Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dominus Vobiscum Et Cum Spiritu Tuo

Click images to enlarge


WARNING:  If you are a  devout Catholic, this story will probably piss you off.  And by devout, I mean you believe the Pope is "infallible" and you don't practice birth control (except for the rhythm method).  If you are Southern Baptist, it will piss you off because you are Southern Baptist and just about everything pisses off Southern Baptists.

"The Lord be with you and with your spirit"...that's the title of this piece in case you don't read Latin.  Most people can read Latin, but there a few in Rockingham County who probably skipped the Latin course in college and instead took some goofy spoken foreign language like French, Spanish, Italian or German.

Of course, if you had attended Catholic church at the right time, you would already know your Latin very well and so much more about the "cult" that is the Catholic church.

Your view of what is a cult is influenced by where you live.  If you live in Rockingham County, you probably believe the world's population of 15 million Southern Baptists means you are the center of the universe.  However, that would overlook the fact that there are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, which kinda means Southern Baptists are the real cult and to suggest the Catholic church is a cult is actually very nearsighted.

I can count the Catholics I know in Rockingham County on my two hands and probably have a couple of fingers left over.  But, I am not in a position to know many Catholics.  I do know you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Southern Baptist in Rockingham County.

During my youth, I was dragged into the Southern Baptist faith, kicking and screaming. The experience left me empty.  It does something to you when you are a 21-year-old college graduate and you are mistaken for a fourth grader and placed in a Sunday school class that was not quite appropriate for my age.

I do have fond memories of attending the annual homecoming at my Grandmother's church...the food served on picnic tables under the oak trees was awesome.  Imagine eating three or four different kinds of fried chicken,  WOW!

I went to the Billy Graham Crusade every night for a week when it came to Reidsville.  Billy Graham never appeared at the Billy Graham Crusade.  I took my Grandmother to the Big Show at the old Reidsville High football stadium.

I've attended maybe three funerals in a Southern Baptist church.  They were quite sad.  I remember breaking into tears when a trio of women sang Amazing Grace at the funeral of a man who was probably the meanest son-of-a-bitch I've ever known.  He was so mean I refused to be one of his poll bearers.  He shot himself in the head.  He was my uncle.

I will never forget the Southern Baptist minister who refused to marry my wife and me.  He thought it was sinful and against the Lord's wishes because my intended bribe was divorced from a man who enjoyed getting liquored up and beat, burned, and raped his wife and, worse yet, I was from a Catholic "cult".  According to the minister, she should have stayed with or gone back to liquor boy.

I must report liquor boy killed himself about a year ago.  He overdosed on his favorite drug which was apparently no longer liquor.  He was much older than my wife.  I expected to be overjoyed at the news, but I really felt nothing.  He is gone, but the memory of him still haunts me.  It is difficult to write about him.  The thought of him is like a hot poker sticking me in the eye every day.

My fiance was in a tizzy while I was in a kick-back and relaxed mood.  After much searching and struggling, she eventually found a Southern Baptist minister who would do the dirty deed.  Of course, no Priest would marry us - there was no point in even asking.

I am happy to report I am not a wife beater, nor a rapist, and I don't burn my wife with lit cigarettes.  I rarely drink anything stronger than water.  I do happen to be part of a Catholic cult.  Despite my shortcomings, we have been married for 42 years this month.


I am getting off the point of my story...for 18-1/2 years I was a member of the Catholic church.  Yes, the same Catholic church that famously burned Giordana Bruno at the stake.  First I attended Leaksville's St. Joseph of the Hills and then later Burlington's Blessed Sacrament.  It was a strange and troubling 18-1/2 years.  It probably left me without a religion.

I walked away from the Catholic faith when I started college and I never returned.  It was kinda hard for my Father to force me to attend Mass when I was 300 miles away and then 1,000 miles away.

That's me standing in front of Blessed Sacrament.  Judging from my size and how neatly dressed I am, I am guessing the photo was made on the occasion of my "confirmation".  I was almost certainly 12-years-old.

I'm not quite sure what a "confirmation" is, but I remember going to "confirmation" classes for about a week.  I re-learned all my "catechism" lessons during the classes.  Catechism lessons are about all the rules of being a Catholic.  I studied the catechism every Sunday for years.  I should know everything about catechism, but sadly I don't.

