Thursday, June 29, 2006

School's Out!

The school calendar has 180 days and I "subbed" 57 of those days this past year. After retiring from a business career in August 2005, I decided to try substitute teaching to spend time with young people. I completed the application process and enrolled in an Effective Teacher Training Course following my retirement. The eleven week training class was taught by a veteran teacher.

My first days in the classroom with students did not go as expected, but I gained experience as time passed and my performance improved. I began feeling better about filling-in for absent teachers sometime in January. Teachers are like all of us- they have appointments with doctors and dentist, workshops to attend, family emergencies, and sometimes sick children at home to care for.

When teachers are absent from their classes, they usually have a lesson plan for the substitute to follow. This plan is usually on track for the subject material under study. The priority for the sub is to execute the teacher's plan as directed. If the students finish early, then I supplement the remaining time with appropriate discussion or assignments of my choosing that are consistent with the class and subject being studied.

The 57 days mentioned above were days I worked in 6 different high schools and 2 middle schools. Early in the year, I stopped going to middle schools and subbed in high schools only. I was favorably impressed with the school system and observed students, classes, teachers, books, buildings, buses, activities, and environment much better than I expected after years of listening to people talk and watching or reading the news report.

Each day as a sub, I was in classes with around 130 students. This is based on six periods of 20 to 30 students per period. A class period is around 55 minutes. During the 57 days of subbing, I was in class with over 7,000 students. If I subtract the same classes I subbed more than once and subtract the middle school days, I estimate that I spent one class period with over 2,000 unique high school age students. This gave me great insight into the modern teenager- the way they look and behave, the material they study, the way they dress and talk, the way they write and compute, and the technology they possess in terms of calculators, cell phones, Ipods, etc.

Schools and students are far more advanced than when I was a teenager.

It's so interesting to see the variation among teenagers in any group of thirty. In most classes I've seen students, during idle moments or between assignments, moving to the beat of music in their mind, others draw art, some will read or prepare for another class, some look at themselves through a compact mirror as they apply make-up, some chat with their neighbor, some talk to me, and some try to distract the whole group with their entertainment attempts.

In addition to the daily pay I received, I was rewarded with comments of appreciation from students, teachers and front office staff members. Some students gave me high-five or hand-slap gestures, or verbal responses of YEAH when they saw me in the hallway and learned that I would be their sub that day.

The drawings above and below were handed to me by art-inclined students as they filed out of class at period end on two occasions.

I subbed in grades 9 -12 in classes of PE/Health, Earth Science, Geometry, Algebra, French, Spanish, Band, Drama, Chemistry, English, ISS, and History.

During the last week of school in a sophomore English class, I said this to each period, "As you journey to become an educated person, use some of your time this summer to read and study on your own initiative. Your school and teachers are helping you to build a foundation of how to learn. Much of the knowledge you gain will come through personal habits you develop on your own time."

I put a list of recommended readings on the board.

If you are retired and advancing in age, think about getting involved with young people in some way outside your own family. It can be rewarding.

Have a good summer.

Return here on July 5 for another post.

Have a good day!


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Credits and Thank You

Several people helped me recall certain dates, events, exact names, and contributed pictures for writing about Lee Anderson and his family.

Lee's daughter, Dorothy Shuford, talked with me several times and related stories and experiences. Don Shuford told me about his relationship with his father-in-law. Lee's sisters Ann Mabe and Pat Puckett helped a great deal in remembering events in the 1930's,'40's, and 50's. My brother Tim Mabe and my sister Glenda Boles reminded me about antics by our uncle. Bobby Long, Earlie Vogler, and Eddie Gregory also gave me information about Lee that I used in the writing.

Early in the blog I wrote that there were no known early photos of Elvira Scott Anderson, Lee's mother.

Later, one reader, Ann Mabe, found a photo which is shown above. This photo was made in 1912. This beautiful young woman, Elvira, is holding her first of thirteen children. This baby is another of my uncles, the late John William Anderson (4/7/11 - 1/8/99).

I can visualize Elvira looking much the same in 1916 when she would have held her new baby Jasper Lee.

I also thank my son David who encouraged me to write and many thanks to all the readers who followed the writing of The Life and Times of Jasper Lee Anderson.

Return here on Thursday, June 29 for something different.

Have a good day!


Sunday, June 25, 2006

After Death

A few years before Lee's death, Dot had a discussion with her daddy. She asked, "Daddy, if you were to die before mother, would you expect her to marry again?" After thinking about this question for a couple minutes, Lee replied, "Frances is still young and she deserves a good man."

