Patterson Family
Life on Jackson's Place

In early 1942 we made a move to the Jackson Place just south of the house on the hill. This was a rather nice house as I recall. It had 5 rooms, two bedrooms, living, dining and kitchen. Needless to say it did not have a bathroom, running water or electricity. The REA had not started delivering electricity to the rural communities at this time. A lot of farmers had wind chargers that would generate enough electricity to power lights. People in these day did not own many electric appliances, even those that had windchargers. Of course our new home needed the newspaper wallpaper treatment. The Jackson family had just moved out and relocated to Evening Shade, Arkansas. How we could afford this place is beyond my memory. It did not have a working windmill, which meant water had to be hauled from Leon Jennings place.

As we did not own a horse or wagon, a major problem arose as to how to get water. This was resolved when one of the neighbors gave us an old white horse and Daddy made a sled out of the frame from and old car. Dad would put two 55 gallon drums on the sled and haul the water across the road. This water would sit by the back door until it was consumed. I hate to think of all of Gods little creatures that called these barrels home. I remember the old horse would stumble because she was so old. Dad said that she had water on the knees. You can imagine what a young lad made of that statement. My father spent very little time trying to explain things to me and I was afraid to ask. Coming back from Leon’s, the old white horse stumbled and fell never to get up again. Dad sold her carcass to a plant in Lubbock that rendered her into fertilizer. I remember being sad when the truck driver winched the old horse on to back of the truck.

Life kept plodding along after moved from the House on The Hill to the Jackson's Place. This was no more monumental than the wind blowing, but at least my memory of events are a lot clearer. A good thing about this move was that the Moffet family moved into the house that we had just vacated. They had two boy named AJ and Tommy. AJ was my age and I think this was the first time that I had a friend that would come visit and play with me. I can not remember any details, but I do remember I enjoyed the visits. They did not stay long which brought me back to my make believe world. I spent a lot of time in my own mind conjuring up thing to keep me busy. While I was not an only child, I did not have any sibling to cohabitate with and share feelings after the age of six years. I do believe that children of this type environment tend to withdraw into themselves out of necessity and create fantasy worlds. I also believe that they are stronger people because they, out of necessity, have to learn how to solve their own problems. I have very little doubt that I was not as communicative with my family as someone that grew up with siblings. I always would go into a corner and get real quiet to solve my problems. My wife was semi happy with this as she did not really want to get involved in the problems of life. I know that this statement is not much more clear than muddy water. On most matters my wife was happy with what ever I though was right. I was not a control freek, but my method of withdrawing into myself for solutions seemed to fit with her views of what should be. Since I was 8 years old I had been making my own decision and suffering the consequents, while she had never been in a position of having to make critical decisions. This may be why we got along.

I remember that I always had a bed in the same room as mother and dad. There are not many options when you live in a small house. We had iron bed that had six or seven slats, springs and at least one mattress. Mother always had a slop jar under the bed for those time when nature called at night. She would collect it in the morning and pour it into the two hole out house.

Most of the people that farmed in this area were Germans. that had migrated to the USA after the First World War. I can remember that they were always making beer and sausages. Good Baptists thought that drinking beer was a fast track to hell. That didn't seem to bother the Germans who were all Lutherans. Jeter’s farm was to the east of ours. They were good people and would loan us various things, as we didn't have a lot. When mother made ketchup I would go borrow the bottle capper that they used to cap beer. When you are about three to four foot tall, geese are lethal creatures. Jeter always had a flock

these vicious demons in his yard. To get to the front door, I had to first get by the killer geese. As I think back, small arms training would have been useful. These demons would organize a three prong attack and pursue me in my break for the front door. I never made it without sustaining several wounds. Mrs. Jeter would hear the commotion and come to my rescue. I hated geese with a passion. I would sit around thinking about how I could get vengeance. I knew that killing their geese would do nothing for American German relationship. Besides, I was more afraid of what dad would do to me than the pecks of the geese. All I could do was throw rocks at them. I just knew one day I would get even. Moving out of the county was how I got away from this problem. I never got big enough to bully them.

The Germans were usually very successful farmers. I always enjoyed going to their houses just to smell their smoke houses. Since they did not have electricity they would smoke hams and other meats to preserve them. When they would give us a ham it was the greatest meal in the world. Sausages were out of this world. Of course I did not get any of the beer. I would go over to the Weeds for two reasons. Their son had a sand box and they would usually invite me to eat with them.

There was also a settlement of Czechoslovakians not far from us in the New Home Community. We got to know them through Dads second cousin, Garrie and Willie White, who lived in this area. During harvesting time we would go over to help. The Czechs would cook the noon meal for all the helpers. The food that they served was rather strange to a lad that grew up on chicken, biscuits, syrup, and potatoes. The thing that made the biggest impression was pickled watermelon. They would soak the melon in vinegar like mother did cucumbers. I enjoyed these events since I got to play with other children.

The church for our area was held in the Joe Stokes School. A circuit preacher would come by the area and hold services. My parents were Methodists, but the preachers were of various religious persuasions. We would go over to church in wagon when we lived on the hill. Later we lost the mules and wagon and did not go unless someone would take us. A “dinner on the ground” was held after services. Everyone would bring food that would be spread out over the area. After eating the kids would be able to play while the adults would visit. That evening there would be another service and then everyone would go home. As I recall I was tired and would go to sleep in the back of the wagon before we got home.

As the war progressed two Army Air Bases were opened in Lubbock. South Plains Army Air Field, north of town where the current commercial airport is located, was established for glider training. Lubbock Army Air Field, west of town, was established to train single engine pilots. As a result of these bases, we started witnessing a lot of airplanes being salvaged following crashes. This was especially true of the gliders which seem to crash on a regular basis. I don't recall actually seeing a plane crash, just saw the wreckage. This introduced me to the idea of air planes crashing in flames. I somehow learned that in the war airplanes were being shot down in flames. This inspired me to make a paper airplane and set it on fire like in the war. The problem was finding a place where the wind was calm enough to ignite the plane. I tried the underground silo, but the wind was too strong. I finally found a calm place behind the barn. Everything was going according to plans until a crisis of major proportions developed; the plane crashed in the haystack. As panic set in I began running around in circles screaming and shouting, an activity that attracted the attention of my mother. Mother quickly extinguish a fire that I thought was equivalent to the cow kicking over the lamp in Chicago. Now that the fire was extingushed, real panic started to take hold of my very being; daddy would kill me but only after prolonged torture. Mother felt that I had a very valid point. She became a partner in crime and concelled the evidence. Good bundles were moved and placed on top of the bundles involved in my arsonist endevors. As far as I ever knew, dad never found out about it. I am fairly certain he did not find out since, I now live and breathe.

My father always had a double barrel shot gun behind the front door that he used to kill chicken hawks and varmints. Instructions were left with me to only touch the gun if I was tired of living. I bumped against it one day while playing, which resulted in a spanking with his razor strap. I would have rather pick up a rattlesnake than look at that gun. I do believe that children can be trained to not mess with a gun; of course you have to get their attention first. A razor strap really makes you focus on the issue.

My father was a strange person. Often I wonder why he ever got married, as children were not his favorite creatures. Seldom did he smile or say nice things to my sister or me. Maybe because of his age he had lost the ability to appreciate his family. I know his tolerance for a young lad like my self did not exist; seems like he was always yelling at me for something. In all likelihood a lot of it was justified. When we ate watermelon he would eat the heart and give us the rest. He ate the drumsticks when we had chicken. I just knew that a drumstick must be so good it would be too much for me to take. I was given the back and the gizzard, Frances got the thighs, and mother ate the breast. He was better than one of my uncles, Preacher Hill, who would not even let the children sit at the table with him. They all ate what was left after he was finished. Dad would always get dress in a suit and tie when he hitch hiked into Lubbock to get things like sugar, flour, pepper, and the like. He would always buy a small sack of lemon drops that he would eat. To ask for a piece of that candy was something that never crossed my mind. I have always wondered why I never cared for sweets. Maybe this was part of the reason.
Chapter 1 My Way of Thinking
Chapter 2 My Father and Mother Became Sharecroppers
Chapter 3 Conception to Awareness
Chapter 4 Now I Know That I Remember -- I Think
Chapter 5 Things That We Did on The Farm
Chapter 6 Life on Jackson's Place
Chapter 7 My Education Begins
Chapter 8 Life on the Farm

Chapter 9 Move to the Metropolis of Lubbock, Texas
Chapter 10 Marines

Chapter 11 College and New Orleans

Chapter 12 Indonesia

Chapter 13 Bahrain
Chapter 14 Scotland