In confirmation classes, I learned the Bishop would be coming all the way from Raleigh to confirm the class.  We had to learn how to address the Bishop and how to kneel and kiss his ring properly.  I believe his name was Waters.  Bishop Waters gave me a middle name.  Until that point, I never had a middle name until Bishop Waters came along.  It is Joseph in case you're curious.

Mostly catechism is about the types of sin - original, venial, cardinal, mortal.  Hell, I don't remember all the kinds of sin.  It's been a long time.  I know if it felt good, it was probably a sin.

Nuns taught catechism class every week until I reached high school age.  In high school, the Priest took over the classes.  Let me clear up any possible confusion.  I attended public school, not Catholic school.  Catechism classes were generally taught before or after Mass to all the children who didn't go to Catholic school.

I remember if you sinned, you had to confess your sins to the priest on Saturday evening before taking communion on Sunday morning.  Communion meant having a white wafer that was supposedly the actual body of Christ placed on your tongue.  The wafer was not to be chewed, but allowed to dissolve on your tongue.

We were never allowed to have the wine which was supposedly the blood of Christ.  Only the Priest drank the wine.  I never understood that.

Anyway, I must have sinned a lot because I went to confession every Saturday.  I don't remember my sins, so I must have been thoroughly cleansed by the Priest.  I remember making up a lot of sins so I would have something to tell the Priest.

It would have been bad form to go into the confessional booth and say "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.  It has been seven days since my last confession.  These are my sins: I didn't do anything in the last seven days that felt good.  I don't guess I sinned."

I always sinned, even if didn't, and Father Francis K. O'Brien would give me some string of prayers to say as my indulgence.  I would go to the front of the church and kneel and say ten "Hail, Marys" and be done with the ritual for another week.

I should be grateful - at one time in history, you were required to pay the Priest for your indulgences.

Note each "Hail, Mary" was good for "x" number of years parole from Purgatory.  I don't remember how much time a "Hail, Mary" got you out of Purgatory, but it was a pretty good lick.  There was a book where you could look up how much time a "Hail, Mary" was for good for.  I made up enough sin to have been easily paroled from Purgatory for 10,000 years or more.

As you can tell, Purgatory was pretty big to Catholics.  Heaven was a grand place which was never really defined in our Catechism lessons.  Hell was a hot and burning place - very bad, lots of demons.  Purgatory was something in between the two places where just about everybody spent some time before entering Heaven.  I don't recall any burning in Purgatory, but you wanted to get out of Purgatory as quickly as possible to get to Heaven.

A mortal sin sent you to hell.  A venial sin sent you to Purgatory.  Baptism (shortly after birth) erased your original sin.

Here is a list of mortal sins with Latin and English names:

    • luxuria / Lust.
    • gula / Gluttony.
    • avaritia / Greed.
    • acedia / Sloth.
    • ira / Wrath.
    • invidia / Envy.
    • superbia / Pride.

I guess venial sin was everything else not on the above list.  You know what original sin is - damn Adam and Eve.

Looking over the above list tells me I may be in trouble.  I think I can mark off Avaritia and Invidia, but everything else is in my ballpark.

I still have Luxuria for Ilene Sulecki who went to Blessed Sacrament and was a couple of years older than me and attended my high school.  And there was Elizabeth (I forget her last name) who also attended Blessed Sacrament and she turned up at my first college.  Sweet, sweet Catholic girls.  Such Luxuria!

I'm sure I sinned by Luxuriaing after Ilene and Elizabeth, but I often wonder if I sinned by making up sins to tell Father O'Brien.  I still don't know the answer.  I also wonder what the Priest would have done if I had confessed to murdering someone.  It would have blown his mind after hearing my trivial crap for years.

By the way, click here to get another look at a very young Father O'Brien.  In this photo, he is just moving into the priesthood.

The nuns who taught catechism class were strict.  They meant business.  They taught us to stand and say "Good morning, Father O'Brien" whenever he entered our class.  We had to practice the ritual to make sure we were all in synch.  At some point, we were taught to call him "Monsignor O'Brien".  We were never told why his name or title changed or what it meant

Father O'Brien was in another world.  I can never erase from my memory the time I dared ask a question in his Sunday evening catechism class.  The question was about birth control or abortion.  I don't remember which it was, but it was SEX related.