Dorothy then asked him, " Do you have anybody in mind?" Again, he thought for a few minutes before he answered. Lee then answered, "Yes, Sam Gilbert"-Dorothy then asked him, "Is there anybody else?" Once again he pondered the question. This time he replied, "Grant Tuttle- Sam and Grant are fine men. Both are widowers and each would make Frances a good husband."

A few years after this discussion, Lee died. The months that followed Lee's death were difficult for Frances and Dot. Frances' breathing was more difficult and her nerves were in a state of disorder. She spent about a month in Clemmons Village Assisted Living to get help. She returned home and continued to work through the grieving process of losing the man she married when her age was 14. Her age at Lee's death was 61 and she showed the stress of hard work I previously described. Dot spent time with her to help both of them adjust to the loss of the man both loved beyond measure.

Dot worked at Brendle's in Reynolda Manor Shopping Center on Reynolda Road at the time. One day while on her job, Sam Gilbert entered the store and asked Dot if he could talk with her. Dot replied, "My break is scheduled in 20 minutes, if you can wait we can talk then." Sam returned and joined Dot on her break. He asked her, "Dot, what would you think about me seeing your mother?" Dot replied, "It would be fine with me. I suggest you go to her house and knock on the door. If she invites you inside, then visit."

A few months later and within one year of Lee's death Sam and Frances were married. This seemingly quick marriage surprised most friends, extended family members, and neighbors.

Sam had five children and several grandchildren. Frances had one child and no grandchildren.

Frances and Sam had a good marriage for seven years until she died in January, 2001. Frances and Sam planned to be buried side-by-side in the same cemetery where Lee is buried. A grave headstone was erected for the two about seventy-five feet from Lee's lone grave.

Sam died a year later in January, 2002 and is buried beside his first wife Vivian in the cemetery at Doub's Methodist Church. Frances is buried in the plot that was planned for she and Sam.

The placement of bodies after death is important mostly for symbolism and the comfort of decendants who visit these sites and reflect on their ancestory.

Return here on Tuesday, June 27 for credits and thanks to those who contributed to this writing.

Have a good day!


Friday, June 23, 2006

The Final Sunset

Lee's last couple weeks were spent in Forsyth Memorial Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. There, he asked Dorothy to summon the hospital chaplain to his room to pray with him. Nobody knows what the two spoke about, but I imagine the conversation went something like this after the chaplain introduced himself:

Chaplain: "Mr. Anderson, I will not say anything you don't already know.
Almighty God created all things. We know this because of the written Word handed down through the ages. Prophets like Elijah, Moses, and Isaiah were chosen by God to speak on God's behalf and convey His message and teachings. God wants men and women to choose Him over evil in the world. God sent into the world His Son Jesus who lived and taught the world about The Almighty and what Heaven is like. Jesus taught that if we humble ourselves, ask forgiveness of our sins, and invite Him into our heart, then we will be received into the everlasting
arms of God."

Lee: "I want that. I always believed in God. Frances studied her Sunday School lessons and read aloud from the Bible on Saturday nights. I listened to her read and pray. I learned about the Lord from Frances and Dorothy. But, I'm a sinner. Please forgive me, Lord."

Chaplain: "Mr. Anderson, may I lead us in prayer the way Jesus taught us to pray?"

Lee: "I'd like that."

Chaplain: "Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as
it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

Over the next few days, Dorothy spent lots of time in his room. Frances was also a patient in this same hospital in another room at the same time.

Dorothy touched and rubbed Lee's hand, arm, face, and head. She easily enunciated the word love many times in sentences as she talked to her daddy. Lee was semiconscious and unable to speak much of the time, but made body signals that indicated hearing.

Dorothy said to Lee, "You have been a great daddy. I learned so much from you."

Within a few days, at the age of 77 years and 3 days, Lee's time in this world ended. The date was March 28, 1993. This date was 52 years after the day Lee laid on that Sanford, North Carolina road where he looked up and requested the patrolman to let him die because he couldn't live without his arm.

A few days after his death, Lee was buried in the cemetery at Pleasant Hill Methodist Church in Dozier, North Carolina. This was the same church where a woman of the church made Lee feel unwelcome many years before when she made a derogatory comment to him about the way he was dressed in that house of worship.

The scenario between this woman of the church and Lee is, perhaps, an example of what Jesus meant when He spoke the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. The book of Matthew Chapter 20 in The Holy Bible records Jesus' words about God's generosity. Jesus concluded His story with these words, "So the last will be first, and the first last: for many are called, but few chosen." Verse 16, KJV.

