Aubrey's Family History (part 4 of 4)
activity reports, opinions expressed, information exchange, exhortation and rumination
French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said, "If you are lonely when you're alone, you are in bad company".
In the amount of time as a few heartbeats, Aubrey and Carol's dream of retirement together vanished like smoke. Aubrey was shocked and alone by the sudden death of Carol. She was buried at Doubs United Methodist Church cemetery on Seward Road. He retired from RJR on November 10, 1995 and the golden years ahead would now be lived alone.
Aubrey's favorite Bible passage is Psalm 23 where he finds solace in coping alone. He is in good company with the comforting words of the psalmist.
The Doub ancestry reaches deep into the United States history in Pfafftown. John Doub first settled in the Balsom Road and Kilmurry Hill Road area in the late 1700's. Michael Clark Doub was one of John's sons and Aubrey's great grandfather. Michael was a Methodist minister, tanner, landowner, farmer, and slave owner. Aubrey built his brick ranch-style home in 1972 on a couple acres that was once part of the large plantation. According to Lettie, who studied the family history from public documents and private papers, great grandfather Michael owned as many as 6 slaves. The 1850 census lists the 6 slaves as male age 38, female age 41, male age 35, male age 12, female age 9, male age 1. No names of slaves were shown on the census record that Lettie read in the North Carolina Room in the Forsyth County Public Library. Private papers list Michael's slave names as Peter, Charles, and Louisa. The other three names are not known. The slaves had no last names. When Emancipation freed the slaves after the Civil War, one slave didn't want to leave. The only legal way for him to remain on the farm was to take the last name, Doub. So, the negro man with the last name of Doub stayed there until Michael Clark Doub died in 1876.
A few years ago at a church in Old Town, Lettie spoke with visiting Bishop Robert Doub, a black man in the Apostolic Church in Philadelphia. Bishop Doub knew that he had a white man's name, but never knew how that came to be. When Lettie related the story of the slave who wanted to stay on the plantation and received the last name Doub, the bishop believed that he descended from that man. Lettie said, "the bishop hugged me and held the embrace for the longest time as he accepted the happiness of knowing the history." Sometime later Bishop Robert Doub was killed in an automobile accident in the mountains of Pennsylvania while traveling between churches. He likely went to sleep while driving.
Michael Clark Doub was one founder and preacher at Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church on Robin Hood Road in Winston-Salem. His portrait hangs there among other historical preachers of that church. Michael's brother, Peter Doub, was an iconic Methodist preacher, a professor at Trinity College (now Duke University), and also helped found Greensboro Female College (now Greensboro College). Reverend Peter Doub is buried at Green Hill Cemetery in Greensboro and has a monument in his honor.
Michael Clark Doub and wife Gracette Reynolds had three sons and six daughters. One son was Olin Wilbur Fisk Doub who was Aubrey's grandfather.
Coaching baseball continued at NWFALL complex until 2001 at which time the Big Leagues participation fizzled. Boys within that age group found other things to do with their time so it seemed proper for Aubrey to retire from coaching.
Weather permitting, Doub sits in a lawn chair underneath his carport at his home on Kilmurry Hill Road. There he can see an occasional car pass, smoke Winston cigarettes, drink Pepsi, watch his dogs play, monitor the hummingbird feeder, watch grass grow, and listen to his favorite radio station, 98.1 FM out of Galax, Virginia.
During cold or inclement weather, he’s inside his house where he tends a wood-burning stove. A daily nap after lunch has always been on his schedule since retirement. Most meals are eaten at area restaurants where he meets and interacts with many of his friends.
Around 1990 Aubrey restored a 1947 Ford Ferguson tractor his father bought new. All Doub family siblings drove this tractor to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops of corn, tobacco, grains, and gardens. The only female sibling was Lettie who also drove the tractor. Each workday after lunch, Lanier (Aubrey's late father) took an hour-long nap. During this hour, the boys and Lettie played baseball in the front yard. When Lanier's rest period was over and he said, "Let's go", the baseball playing ended immediately and everyone returned to work in the fields.
Aubrey’s interest in antique tractors, lawn mowers, and old horse drawn farm implements grew during the 1990’s. He restored and preserved those already in the family and acquired other makes and models of interest to him. One friend, Allen Beauchamp, assisted Aubrey on many of these restoration projects. Allen owned sandblasting equipment and tools for spray-painting the stripped and sanded metals on the old tractors. As the two friends worked together for years, Aubrey’s collection grew. He built additional storage buildings to shelter his newly restored tractors and mowers. Allen's declining health and Doub's full storage buildings stopped further expansion of the antique collection.
If you ride along Kilmurry Hill Road and see the sight in the picture at the top, then stop and "take a break". Sit beside Aubrey and talk about old times, rising stars in current little league teams, hard work in the past, current weather, or anything else of interest. I assure you that humor will be enjoyed and quality time will be experienced.