Whatever the question, it threw Father Francis K. O'Brien into a foaming-at-the-mouth rage.  He was holding a Bible in his hand and he threw it across the room to land with a loud thud against the wall.  He must have publicly lectured me for more than five minutes.  Father O'Brien did not appreciate the questioning of the Pope's teachings.  If Father O'Brien was teaching it, then you'd better believe it was coming straight from the Pope's mouth in Rome.

Catholics were never really big on the Bible, even though they had their own version.  Catechism, the Pope, and sin yes, but the Bible, not so much.  We were taught only the most basic Bible stories.

We learned to make the sign of the cross on our chest, head, and shoulders. I know what Rosary beads are, but that's about it.  I was never taught how to say the Rosary prayers, but the nuns are all about the Rosary.  They all packed Rosary beads on their hips.

In my day, Mass was given in Latin.  Stand, kneel, sit, chant in Latin, repeat many times.  We never sang.  I guess singing was forbidden.

We had kneelers in church.  Kneelers were long benches in front of your pew seat you kneeled on at the appropriate time.

I would say about 45 minutes of the hour service was in Latin.  This time includes communion which was offered every day of the week and multiple times on Sunday.  Maybe 15 minutes was devoted to what I much later learned was called the "homily".

The homily was in English.  You knew what Father Francis K. O'Brien was saying.  It was the sermon for the day.

I only remember one homily - Father O'Brien stared down from his lectern at me and castigated me for making paper airplanes out of the church bulletin.  I would amuse myself by making paper airplanes during his homilies.  Evidently, one time I had made the mistake of leaving the evidence behind.  He did not appreciate it.  I don't think my biological father ever realized Father O'Brien was talking about me because he never said a word to me about the paper airplanes.

My older brother says there was incense every Sunday, but I don't think so.  At this point, I should mention my older brother was an altar boy.  He wore the skirt and the blouse, carried a cross, the whole nine yards.  Brother had no idea what he was doing or saying during Mass.  He just went through the motions at the appropriate time.  Brother probably sniffed too much incense.

Unlike my brother, I think incense was only for special occasions - like Holy Days of Obligation.  To begin services, Father O'Brien would march down the center aisle with three altar boys in tow.  He would swing a lantern that was burning and smoking some sort of incense.  I never knew the purpose of the incense show, but it seemed important.

A Holy Day of Obligation was a special day when you were required to attend Mass, no matter what day of the week it was.  Christmas, Easter, Ash Wednesday, The Day After Halloween, Ground Hog Day.  Hell, who knows.  We always were there on Holy Days of Obligation.

I believe the sign in the photo I am standing beside was a relatively new addition at the time.  Just behind the sign is the entrance to Blessed Sacrament.  Inside the front door is a vestibule where you shook the Priest's hand on the way out the door.  I certainly remember shaking Father O'Brien's hand.  The handshake meant the weekly ordeal was over.

Posted on the right-hand wall of the vestibule was a lengthy notice of all the movies you were forbidden to see.  The list came down from on-high.  It was not a locally produced list.  It was updated weekly.  It would have been a much shorter list if it had been a list of movies we were allowed to see.  If it was produced in Hollywood, it was probably verboten.   No one ever said, but I'm guessing seeing a movie on the forbidden list was a mortal sin which would send you hell-bound for sure.

The back half of Blessed Sacrament was classrooms where students attended school during the week.  There may have been ten classrooms.  This is where we heathen kids learned our catechism lessons on Sunday.

The Blessed Sacrament I have described has now been replaced by a shiny new cathedral on the same lot.  The old church is still there but is probably used for storage or a nunnery.

I attended two funerals in the new church for my father and my younger brother.  Both were cremated which was strictly forbidden in my time in the Catholic church.

We were told God would return to earth one day and raise up the dead and one's body needed to be in good working order.  Cremation would spoil the raising of the dead.  It was never explained what would happen to people who rotted away, were mutilated or burned to death or vaporized in a nuclear explosion or why a God who created the universe couldn't put a body back together if it was necessary.

We also cremated our Mother.  We held a home service for her in her den.  There was no church, no priest, only a few friends attended.