The picture above shows Lee pulling a hose to add water to plant life growing in his front yard.

The picture below shows the head stone on Lee's grave.

Return here on Sunday, June 25 for what happened next.

Have a good day!


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Eat Shrimp?

Lee's favorite leisure activity was fishing in the Yadkin River, the Tennessee River, and sometimes at the North Carolina coast. The picture above shows Lee and his son-in-law Don Shuford awaiting a nibble.

Catfish was Lee's favorite fresh water catch. He could thread a fishhook and tie a knot with only one hand. As bait, he used earth worms, Catawba worms, grub worms, or shrimp.

I doubt Lee ever ate a shrimp. I can imagine him saying, "Shrimp are for catfish bait. I've seen expensive automobiles fill my parking lot on Saturday nights. Men dressed in suits and women in long dresses got out of their cars and walked across the street into the Robert. E. Lee Hotel. I sat in my toll-booth shack and watched through the window into the hotel ball room. Those people stood around a table and a large bowl of crushed ice. Shrimp were hanging over the edge of that bowl. Those people picked up those shrimp by the tail, dipped it in some red stuff, and ate that cold shit. Some of those damn people put shrimp on a see-through glass plate and walked around each other giggling as they used a colored tooth pick to lift shrimp off the plate and into their mouth. I wouldn't eat that shit! Shrimp are for catfish bait."

Threading a needle is hard for many people. Threading a fish hook and tying the knot wasn't easy for Lee until he discovered a technique. One-armed people are required to discover lots of maneuvers to get through life. Lee placed a new fish hook into an eyelet of his shoe, point first. This placement of the hook held the shank and eye in midair as Lee used his fingers to pass the nylon line through the hook's eye. He pulled excess line through the eye which helped him tie a fisherman's knot. He cut the excess line after he completed the knot.

As I thought about maneuvers above, I am reminded of a trick Lee performed that amazed people young and old. Few people could perform this act even after Lee showed them. When challenged to demonstrate his trick, he placed his left foot and calf behind his head. He did this even in old age. People were awestruck by his flexible hip joints.

Lee cleaned catfish this way: He started with a nail and hammer. Yes, he could "nail and hammer" with one hand. You try it sometime. He penetrated the catfish's head with a nail and then hammered the nail through the head and into a tree stump, for example. This secured the fish for the next step. He then used a sharpened butcher knife to cut through the skin behind the fish's head and gills. He used the knife blade to then lift a section of skin. He laid the knife down and reached for the pliers. He gripped the raised section with the pliers and pulled the entire skin off the fish. This action would be like you hooking your thumb inside your sock and with one motion removing the sock from your foot leaving the sock inside out.

Next, he cut off fins. Lee then pulled the fish loose from the stump or board, removed the nail, flipped the fish over, and nailed the fish again through the head. Now the fish was secured belly up. Lee cut along the belly center to expose the entrails. He used his fingers to rip away the internal parts. Lee flung these entrails to the ground for passing dogs or cats to eat. The final step was to cut the body from the head while still nailed.

After he repeated this process on all fish he caught, Frances washed and cooked the fish for the family meal.

As Lee journeyed through life, his friends included Clyde Tate, Worth Doub, and brother Buford. These three men helped Lee at "hog killing times".

Lee used Worth Doub's farm buildings to store potatoes until buyers were identified. Lee's potato harvests produced a few dozen bushels. He used his Ford tractor to plow his subterranean tuber crop to ground surface at harvest time. Lee, Dorothy, and Frances gathered these potatoes into baskets. (In my mind's eye, I see Lee rolling a potato in his hand and using his thumb to remove the fresh, moist dirt.) Lee hauled bushels of potatoes to Worth's buildings where he spread the new potatoes into a thin layer in the dark, dry, cool spaces of the buildings. This storage permitted curing and thickening of the skin. I recall Lee selling potatoes for $8.00 per bushel.

Lee taught Dorothy how to garden as she helped with the hoeing process. Lee used a special hoe that was smaller than most. The blade was worn small and the corners rounded from repeated use. The handle was cut shorter than standard. He gripped the handle by forming a fist around it, curved his wrist, and allowed the remaining handle to pass up his forearm past his elbow. His forearm was the control and strength behind each stroke.