If I could, I would present to Aubrey a citizenship award because of his honorable military service, his 23 years of helping youths as baseball coach, and his faithful marriage to Carol for 36 years. Since I can't present an award, I say thank you to Aubrey Allen Doub for all you have done for the betterment of our part of the world.
Click on the pictures below and above to enlarge them for better viewing.
Have a good week!
When asked if he learned any skills in the army that helped him in civilian life, he said, “Yeah, how to take a break”.
Doub worked in cigarette factories in Winston-Salem for 29.5 years. He operated cigarette making machines for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in factories: number 64, number 97, number 9, number 256, number 12, and the last nine years in the Tobaccoville Plant. He helped produce Winston, Salem, and Camel cigarettes. He smokes Winston brand.
Aubrey grew up on a farm and performed all jobs associated with growing tobacco crops. In addition to plowing the fields, he helped the family prepare and seed the plant beds, pegged the young plants in the fields, pulled suckers and killed tobacco worms, applied mineral oil to prevent sucker growth, harvested the mature leaves, and filled the flue-curing barns with the sticky, yellow-tinted green tobacco leaves. He eventually learned how to heat the barns to cure the leaves to a golden brightness. Growing tobacco was laborious, sweaty, and tiring for the whole family who grew as much as six acres per year. The tobacco crops were in addition to corn, wheat, grains, hay, and farm animals.
Before he started his career in the tobacco factories, he worked a couple years each for Brewer Tire and Duplan Corporation. Recapping worn tires was his job at Brewer’s and work in the Receiving Department at Duplan was his responsibility.
Mr. Doub is a serious person, but enjoys humor and is easily brought to laughter. He can joke and poke fun at many situations. He is a good sport with humor even when it’s directed at him. Former carpool rider and factory worker colleague Ross Adams said Aubrey often referred to the Ugliest Man Contest in the factory. "I always won", Adams quoted Aubrey.
Aubrey may have maximized rest periods at RJR, but there were few breaks when he arrived at the baseball field. This sport was in his bloodline. Most Doubs, including Lettie, on Kilmurry Hill Road played baseball during Aubrey’s youth. Older brother and southpaw, Kermit, played for the Philadelphia Athletics farm team in Middlesboro, Kentucky in the early 1950’s. Aubrey threw right-handed and swung the bat left-handed, and was a “little man” but could handle a bat and ball expertly. Former high school Falcon and team member, Danny Bowen, recalls Aubrey as physically small, but a dependable base hitter.
Bowen also remembered driving an activity bus to deliver several team players to their homes one time after practice. When the bus arrived at the dirt road to Aubrey’s house, he asked to walk the rest of the way because of bus turn-around limitations at his house. Bowen recalls teenager Aubrey saying, “I live so far in the woods that the sun don’t shine”. Bowen wasn’t licensed to drive a school bus and was lectured by Principal Julian Gibson the next day. The normal student bus drivers weren't available for some reason which left the boys with no transportation arrangements after practice. Danny, only auto-licensed, assumed control of the situation and drove the stranded boys to their homes.
Aubrey’s “Field of Dreams” was not in a cornfield, but on 15.5 acres of rough ground off Conrad Sawmill Road. The Board of Directors of Northwest Forsyth American Little League (NWFALL) purchased these acres on August 16, 1973. One volunteer among the many was Aubrey Doub. He and others picked up rocks and stones for months and hauled them to nearby gullies as tractors landscaped the diamonds and outfields. Much of the rock hauling was done on Aubrey’s 1965 Ford truck. Men hand-raked the dirt and unearthed more and more rocks and pebbles until finally the new baseball infields and outfields became ready in 1974.
By then Carol and Aubrey had three sons, Allen, Jeffery, and Jimmy Ray. These young Doubs needed to learn this All-American game like their ancestors. Aubrey began teaching his boys about baseball and later coached the teams at NWFALL complex. He coached teams for twenty-three years at the complex. He touched the lives of hundreds of teenage boys as these young players practiced the sport and competed against teams throughout the county and region. My 34-year-old son, David Mabe, quickly recalls Coach Doub. David recently imitated the words and voice of Aubrey who often yelled to the young players, “Hit your cut off man”. This frequent command from Coach Doub referred to an important tactic for outfielders when throwing the ball to the infield.
Wife Carol, attended most games, kept score, and recorded the statistics. She sat in a lawn chair in a shady spot behind the backstop. This volunteer duty was between shifts at Sears where she worked for 21 years.
Aubrey received a phone call at Robin Hood Restaurant shortly after 8:00 AM on November 5, 1996. Sister Lettie Moore, on the other end of the telephone call reported that Carol had collapsed on the job at Sears. She asked him to go to the hospital at once. When Aubrey arrived, he discovered that Carol had died of a massive heart attack. Carol’s death came suddenly and without warning. His loving wife and partner in life for 36 years was gone. Aubrey and his sons were devastated. Carol was 55 and had planned to retire from Sears at the end of December.