We buried all three little boxes with no markers in a special place in the woods on property which at the time was owned by my nephew.  The property has since been sold to a stranger who now has a cemetery in his backyard.  Surprise!

My Father and younger brother remained faithful Catholics throughout their lives.  I'm not sure what my Mother was.  She was reared a Southern Baptist, but attended Catholic church, but never took communion during my time in the church nor was she baptized in the Catholic church nor did she attend catechism classes.  Other than what I have described here, I can't say why Catholicism didn't stick with my older brother and me.

My Father was a serious Catholic to the point of being psychotic about it  I remember a time when he flew into a violent rage because my older brother was in love with a Protestant girl.  He actually ordered my brother to permanently leave our home.  No son of his was going to marry a Protestant.  It was a scary time.  I refer you to the previous paragraph where my Father married a Southern Baptist.  Some things cannot be explained.

This is a photo of my confirmation class.  I am the kid on the upper left-hand side.  I have placed a cross (how appropriate) on my shoulder.  That's Father Francis K. O'Brien at the top in the center.  We are standing on the front porch of the Rectory which is where the kindly Father O'Brien lived. I don't know for sure, but I suppose the nuns (3-4) lived in the same house.

That's all I care to tell you about my Catholic upbringing.  It was a painful experience.  I still must live with it.



Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dominus Vobiscum Et Cum Spiritu Tuo

Click images to enlarge


WARNING:  If you are a  devout Catholic, this story will probably piss you off.  And by devout, I mean you believe the Pope is "infallible" and you don't practice birth control (except for the rhythm method).  If you are Southern Baptist, it will piss you off because you are Southern Baptist and just about everything pisses off Southern Baptists.

"The Lord be with you and with your spirit"...that's the title of this piece in case you don't read Latin.  Most people can read Latin, but there a few in Rockingham County who probably skipped the Latin course in college and instead took some goofy spoken foreign language like French, Spanish, Italian or German.

Of course, if you had attended Catholic church at the right time, you would already know your Latin very well and so much more about the "cult" that is the Catholic church.

Your view of what is a cult is influenced by where you live.  If you live in Rockingham County, you probably believe the world's population of 15 million Southern Baptists means you are the center of the universe.  However, that would overlook the fact that there are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, which kinda means Southern Baptists are the real cult and to suggest the Catholic church is a cult is actually very nearsighted.

I can count the Catholics I know in Rockingham County on my two hands and probably have a couple of fingers left over.  But, I am not in a position to know many Catholics.  I do know you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Southern Baptist in Rockingham County.

During my youth, I was dragged into the Southern Baptist faith, kicking and screaming. The experience left me empty.  It does something to you when you are a 21-year-old college graduate and you are mistaken for a fourth grader and placed in a Sunday school class that was not quite appropriate for my age.

I do have fond memories of attending the annual homecoming at my Grandmother's church...the food served on picnic tables under the oak trees was awesome.  Imagine eating three or four different kinds of fried chicken,  WOW!

I went to the Billy Graham Crusade every night for a week when it came to Reidsville.  Billy Graham never appeared at the Billy Graham Crusade.  I took my Grandmother to the Big Show at the old Reidsville High football stadium.

I've attended maybe three funerals in a Southern Baptist church.  They were quite sad.  I remember breaking into tears when a trio of women sang Amazing Grace at the funeral of a man who was probably the meanest son-of-a-bitch I've ever known.  He was so mean I refused to be one of his poll bearers.  He shot himself in the head.  He was my uncle.

I will never forget the Southern Baptist minister who refused to marry my wife and me.  He thought it was sinful and against the Lord's wishes because my intended bribe was divorced from a man who enjoyed getting liquored up and beat, burned, and raped his wife and, worse yet, I was from a Catholic "cult".  According to the minister, she should have stayed with or gone back to liquor boy.

I must report liquor boy killed himself about a year ago.  He overdosed on his favorite drug which was apparently no longer liquor.  He was much older than my wife.  I expected to be overjoyed at the news, but I really felt nothing.  He is gone, but the memory of him still haunts me.  It is difficult to write about him.  The thought of him is like a hot poker sticking me in the eye every day.

My fiance was in a tizzy while I was in a kick-back and relaxed mood.  After much searching and struggling, she eventually found a Southern Baptist minister who would do the dirty deed.  Of course, no Priest would marry us - there was no point in even asking.