Good gardening necessitates hoeing. This process breaks the crust around plants and brings fresh, moist dirt up close to the plant after tractor or tiller cultivation. Lee showed Dorothy how to hoe beets. He demonstrated how to use this tool to shift dirt, push clods away, and bring fresh moist soil near the plant. This process covered grass and weeds to prevent their competitive growth.

Lee followed behind Dorothy to inspect her performance. If weed growth was too close to the plant for hoe action, their gardening required them to bend over and pull the unwanted weed or grass by hand. If Dorothy missed this part of the job, Lee asked her to return to that section of the row for re-hoe. The job should be done right!

The picture below shows Lee on his tractor with Don Shuford, son-in-law, standing beside him.
Dorothy and Lee are in the other picture which shows a small garden near their house.

Eddie Gregory, Restaurateur of Old Richmond Grill, recalled the first time he ever saw Lee. Eddie said, "I was fourteen years old and working as a curb boy at Old Richmond Grill. I looked behind the grill building and there was Lee Anderson out there in the garden operating a roto-tiller with one hand. I couldn't believe it." Eddie continued, "I remember thinking it takes my daddy two hands to run a tiller." Eddie also said, "I remember Lee at that time drove a 1959 Buick, two-tone brown."

Samuel M. Gilbert was another close friend of Lee. Sam was a landowner, cattle farmer, and freight hauler truck company owner. For years Lee visited Sam's home on Sunday mornings to eat pancakes with Sam and his wife, Vivian. After Vivian's death in June 1989, Lee continued that Sunday morning tradition.

Return here on Friday, June 23 when I write about Lee's death.

Have a good day!


Monday, June 19, 2006

The Power of "Lee"

Everyone called my uncle by his middle name Lee. Lee and Frances named their only child, Dorothy Lee Anderson. She grew up being called Dorothy and now many people call her Dot.

Dorothy's first marriage was in March, 1966 to Milton Lee Masencup. Although you wouldn't know it by looking into the faces of Lee and Frances in the above picture, they did like Milton. I suppose the photographer snapped the picture before their pose was ready.

On the other hand, perhaps they felt their daughter was too young at age 18 for matrimony. They may have had dreams of a college education or Hollywood stardom and realized in that moment their dreams were evaporating.

The picture below shows Uncle Lee in a little more joyful pose.

The wedding took place on Saturday afternoon at Macedonia Baptist Church in Tobaccoville, North Carolina where Dorothy and Frances were members. Glenda Mabe, Vickie Merritt, Shirley Duggins, and Belinda Webb were bridesmaids and Barbara Jean Bodenhamer was maid-of-honor. Ronald Petree and David Petree were groomsmen and Joe Masencup was best man.

(I received no invitation to the wedding. I assume I was not invited because I was in Vietnam and they knew I couldn't attend anyway.)

Lee was a man with broken or missing body parts, but his ego was complete, his confidence assured, his attitude "can do", and his spirit strong. Frances and Dorothy loved this man beyond all measure.

Dorothy's marriage to Milton lasted twelve years. She then married Walter Lee Cornatzer for a short period. Later, she met and married Donald Lee Shuford. These three husbands are called by their first name, but possessed Lee as their middle name. Dorothy acknowledges this coincidence and insists it had no bearing on forming these relationships.

Don and Dot have been married twenty-seven years and are great for each other. Dot's father, Lee, and Don became best friends and spent much time together. They went fishing, searched yard sales for bargains, worked gardens, and loafed together.

Return here on Wednesday, June 21 for another chapter about Lee Anderson.

Have a good day!


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Count The Ways

Frances learned to drive a car at age 42 and obtained a driver's license from the state of North Carolina in the early 1970's. This family was frugal and slowly, slowly saved a little money from their jobs. She eventually bought a car and drove herself. Until then, she rode in the passenger side of their GMC pick-up truck or cars they may have owned. This was a one vehicle family up to this time.

Frances first learned about God and Jesus as a child in Tennessee from her mother and their church. Her faith in the Lord never wavered. She knew where to find peace, rest, and the strength to face tomorrow.

I remember Lee waiting in his car or truck outside Macedonia Baptist Church in Tobaccoville as church dismissed the Sunday worship service. I ran to his car to talk with him before Frances and Dorothy arrived at the car to go home.

I recall as a young boy, Frances telling me how wonderful and pretty women were in her home state. She referred to Dolly Parton's pretty face and the musical talent of that rising star. Frances also pointed to herself in support of this claim. Perhaps this feeling about native Tennessee girls is one reason she insisted on returning to Lenoir City in 1948 to deliver her baby.

