Sunday, August 16, 2009

Aubrey Allen Doub (part 2 of 4)

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!


At 8/24/2009 6:09 PM, Blogger hollister_bri said...

good job mike! you captured my dad perfect.cant wait to hear the rest jimmy ray


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