I am happy to report I am not a wife beater, nor a rapist, and I don't burn my wife with lit cigarettes.  I rarely drink anything stronger than water.  I do happen to be part of a Catholic cult.  Despite my shortcomings, we have been married for 42 years this month.


I am getting off the point of my story...for 18-1/2 years I was a member of the Catholic church.  Yes, the same Catholic church that famously burned Giordana Bruno at the stake.  First I attended Leaksville's St. Joseph of the Hills and then later Burlington's Blessed Sacrament.  It was a strange and troubling 18-1/2 years.  It probably left me without a religion.

I walked away from the Catholic faith when I started college and I never returned.  It was kinda hard for my Father to force me to attend Mass when I was 300 miles away and then 1,000 miles away.

That's me standing in front of Blessed Sacrament.  Judging from my size and how neatly dressed I am, I am guessing the photo was made on the occasion of my "confirmation".  I was almost certainly 12-years-old.

I'm not quite sure what a "confirmation" is, but I remember going to "confirmation" classes for about a week.  I re-learned all my "catechism" lessons during the classes.  Catechism lessons are about all the rules of being a Catholic.  I studied the catechism every Sunday for years.  I should know everything about catechism, but sadly I don't.

In confirmation classes, I learned the Bishop would be coming all the way from Raleigh to confirm the class.  We had to learn how to address the Bishop and how to kneel and kiss his ring properly.  I believe his name was Waters.  Bishop Waters gave me a middle name.  Until that point, I never had a middle name until Bishop Waters came along.  It is Joseph in case you're curious.

Mostly catechism is about the types of sin - original, venial, cardinal, mortal.  Hell, I don't remember all the kinds of sin.  It's been a long time.  I know if it felt good, it was probably a sin.

Nuns taught catechism class every week until I reached high school age.  In high school, the Priest took over the classes.  Let me clear up any possible confusion.  I attended public school, not Catholic school.  Catechism classes were generally taught before or after Mass to all the children who didn't go to Catholic school.

I remember if you sinned, you had to confess your sins to the priest on Saturday evening before taking communion on Sunday morning.  Communion meant having a white wafer that was supposedly the actual body of Christ placed on your tongue.  The wafer was not to be chewed, but allowed to dissolve on your tongue.

We were never allowed to have the wine which was supposedly the blood of Christ.  Only the Priest drank the wine.  I never understood that.

Anyway, I must have sinned a lot because I went to confession every Saturday.  I don't remember my sins, so I must have been thoroughly cleansed by the Priest.  I remember making up a lot of sins so I would have something to tell the Priest.

It would have been bad form to go into the confessional booth and say "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.  It has been seven days since my last confession.  These are my sins: I didn't do anything in the last seven days that felt good.  I don't guess I sinned."

I always sinned, even if didn't, and Father Francis K. O'Brien would give me some string of prayers to say as my indulgence.  I would go to the front of the church and kneel and say ten "Hail, Marys" and be done with the ritual for another week.

I should be grateful - at one time in history, you were required to pay the Priest for your indulgences.

Note each "Hail, Mary" was good for "x" number of years parole from Purgatory.  I don't remember how much time a "Hail, Mary" got you out of Purgatory, but it was a pretty good lick.  There was a book where you could look up how much time a "Hail, Mary" was for good for.  I made up enough sin to have been easily paroled from Purgatory for 10,000 years or more.

As you can tell, Purgatory was pretty big to Catholics.  Heaven was a grand place which was never really defined in our Catechism lessons.  Hell was a hot and burning place - very bad, lots of demons.  Purgatory was something in between the two places where just about everybody spent some time before entering Heaven.  I don't recall any burning in Purgatory, but you wanted to get out of Purgatory as quickly as possible to get to Heaven.

A mortal sin sent you to hell.  A venial sin sent you to Purgatory.  Baptism (shortly after birth) erased your original sin.

Here is a list of mortal sins with Latin and English names:

    • luxuria / Lust.
    • gula / Gluttony.
    • avaritia / Greed.
    • acedia / Sloth.
    • ira / Wrath.
    • invidia / Envy.
    • superbia / Pride.

I guess venial sin was everything else not on the above list.  You know what original sin is - damn Adam and Eve.

