A New Boy

My family moved to Gadsden, AL, to an apartment at 1611 Litchfield Ave., after the price of coal fell and Dad had to sell the farm. He owned a strip mine near Altoona, AL, and he was going broke.

J.K Wagner Elementary. Unlike the first school I attended It had indoor plumbing.
J.L. Wagner Elementary. Unlike the first school I attended, when we lived in the country, it had indoor plumbing.

It was just before Christmas, 1951, when we moved into town. I was 9 years old and halfway through the fourth grade. There were just four of us left at home, Brother Dave –everyone called him “Squeak” then — me, my second Mother, and Dad. Brother Pop had turned 17, dropped out of school, joined the Navy and my other brother and three sisters were grown and gone, too.

Pat Stith
Pat Stith

When school resumed in January my Mother told me to follow the kids who lived in the apartments around us to their bus stop and get on the bus with them. Find a boy my size, she said, and get off when he gets off. Follow him into his school, find a teacher, and tell her you’re a new boy.

And that’s what I did.

Coming Friday: Here, Take My Blackjack

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