Back in the 20's the guys in Atlanta would often bring my Sis a box of chocolate candies. She had so much candy that she would bite into a piece and put it back into the box if she didn't like it. The telltale nibbles let me know the pieces I could have without my Sis getting angry. But, that didn't stop me from taking a whole, unbitten, piece when the coast was clear.
Those were the prohibition days, The Roaring Twenties days. In January of 1920, the prohibition of the sale and consumption of alcohol became law. This began an era of bootleggers, speakeasies, moonshine, bathtub gin, and rum-runners. Many people made wine and beer at home. And, prohibition made technical criminals out of many otherwise law-abiding citizens. Dad, being a musician invited many of his entertainment friends to parties in our home. This lead to our making home brew. Often, when I went to the grocery store with my Mom, she'd buy sugar, malt, yeast, etc., and tell everyone she was going to bake. But, I forget how she explained the sacks of bottle caps. Anyhow, when the latest batch was ready, Mom and Dad would siphon the beer into the bottles, and I would place the caps, and then cap the bottles, or else Dad would. A single production run was sixty quarts of beer, which were stored in a closet in the dining room. Once something set off an explosion which made one heck of a noise, and glass and beer was scattered all over the place. Thank goodness, the law wasn't around! Thinking about it, maybe the cause was my not doing a good job of capping the bottles!
When I was nineteen I learned that Rose was my biological mother and that Irene was my stepmother. And, I learned that Irene had a daughter by a previous marriage that was seven years older than me. Her name was Gene, and then she became my stepsister rather than sister.
One can't begin to understand the uncertainty brought about from having two "mothers," and the difficulty of giving each of them equal respect, time, and love. Life was not made easier, and I had to go it alone, basically. Rose was married and had two children; which became my half brother and half sister. Irene moved to Jackson, Kentucky, with Leah, a half sister 10 years younger than I, to live with stepsister Gene, who was married.
Perhaps the reason that this info was finally revealed was due to Dad being killed in an auto accident when he was 43, and I was 18. Some relatives on my Dad's side were the informants. They came forward for whatever were their own reasons.
Georgia to Indiana
In October of 1931, when I was thirteen years old, we moved from Atlanta, Georgia, to Rossville, Indiana. Due to the economy in Atlanta, there were not jobs for musicians. Dad was president of the musicians union, so things were really bad for us.
This was quite a change for me since we moved from a city of about 300,000, to a village of 627. In Indiana, we lived in a farmhouse on the edge of town, with open fields, hills and a stream passing through. I felt like Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn, and I loved the change from the hustle, bustle of Atlanta.
Whereas in Atlanta, there was an abundance of peaches, in Rossville there was an abundance of pears and other fruits. On our property, which we rented, we had pears, peaches, plums, apples, grape arbors, black berries, gooseberries, and in the hills there were black walnuts, beechnuts, hickory and butter nuts, and a fruit called a paw-paw, that tasted a little like a banana.
On Saturdays, my mom and grandmother baked bread, pies, cookies, rolls and cakes, sweets, which were enough for an entire week. Having a large vegetable garden, they also canned the harvests to be stored in the storm cellar.
Rainwater was manually pumped inside in the utility room for washing clothes. Our drinking and cooking water was pumped in from a spring well that was outside the house. We had one of the fanciest outhouses in town, along with an abundance of catalogues to read and use.
I doubt that more than 25% of the townspeople had cars. Bus transportation was used to travel to Lafayette where one could purchase needs not available at the local stores.
Recreation was simple and I could go into detail about that, but I believe that one should have the picture. In the summer, after all the assigned chore chores and paying work details had been completed, we boys would go upstream to the swimming hole where water snakes occasionally would cool off also. We'd cool off by swimming and dive off a fallen tree and then climb a tree and yak all kind of tales, boy stuff. This was recreation for kids that lived in a much simpler time.