Looking over the above list tells me I may be in trouble.  I think I can mark off Avaritia and Invidia, but everything else is in my ballpark.

I still have Luxuria for Ilene Sulecki who went to Blessed Sacrament and was a couple of years older than me and attended my high school.  And there was Elizabeth (I forget her last name) who also attended Blessed Sacrament and she turned up at my first college.  Sweet, sweet Catholic girls.  Such Luxuria!

I'm sure I sinned by Luxuriaing after Ilene and Elizabeth, but I often wonder if I sinned by making up sins to tell Father O'Brien.  I still don't know the answer.  I also wonder what the Priest would have done if I had confessed to murdering someone.  It would have blown his mind after hearing my trivial crap for years.

By the way, click here to get another look at a very young Father O'Brien.  In this photo, he is just moving into the priesthood.

The nuns who taught catechism class were strict.  They meant business.  They taught us to stand and say "Good morning, Father O'Brien" whenever he entered our class.  We had to practice the ritual to make sure we were all in synch.  At some point, we were taught to call him "Monsignor O'Brien".  We were never told why his name or title changed or what it meant

Father O'Brien was in another world.  I can never erase from my memory the time I dared ask a question in his Sunday evening catechism class.  The question was about birth control or abortion.  I don't remember which it was, but it was SEX related.

Whatever the question, it threw Father Francis K. O'Brien into a foaming-at-the-mouth rage.  He was holding a Bible in his hand and he threw it across the room to land with a loud thud against the wall.  He must have publicly lectured me for more than five minutes.  Father O'Brien did not appreciate the questioning of the Pope's teachings.  If Father O'Brien was teaching it, then you'd better believe it was coming straight from the Pope's mouth in Rome.

Catholics were never really big on the Bible, even though they had their own version.  Catechism, the Pope, and sin yes, but the Bible, not so much.  We were taught only the most basic Bible stories.

We learned to make the sign of the cross on our chest, head, and shoulders. I know what Rosary beads are, but that's about it.  I was never taught how to say the Rosary prayers, but the nuns are all about the Rosary.  They all packed Rosary beads on their hips.

In my day, Mass was given in Latin.  Stand, kneel, sit, chant in Latin, repeat many times.  We never sang.  I guess singing was forbidden.

We had kneelers in church.  Kneelers were long benches in front of your pew seat you kneeled on at the appropriate time.

I would say about 45 minutes of the hour service was in Latin.  This time includes communion which was offered every day of the week and multiple times on Sunday.  Maybe 15 minutes was devoted to what I much later learned was called the "homily".

The homily was in English.  You knew what Father Francis K. O'Brien was saying.  It was the sermon for the day.

I only remember one homily - Father O'Brien stared down from his lectern at me and castigated me for making paper airplanes out of the church bulletin.  I would amuse myself by making paper airplanes during his homilies.  Evidently, one time I had made the mistake of leaving the evidence behind.  He did not appreciate it.  I don't think my biological father ever realized Father O'Brien was talking about me because he never said a word to me about the paper airplanes.

My older brother says there was incense every Sunday, but I don't think so.  At this point, I should mention my older brother was an altar boy.  He wore the skirt and the blouse, carried a cross, the whole nine yards.  Brother had no idea what he was doing or saying during Mass.  He just went through the motions at the appropriate time.  Brother probably sniffed too much incense.

Unlike my brother, I think incense was only for special occasions - like Holy Days of Obligation.  To begin services, Father O'Brien would march down the center aisle with three altar boys in tow.  He would swing a lantern that was burning and smoking some sort of incense.  I never knew the purpose of the incense show, but it seemed important.

A Holy Day of Obligation was a special day when you were required to attend Mass, no matter what day of the week it was.  Christmas, Easter, Ash Wednesday, The Day After Halloween, Ground Hog Day.  Hell, who knows.  We always were there on Holy Days of Obligation.

I believe the sign in the photo I am standing beside was a relatively new addition at the time.  Just behind the sign is the entrance to Blessed Sacrament.  Inside the front door is a vestibule where you shook the Priest's hand on the way out the door.  I certainly remember shaking Father O'Brien's hand.  The handshake meant the weekly ordeal was over.