Frances loved the voice and music of Loretta Lynn. Loretta was born in nearby Kentucky. Frances compared her poor upbringing to that of Loretta Lynn.

Lee (with Frances' help) accumulated farm equipment to help them till bigger gardens.
Frances purchased a piano for Dorothy to learn music. Dorothy took lessons from Mrs. John W. Wood for eight years. Frances took few lessons and taught herself as she played this instrument.

The picture above shows Lee on his tractor working during inclement weather. He cleared the driveway of snow so they could get to work the next day. The parking lot downtown had to open for business and the cigarette production at RJR had to continue uninterrupted.

The picture below shows their small house after expansions of enclosed front and back porches and a lean-to car shelter. The house in the background is where I lived as a child until the fifth grade. I admired my uncle and was always amazed by this man. He and I were good buddies.

Look again at the house picture below. There is no way to know for certain, but I venture to think that the pronunciation of the word "love" occurred more times inside this house than any other house in the area. I believe a close runner-up would have been the Claude and Myrtle Ring household. Your thoughts and ranking about this conjecture are equal to mine.

Again, look at the picture below with the above thoughts in mind. Doesn't this house now look like a mansion?

Return here for more about this man's life on Monday, June 19.

Have a good day!


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Parking Lot Job

The picture of Lee above was taken inside the toll booth of the parking lot across the street from the Robert E. Lee Hotel. Lee worked between twenty to thirty years at two parking lots in Winston-Salem. His pay, most likely, never exceeded more than one hundred dollars per week. There were no benefits, 401-k, pension, stock purchase plans, or bonus opportunities.

The toll booth was positioned in the center of the driveway. It was only large enough for one person. He handed time-stamped tickets to incoming drivers through the sliding window on his left. The sliding window on his right was used to accept the ticket from departing cars. He again stamped the ticket with time, manually computed hours parked, figured the cost, and completed the money transaction with the departing customer. The booth was hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

Lee loved his job there and was very well liked by all people around town except derelicts, street people, bums, and winos. Lee was often approached by such people who asked him for money. His response was to curse them and say, "Get the hell out of here you son-of-bitch. Go get a damn job and don't come back here."

Sometimes these people would threaten Lee with bodily harm for his response to their want. Lee would then lay his artificial arm in the open window ledge and expose the intimidating metal gripper where his hand should be. This action usually conveyed a message that sent them on their way.

Lee only used this artificial arm and gripper to balance his body, to playfully incite shock and awe among young children he knew, and to intimidate street-people bums. There were cases in which this technique didn't send the bums on their way. When that happened, he came out of the toll booth brandishing his pistol and cursing them with threats to shoot. He was never required to demonstrate his seriousness.

In modern terminology, Lee could be described as having "zero-tolerance" for bums with two good legs, two good arms, a complete stomach, and an average brain.

You may wonder how I know the above well enough to quote Lee. As a teenager, I visited him at the parking lot a few Saturday evenings where I watched him work and talked with him between customers. There was standing room only for a second person in the toll booth. I witnessed first hand some above incidents and he told me about others.

It was very common to see people standing outside his toll booth window engaged in friendly talk with Lee. Someone from the Quality Oil Company office came to replace Lee for restroom breaks and lunch. There was no telephone in his workplace and cell phones were not yet invented.

Lee was a good gardener and grew produce each year. He brought corn, potatoes, beets, beans, and tomatoes with him to work and sold this home-grown produce to acquaintances in the city. He supplied some vegetables to the first K & W Cafeteria which was located around the corner from his lot. Lee was known by important people in downtown and they welcomed his produce in the summer. In the winter they purchased seasoned sausage. Lee slaughtered mature hogs raised by neighboring farms. He hired family and friends to help butcher and process the meat into sausage. Of course, Frances and Dorothy helped with this work.

The picture below of Lee was taken by Journal photographer Jim Keith in 1962 for an article in the Winston-Salem newspaper about the corn stalk he grew beside the sidewalk at the parking lot entrance.

Return here Saturday, June 17 for more about Lee Anderson.

Have a good day!


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Constable J. L. Anderson

Lee was elected Constable of the Dozier, Old Richmond, and Tobaccoville areas of Forsyth County in the early 1960's. He won the election by one vote against his opponent Dak Rierson.
Howard Odell Long of Tobaccoville claimed credit for Lee's election victory. Of course, every voter for Lee could make the same claim, but I can imagine Howard saying, "Yes, but I was the last voter and cast the tie-breaking vote so the outcome hinged on my vote more than it did on yours-ha, ha, ha, ha"!

