and government buildings all collapsed. Civil government has virtually ceased to function.

If God hated Haiti, there would be no missionaries there; there would be no aid pouring into Haiti; there would be no rescue efforts -- there would be no hope.

The cross of Christ declares that Jesus loves Haiti . Christ's people must do everything we can to alleviate the suffering, bind up the wounded, and comfort the grieving. Of course God does not hate Haiti?

If you have any doubts about this, take your Bible and turn to John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. That is God's message to Haiti." _____________________________: