During my eight years at Burdine School, being away from our large farm on Cane Branch was like a holiday for me.
I was always very shy and skinny, but very strong from working all those years.
We had some beautiful girls in our class and some would tease me for being so shy. I watched these young ladies grow into womanhood, but I could never bring myself to talk much to them.
Jenkins High School was much the same. I was a good student, but still shy, skinny and poor.
Some of my classmates were dating, going to dances and having a ball. My life then was farming and sports, and I was good at both. I never had nice clothes to wear to school or money to buy my lunch like the other kids.
After our ball games, I had to walk the two miles home and go into the fields and work until dark.
Burdine’s and Jenkins’ teachers tried to help me with my shyness, but I had a hard time talking to them one on one.
The pretty lady I had a big crush on was dating someone else, and I was not a happy camper.
World War II was coming to an end and I always wanted to fly. A few of my friends felt the same, and we left Jenkins for the military.
I told everyone I had to eat a stalk of bananas to make the weight limit. I was sick the three days on the troop train.
After basic training, I was the only Jenkins boy that was flying.
I was so homesick at first, but I lost some of my shyness, learned to dance a little, gained some weight and was looking pretty good in my uniform.
Joining the military was the best move this hillbilly every made, and I turned out pretty good.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.