The top picture shows Lee in uniform, with tobacco, pistol and badge ready to enforce laws of the land in his jurisdiction.

Lee used a knob on the steering wheel of any vehicle or tractor he operated. He made vehicle directional turns much sharper than most people as he used one hand and the knob to quickly spin the steering wheel. It was comical to see him make such turns. You would have thought he had "power steering" on his cars and tractors by the way he made them change direction. He could drive on snow and ice covered roads when other motorists were spinning sideways and making no progress.

He served warrants for the sheriff and pulled over motorists who were driving too fast or who littered the roadside. One night he followed a car that swerved excessively as it moved along the dark rural road. After pulling over the car, he discovered a lone woman from the area who had a reputation of drinking alcoholic beverages. Lee confirmed she was too intoxicated to drive so he made her leave the car there as he drove her to her home in his car. She was in his front seat as they drove. During the trip, she leaned over, hugged Lee and tried to kiss him. Lee couldn't take his one hand off the steering wheel so he tried to disuade her by saying, "I have tobacco in my mouth". She responded with, "Oh, give me some of it". He finally got her home and out of his car.

When Lee arrived home, he explained the close encounter and assured Frances that he was always faithful to her. I believe Lee did not run for a second term as Constable.

The below pictures shows the official badges he earned, the steering knob he used, and the metal gripper he displayed on the artificial arm where the hand should be. I never saw him use the gripper except to take his right hand and lift his fake arm in the direction of young children to watch their startled reaction as they pulled away from him toward the protection of their mom or dad. Lee would get big laughs from this gesture.

Return here on Thursday, June 15 for more about Lee Anderson.

Have a good day!


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Habits and Speech

Lee was generally a very positive person and upbeat about life's circumstances. He was liked by most people in the community and very popular in Winston-Salem where he knew many professional people, retailers, and shoppers who frequented his parking lot. He was an entertaining character who was fun to be around. His frequent antics caused people to laugh as he laughed with them.

Lee decorated his speech with lots of words like shit, damn, bitch, son-of-bitch, hell, ass, etc. He used these words as nouns, adjectives and adverbs. I noticed people who talked this way were usually men. It was a common practice among some men during that era to use such language. I tried to determine if men spoke that way because they didn't know more appropriate words or if they were trying to get laughter or startled reactions from listeners or young people in their midst. I concluded that both reasons explained this type word usage.

Anyway, today few men curse like they did in that previous generation. However, I notice more women of today speaking curse words which is different from the past. Certainly, it was rare for women to speak that way in mixed company.

Above, Lee is sitting on the front porch of Waller's Store in Dozier, a popular place to visit neighbors, gossip, and drink soda or eat Nabs, sardines, cheese, or salted peanuts.

Lee chewed tobacco, but didn't smoke or consume alcoholic beverages. His distinguishing characteristic was a large wad of tobacco inside his cheek and dark saliva pooled in his mouth. Sometimes he could not speak until he moved to the edge of the porch to expectorate and produce a large splash onto the ground.

Lee worked hard but knew how to rest, relax and gather his thoughts about what to do next. I imagine he is resting and planning in the picture below. He may have been making plans to go to the Yadkin River where he enjoyed fishing. I'll describe the way he knotted line to hooks and cleaned catfish with only one hand in a later post.

Return here Tuesday, June 13 for the next chapter about my Uncle Lee.

Have a good day!


Friday, June 09, 2006

A House of Their Own

In the mid 1940's Jasper and Elvira bought the Methodist Church parsonage in Dozier and moved into the house which had about three acres of land.

Lee and Frances needed their own home. Lee's father transferred a small portion of his acreage for Lee and Frances to build a small four room house of their own. Lee's father and brothers helped build the house in the early 1950's and this is where Lee lived with his family for the rest of his life.

The top picture shows Lee in a light shirt, brother Buford resting, Jasper with the shovel, my sister Glenda and me on bikes. We were in the front yard of Lee's new house as the men were building an enclosure for the well pump and water storage tank.

The next picture is the same setting with Lee's sister Nettie wearing sunglasses, Ann (my mother holding her new baby Tim), Glenda and Dorothy standing side-by-side, and our cousin Vicki Merritt. The house and buildings in the background are the former parsonage property where Jasper and Elvira lived.

