HERSCHEL ARTWAY BOYD
(1911 - 1977)
Artway was born on December 2, 1911 in Munford, Alabama. A smallish man, standing approximately 5'8" tall and weighing around 145 to 150 pounds. He was blessed with a good sense of humor and a cunning mind. He was a hard worker whose childhood was as rough and good as any other wannabe farm and sharecrops family of that era. It was nothing for Grandpa Ben to render him out to other farmers one or several days and keep the money paid for his labor.
He completed the fourth grade in school and judging from his analytical and other functional skills, I equate that with a tenth or eleventh grade education today. It was never quite clear to me why he had to quit school. Depending upon the point he was making while telling a story, it could have been because Grandpa Ben could no longer spare him from the fields. At other times I felt like Dad may have quit school because it was so far away. You see, some years they had to walk 8 miles one way, other times they had to walk 5 miles each way barefoot and then do two hours of plowing after they got home. I never figured out why the distance kept changing. I don't know whether the school or the Boyd family kept moving each year. Each time he told a version of his childhood, I ended up feeling lucky that I only had to walk a mile and a half each way and that I had at least a pair of run over shoes to wear.
His two trump cards during his developmental years were (1) a special bond between he and his mother, Maude and (2) a close relationship between he and Thomas (TBoy) Boyd, who was his uncle. Due to proximity of their ages and the two of them living in the same household, TBoy served as the brother he never had. Many extended relatives and most outsiders thought that they were brothers. While this relationship may have won my father a few points with Grandpa Ben, make no mistake about it TBoy was the baby.
The Farmer Takes a Wife
Somewhere between walking 80 miles to and from school each week, being rented out by Grandpa Ben as a day worker, and working 16 hours a day in the field, he met his future bride. He never told me much about the courtship and frankly I was glad he didn't because if it were as bad as his early school days, it would have been a horror story.
He always made the occasion when he and Marie Archie tied the knot on New Year's Eve of 1934 sound very exciting. Showing great ingenuity, he had somehow borrowed a Model T Ford for their wedding trip. Once all of the church formalities were completed, the new Mr. and Mrs. Boyd sped away from the crowd of well-wishers very impressively only to end up with the car turned over on its right side less than a half mile from the church. The facts got a little hazy depending upon whether my mother or my father was telling the story. His version was that as they rounded a deep left curve the wheels hit a sand spot in the road and the car overturned. Her version was that they were driving down a bumpy trail, he was going too fast (trying to show off by driving with one hand and looking out the window to see who was watching Mr. Bigshot). As they scrambled to get out of the car, his value system was immediately defined when he screamed, "Woman, what the matter with you? Are you crazy? Don't be standing on my car windows. You'll be done broke'em!" According to my mother, not once did he bother to ask, "Are you okay, honey?" After that they settled down on his father-in-law's farm in Silverrun.
Sixteen Tons and Whadda You Get?
Pretty soon Artway found that family life on Fred Archie's farm wasn't all it was cracked up to be. He and Marie had a son born in August 1935 when times were really hard. Except for the privilege of sleeping with his wife at night, he was treated the same as his father-in-law's two sons. Mr.