Whitesburg KY

Watching others play from our yard

Until I was about 10 years of age we lived 1.4 miles above Blackey on the River Road. We moved closer to Blackey so our half-brother wouldn’t have so far to walk to school. There were four of us siblings plus our halfbrother.

The house we moved out of had no electricity and the one we moved into did. At first I was scared of it, but we could have a washer, electric stove, and refrigerator. It wasn’t half as hot in the kitchen in the summer either. The place had a sixfoot high fence around it and to go outside the fence invited a severe beating from our stepmother, but we sneaked out many times when she and our halfbrother would be gone. We got caught many times, too, and suffered the consequences. Sometimes it seemed as if she could read our mind.

We weren’t allowed to go out and play with our friends and they weren’t allowed to come inside so we had to settle with waving at them as they passed by. There was a truck tire in one corner of the yard with flowers in it and we would sit on the tire and watch the world go by. To pass the time we would count the vehicles that went up or down the highway which we could see from our porch. We would count the different colors of vehicles till we got to 20 with each color. Seems there were more black ones that any other color. After we tired of counting different colored cars, we would count only trucks, no matter what color they were. We saw a few accidents, too.

Uncle Charlie Caudill had a truck mine on the hill above the highway and sold house coal by the pickup load. There was a big hopper at the top and one at the bottom. There were two wooden cars which hauled the coal down off the mountain with a big metal drum which the cable wound around. It was located half way between the two hoppers and the loaded car coming down the hill pulled the empty one back to the top where it was secured till it was loaded and by then the one at the bottom had dumped its load. The routine was repeated over and over till the hopper at the bottom was full.

I used to sit for countless hours watching those little cars go up and down the hill. I would try to count how many loads each car hauled but I would always lose count. One day as I was watching those little cars go up and down the hill, it broke apart when it caught up with the first car or it would have probably ended up in the highway. I felt as if I had lost a good friend and it wasn’t rebuilt.

This was in the ’50s but I can remember it as if it was yesterday, and my memories are mine to keep here at the funny farm.

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