The house of Lee, Frances, and Dorothy is in the below picture. This four room, one bath house was their home. Throughout the years, they expanded the house slightly by adding and enclosing front and back porches. They maintained a neat outside appearance and comfortable furnishings inside.

Frances had strong faith in the Lord. She was active in church at New Bethel Baptist and later at Macedonia Baptist. She sang in the choir, sang in a quartet, and taught Adult Sunday School. She didn't drive a car until later in life. Lee drove her to church and returned to pick her up at the end of services.

Lee did not attend church as none of his family did while his siblings grew up. I have often wondered why they didn't attend church since the community was tight-knit, rural, and sparsely populated. Pleasant Hill Methodist and New Bethel Baptist Churches were nearby. Most of the Anderson siblings joined churches when they became adults.

I asked several of them why the Anderson family didn't attend church when they were young. The most plausible response I got was that Lee did visit Pleasant Hill Church one time as a boy. A lady in the church commented negatively to him about wearing bib-overalls to church. He never returned.

Return here on Sunday, June 11 for more about the life of Lee Anderson.

Have a good day!


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pride and Joy

Dorothy Lee Anderson was born in 1948 and was the pride and joy for Lee and Frances from then forward. Dorothy is in the picture above with her father, Lee and with Frances in the picture below. The last picture is of Dorothy when she was school age.

By late 1948 they were, again, in Dozier where Frances became the breadwinner of the family with her job at R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company beginning in 1951. During the years between '48 and '51 Lee worked weekends for W. L. Vogler (Bill) in a store at the hilltop above Donnaha. Lee was handicapped and had limited employment opportunity. Bill Vogler assisted Lee in getting hired by Quality Oil Company as an Attendant at the parking lot across the street from the Robert E. Lee Hotel on West Fourth Street in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Lee worked there until the lot was replaced with a building. He then began working at the parking lot on Trade Street beside Brown-Rodgers Hardware Store.

This was a one car family so Lee and Frances rode together to get to their jobs in Winston-Salem which was about a fifteen mile drive. Lee would drop her off and pick her up at the factory job for years before they could afford a second vehicle.

Lee's job provided no benefits or pension so heavy responsibility rested with Frances and her job at Reynolds.

Santa Claus did come to their home at Christmas time, but Frances told Dorothy late in life, "The tea set and doll you received one year was provided by the Salvation Army".

In addition to cooking, canning, freezing vegetables at home, Frances excelled on the job in the cigarette factory. She eventually advanced to the new plant at Whitaker Park. This facility was the premiere RJR plant that offered tours to the public. Frances was a machine operator and one of the tour guides. She was chosen to lead factory tours for such groups as the music group "Alabama" and members of the motorcycle group "Hells Angels". She remarked, "I was worried about the Hells Angels, but they turned out to be very nice people".

Return here on Friday, June 9 for more of the story of, J. Lee Anderson.

Have a good day!


Monday, June 05, 2006

After Recuperation

After months of recuperation, Lee moved to Lenoir City, Tennessee where he found work as a night watchman at Clinton Engineer Works, codename SiteX at Oak Ridge. There production and separation of uranium and plutonium for the Manhattan Project were secretly under development.

After time on this job, Lee and a partner/friend opened a restaurant in downtown Lenoir City.
The dishwasher they hired was Frances Elvira Silvey, born in 1932 near the town. Lee remarked, "She is the prettiest thing I've ever seen." Frances was paid $8.00 per week and stopped attending school after seventh grade.

They married in 1946 when Lee was age 30 and Frances 14. Frances' mother was only two years older than Lee and would not agree to the marriage. As a result, they drove across the state border into Rossville, Georgia where an untruth about age enabled them to get married.

Most of Lee's family were stunned by the news of him marrying this young girl. Frances would later write in her memoirs that marrying Lee was "one of the wisest things I have ever done." Later, Mrs. Silvey's feelings about Lee's marriage to her daughter would turn to acceptance, admiration, and love.

While in Tennessee, Lee developed stomach problems and underwent surgery. Later, when back in Dozier, doctors surgically removed one-half of his stomach due to ulcers. In addition to his amputated arm and crooked leg, Lee would live with limited capacity to eat and the need to avoid certain foods and spices. During the next 46 years, Frances prepared home-cooked meals for Lee. They rarely ate in restaurants partly due to his diet restrictions and partly due to expense.

It was difficult to make a living in Lenoir City so Lee decided to return to Dozier with his young wife.