Posted on the right-hand wall of the vestibule was a lengthy notice of all the movies you were forbidden to see.  The list came down from on-high.  It was not a locally produced list.  It was updated weekly.  It would have been a much shorter list if it had been a list of movies we were allowed to see.  If it was produced in Hollywood, it was probably verboten.   No one ever said, but I'm guessing seeing a movie on the forbidden list was a mortal sin which would send you hell-bound for sure.

The back half of Blessed Sacrament was classrooms where students attended school during the week.  There may have been ten classrooms.  This is where we heathen kids learned our catechism lessons on Sunday.

The Blessed Sacrament I have described has now been replaced by a shiny new cathedral on the same lot.  The old church is still there but is probably used for storage or a nunnery.

I attended two funerals in the new church for my father and my younger brother.  Both were cremated which was strictly forbidden in my time in the Catholic church.

We were told God would return to earth one day and raise up the dead and one's body needed to be in good working order.  Cremation would spoil the raising of the dead.  It was never explained what would happen to people who rotted away, were mutilated or burned to death or vaporized in a nuclear explosion or why a God who created the universe couldn't put a body back together if it was necessary.

We also cremated our Mother.  We held a home service for her in her den.  There was no church, no priest, only a few friends attended.

We buried all three little boxes with no markers in a special place in the woods on property which at the time was owned by my nephew.  The property has since been sold to a stranger who now has a cemetery in his backyard.  Surprise!

My Father and younger brother remained faithful Catholics throughout their lives.  I'm not sure what my Mother was.  She was reared a Southern Baptist, but attended Catholic church, but never took communion during my time in the church nor was she baptized in the Catholic church nor did she attend catechism classes.  Other than what I have described here, I can't say why Catholicism didn't stick with my older brother and me.

My Father was a serious Catholic to the point of being psychotic about it  I remember a time when he flew into a violent rage because my older brother was in love with a Protestant girl.  He actually ordered my brother to permanently leave our home.  No son of his was going to marry a Protestant.  It was a scary time.  I refer you to the previous paragraph where my Father married a Southern Baptist.  Some things cannot be explained.

This is a photo of my confirmation class.  I am the kid on the upper left-hand side.  I have placed a cross (how appropriate) on my shoulder.  That's Father Francis K. O'Brien at the top in the center.  We are standing on the front porch of the Rectory which is where the kindly Father O'Brien lived. I don't know for sure, but I suppose the nuns (3-4) lived in the same house.

That's all I care to tell you about my Catholic upbringing.  It was a painful experience.  I still must live with it.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Plaid Shorts, Striped Shirt and Bottle Caps



I'm not sure how old I am in this photo.  I was a skinny, scrawny kid, so my age is just a guess.  Maybe I was six, seven, or eight.  I know I was old enough to have moved to Haw River from Reidsville.  The move came when I was four and I am definitely older than four.

Haw River was a paradise compared to life in Reidsville.  Haw River meant flush toilets, electrical outlets everywhere, and light bulbs in every room.  My father's decision to give up the Reidsville farming life and move to Haw River to work at Burlington's Western Electric plant was a wise one.

In Haw River, we even had a telephone and eventually a black and white TV and an air conditioner and a clothes washer and clothesline.  What with the cost of electricity and all, an electric clothes dryer would come much later.

I remember the phone number: 578-0874.  The area code has changed so many times over the years I can't remember it.  It was a wall phone with a rotary dial and a two-foot cord.  The phone was a four-party line.  If you wanted to make a call, you had to wait until your neighbors got off the line before you could dial.  You took the risk of a nosey neighbor picking up and listening to your conversation.

A multi-party line was much cheaper than a private line.  Even though my father was an employee of AT&T and got a discount on his phone bill, we had to save money where we could.  Money was very important to my mother.  Her obsession with money lasted to her death and beyond, but that's a complicated story that I'll save for another day.

Despite all the indulgences in Haw River, we still made the trip back to Reidsville every Sunday to visit my grandparents.  We would leave after 9:00 AM Mass at Blessed Sacrament and drive to Reidsville to spend the day.

At some point in his life, my grandfather, Albert Wall, decided he wanted a taste of the entrepreneurial life.  He didn't give up tobacco farming (that was in his blood), but he decided to buy a country convenience store.

