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Family Reunion Forum

Re: This Year's Reunion Experience! :)

I just love looking at old pictures of black people. I try to figure out where did they get the money to buy some of those clothes that look so fashionable now. Have to realize that some only had that one special outfit and it was probably hand sewn. Where I grew up in our neighborhood, there were men who came down the street in old trucks selling..
Old rags, which were clothes that the 'white folks' threw away. If you were the 1st on his route you might fine the better clothes. But there was always something found that could be repaired and used for somebody in the family.

The watermelon man, there was a time when they came down the street in their trucks, they plugged a watermelon,--cut out a triangle piece-- and according to the color was actually what they decided to charge. Sometimes you did a food taste.

Before refrigerators there was the ice box, that man brought ice to the house. You had to have a block or two to keep whatever you could cold. Sometimes I 'snuck' and stole a piece to eat. Put a little sugar on it and made my own popsicle.

The knife sharpening man, Once a week or month, neighborhood ladies would rush out there and get knives and scissors sharpened.

We lived next door to the neighborhood grocery store. Mr St Clair was his name. He was married to a real big fat lady. Mr St Clair would get drunk sometimes and beat her. She couldn't leave him because there wasn't anywhere she could run to. Eventually he stopped abusing her because he realized she was the one helping keep the store going. Mr St Clair was a true entrepreneur. He bought a old panel truck. He cut out a hole in the side and put in an old house window so he could sell out of the side of the truck. Put in a snow ball machine, potato chips, candy, canned foods. Was able to get hot ice and keep pop sickles cold and would drive to the schools in the morning, afternoon and evening waiting for kids to come out and buy something. Then drive around all over the city selling the same plus canned food or slices of meat to folks. This man earned enough to build his own house and not have to get a loan. Besides banks weren't going to lend any money to a 'colored man' and treat him fair. It's amazing the things I noticed then, but took for granted that was just the way he was. That was a real smart man.

Up into 1959, a lot of our homes in the hood, had outhouses. Inside toilets were a luxury. It' was embarassing when you went somewhere and people made fun of you. So you didn't tell too many people where you lived, because you knew they would make fun of you. My school teacher took a survey one day and asked everybody about their plumbling. I was the only one in class who's family had a outhouse. But our's was better than anyone else. You could pull a string and water would flush it. One thing about those outhouses, if you were running around playing, you didn't have to stop and go home to use the toilet. Sometimes you had to sneak and use certain peoples toilet, because you know all kids aren't clean, and the owners would tell your mama on you. Everybody respected each persons toilets in the hood, so you didn't 'go there' unless you asked.

Old pictures bring up so many memories from my child hood. They are so much better to look at because the old neighborhood was a place of families that you knew and nobody had too much more than the other. Of course you are always going to have someone who thought they were better than anyone else especially if they went to the store and bought a new item that had never been worn. Yes, everybody's old pictures brings out a new memory for me.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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