Jack Bodenhamer, Lee's brother-in-law, built a store with two rooms in the rear for Lee and Frances. This store was located on Vienna-Dozier Road at the Waller Road intersection (the store building is now a residence). Lee and Frances moved into and operated the store there for a short time.

Frances became pregnant and wanted her baby to be born in Tennessee. So the store closed and they moved back to Tennessee where their daughter Dorothy was born in 1948. They soon returned to Dozier and rented a house owned by Ada Bean.

Return here Wednesday, June 7 for more about the life and times of J. Lee Anderson.

Have a good day!


Saturday, June 03, 2006

After The Accident

Lee remained in the Sanford Hospital where he received a metal plate in his leg below the knee. This leg eventually healed with permanent unnatural curvature which caused his shoulder to dip a couple inches with every step taken for the rest of his life.

After he was released from the hospital, he was taken to the boarding house in Sanford where he lived while he chauffeured dignitaries and project managers around Fort Bragg. Mrs. Coe, the landlady, cared for him for about two weeks until arrangements were made to get him home.

Home in Dozier was no longer the "Old Place" in the previous photo. Mrs. Anderson (Elvira, Lee's mother) reported several harassing visits to her home by Clarence Fulk who wanted debt re-payment. Mrs. Anderson wrote Jasper at Fort Bragg who then returned home. They decided to surrender their land and house when a debt could not be repaid under the terms of a loan from Henry Doub during the Great Depression. They departed this property in '39 or '40 and moved into a house belonging to J. A. Whitman which the Anderson family then rented for several years. The next owner of the "Old Place" was J. H. Nance. It is unclear about the debt and the connections between Doub, Fulk, and Nance in this matter.

Mrs. Anderson set up a bed in the kitchen to use for herself in order to let Lee occupy her bed in the bedroom. There Lee would remain for several months as his broken leg and severed arm healed. Boredom eventually set in as he became stronger. His brother Buford modified a wooden sled, hitched the mule, loaded Lee, and pulled him about a mile to Long's Country Store where he passed time and visited neighbors some days.

The above picture was taken some months after Lee lost his arm. His stub appears bandaged and he's standing with his weight mostly on one leg.

Please bear with me as I digress a moment to comment about the towheaded child in the photo. This child is a nephew, Bud Bodenhamer, born 1939 to Lee's sister Della Bodenhamer. Bud died in 1974 at age 35 from a condition called Spinal Ataxia. This muscle control condition started when he was in early high school and advanced quickly. He became immobile and bedridden for many years before he died. His mother, Della, and younger brother, David, cared for Bud in their home. It was phenomenal the way they assisted Bud in all life sustaining requirements for so long.

Return here on Monday, June 5 for the continuing life story and photos of this heroic man, J. Lee Anderson.

Have a good day!


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Lee's Life Started Here

The picture above is the way the house looks today.

The below picture is Jasper Anderson, born 1882 in Virginia who built his house in this remote and rugged part of Forsyth County of North Carolina sometime prior to 1910. The acreage he owned was hilly and difficult to cultivate.

Mr. Anderson married Eunice Elvira Scott, born 1891, in the Friendship Community along the Yadkin River in Yadkin County. There is no known early picture of her. Jasper and Elvira began their combined lives here and Mrs. Anderson bore her first child, John, in 1911. During the next twenty-one years, she gave birth to thirteen children of which Lee was fourth when he was born in 1916.

Jasper Lee Anderson was named after his father and grew up on this site as he worked the farm, learned to grow crops including tobacco, and learned skills of living off land. He attended school to about the fifth or seventh grade. People in the community nicknamed him "Keen-Eye" and called him by this name throughout his childhood. It isn't known for certain why this name was chosen. Perhaps, it's the look of his eyes as can be seen in the photo of him in the previous posting.

During the late 1930's, Lee lived a couple years in Canada where he flue-cured harvested tobacco for a man named Ott Doub, an emigrant from the United States.

While traveling to Dozier, NC from Canada, Lee passed through Buffalo, NY where he bought a new Indian Motocyle, "America's First Motorcycle". He drove the remainder of the trip to Dozier on his new mode of transportation.

I grew up calling this homestead the "Old Place". The house hasn't been occupied in over fifty years and probably doesn't have a street address. It is so far off-road that directions to this site are best given by coordinates which are N36 deg. 11.793 min., W80 deg. 25.296 min., elevation 862 feet. Enter these coordinates into Google Earth to locate on a map or to get a satellite view.

Return here on Saturday, June 3 for the continuing life story and photos of this heroic man, J. Lee Anderson.

Have a good day!