Return here next week for more about Aubrey Doub.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them and have a good week!
He was not expected to live following his birth on April 26, 1939. “He was as limp as a dishrag and skin and bones”, said Lettie Lorena Doub Moore, his older and only sister.
Aubrey Allen Doub (last name pronounced “dab”) was born full term to Jennie Irene Woosley with normal body weight. After birth, no formula would stay in his stomach. His condition became serious and three doctors at City Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina exhausted all feeding ideas. According to Lettie Moore, the baby’s father, Lanier Laurrine Doub, told the doctors “He’s not going to stay here and die, I’ll take him home and he can die there.” Someone in the hospital waiting room overheard and said, “Try goat’s milk”.
Over the next couple of years, the infant became a toddler as Aubrey drank goat’s milk until solid food replaced the life saving nourishment. At four years of age young Aubrey’s legs were bowed and his stomach extended out like a malnourished Third World child. His stomach and digestive system eventually developed such that Aubrey now says, “I can eat anything except goat’s milk and never get indigestion, heart burn or other pain.” A time came when his body found the life saving goat milk repulsive.
As time passed and Aubrey grew, Lettie said, "I remember the family gathered around the table at mealtime and daddy would often stop eating to watch Aubrey.” Lettie quoted her father as saying, “I love to watch the little man eat.”
Aubrey loved his daddy. Wherever Lanier went so did this son who followed like a puppy to the fields, garden, around the yard, to the store, and to the baseball games. Aubrey separated himself from daddy enough to attend Old Richmond School and complete the eleventh grade at Northwest Forsyth High School in 1959. During the fifties, the game of baseball was deep-rooted in his family and in the community culture. Neighborhood teams were all around Forsyth County and Saturday afternoon games were often played during the summers. Aubrey played on the high school team as catcher.
Aubrey was drafted into the Army in April 1962 and served two years. I asked him, “What was it like for a farm boy from the country to enter basic training?” He said, “My Drill Sergeant at Fort Gordon, Georgia was about 6-4, black, and could run backward faster then recruits could run forward. That mean son-of-a-bitch ran circles around our company formation as we marched at double-time along the street. He made damn sure we were in-step and in alignment.” Aubrey performed well in training, earned the Marksmanship Badge with the M-1 rifle, and got along well with all recruits and drill instructors.
Private Aubrey Doub graduated basic training and was assigned to U. S. Army Garrison, Yuma Test Station in Yuma, Arizona. There he drove a variety of military track vehicles and heavy trucks to test different fuels in desert terrain. Pvt. Doub carried out driving assignments and recorded test data to help evaluate performance of CIE, diesel, and gasoline fuels in the vehicle engines.
Carol Jean Caudill married Aubrey on September 2, 1960 almost two years before he was inducted. After basic training, she moved to Yuma to join her husband. They lived off post in downtown about twenty miles from the military camp. This allowed Doub to miss early morning reveille. Their first son, Allen, was born in Yuma. Sons Jeffery and Jimmy Ray were born later.
The southern Arizona desert was hot and inhabited with scorpions and rattlesnakes. Aubrey explained, “Those scorpions stayed in any shady spot they could find. Hell yeah! And those rattlesnakes crawled sideways. The reason they crawl sideways is because if they didn’t, they’d bury themselves in that sand if they crawled straight. The snakes had a horn on their heads. They hid under the sand except for the horn sticking out. That’s how they got air.”
Aubrey served his two-year commitment honorably and was discharged from active duty with the rank of Specialist Fourth Class. He, Carol, and Allen returned home to Pfafftown from Yuma by Greyhound Bus. The trip home took 3 days. He served two more years in active reserves and the remaining two years were inactive reserves. Aubrey retained every document and most items associated with his military service. A neatly labeled file folder contains all pay vouchers, promotion orders, relocation orders, picture ID card, and discharge papers. His dog tags, medals, decorations, and dress uniform are all placed in prominent positions in his home.
The pictures at the top are Aubrey as an infant and toddler in the early 1940's. Ten-year-old Lettie is holding him on her lap while she sits on the car bumper and his grandmother, Rosa Dorse Woosley, holds him on her lap in another photo. The child holding the ball is Aubrey. He stands in front of his father, Lanier, in the next photo. Below, he is in military uniform sometime in '62 or '63. The last picture shows him opening a Christmas present from his mother, which was a one-cent piece, wrapped inside multiple boxes.
Click on the pictures to enlarge for better viewing.
Return here next week for more about Aubrey Doub.
Have a good Week!
Does a bear live in the woods? Duh...well, yes!