He had one of his two daughters (my aunt Louise Carroll) and her husband and five kids run it, although I believe there were only four kids at the time.  They all lived in the apartment that made up the second floor of the store.  Notice the open window high up on the left in the photo.  That's where the apartment was.

I remember one special visit to the apartment.  Aunt Louise had cooked an opossum in the oven.  Yes, you read that right - an opossum.  I was never sure whether it was meant as a joke or whether it was a real deal meal.  I remember a lot of laughter, but I also remember tasting the opossum.  I think carrots, and maybe potatoes, were involved.

The store sold gasoline - Esso regular and premium.  The pumps are just out of view on the left of the photo.

By the way, how do you like my attire?  Plaid shorts with a striped shirt.  Very cool.  Very hipster.

There was an oil change pit outside.  It was about six feet deep with tracks for a car to drive onto.  It was a bit longer than an automobile and had steps for the mechanic (my uncle Eugene) to enter the pit to drain the oil from underneath the car and make adjustments.

The pit replaced a lift, which I'm sure was very expensive, if even available at the time.

In the store, behind the counter, was a large electric air compressor that would kick on infrequently to refill its red tank with air.  I suppose the compressed air was to fill flat tires.  I doubt there were any tools that operated on compressed air.  Compressed air was free at that time.  These days you have to drop quarters in a slot to inflate your tires.

The entire left-hand side of the store was used as a garage for auto repair.  The right-hand side was the actual store.

I don't recall much "mechanicing" being done in the garage.  I think the garage was eventually filled with a pool table and car repair ended.  Years later a mechanic bought the place, closed the store part, and opened an auto repair shop.

In about a three mile stretch there were five such convenience stores - one of which was across the road from the Carroll-Wall Esso.  Only one of the five is still open today.   One of the five closed when the owner was murdered during a robbery and two closed when the owners died.

 I think the auto repair place that replaced Carroll-Wall Esso has even closed.  I never see anyone there and the large garage door is never opened.  Grocery stores in town and convenient transportation put an end to it all.

I don't ever recall seeing my grandfather at his store.  Never.  I suppose he left it to his daughter and son-in-law to operate it.

I do recall seeing and listening to gossip from the gang of five or six "farmers" who were always at Carroll-Wall Esso.  In the winter time, they huddled around a wood-burning stove.  They sat in metal chairs which today would be called "retro".

They all wore overalls, had few or no teeth, and constantly spit chewing tobacco into a tin cup they kept on the floor by their chairs.

I'm guessing most were full-time alcoholics or were temporarily drunk.  No, I'm not guessing - they were hardcore.

I remember a large "drink box" which was filled with the little original Coke bottles.  This was a time when the little 12-oz. bottles were the only thing available.  They were not nostalgic.  Coke is the only drink I remember, but I'm sure Carroll-Wall Esso had RC Cola and possibly Pepsi and maybe Dr. Pepper.

Notice in the photo on the outside of the store are signs advertising both Pepsi and a glimpse of a Coke sign.  By the front door is a large thermometer which I believe has a Pepsi emblem at the top.

I don't remember any drinks that were not cola-colored - no Mountain Dew, Sprite, or Sierra Mist.  There was possibly 7-Up, but that's just a guess.  There were no energy drinks.

In the center of the store were racks of snacks and candies.  It was a wondrous sight to a kid my age.

Packs of peanuts to pour into your Coke bottle were very popular.  Carroll-Wall Esso is where I learned the exotic technique of putting peanuts into your cola.  It's also where I learned to "cuss" like Cease and Pink who were regulars at Carroll-Wall Esso.

Moon Pies, Honey Buns, and nabs (cheese and peanut butter) were big sellers.  I have a vague memory of ice cream, but I can't picture an ice cream freezer.  Maybe the ice cream is just coming from my imagination.  I don't specifically bread, milk, and sandwich fixin's, but I suppose those were possible.  I know it's the place you went to buy drinks and nabs for folks working in your tobacco fields.

I remember a collection of auto parts hanging on the wall behind the counter - fan belts, cans of oil and such.

I remember Dennis.  He was a little boy about my age who lived nearby.  Dennis and I would play around the store.  Many years later I would meet Dennis again at the American Tobacco Company where his mother and father also worked.  Dennis was a nice guy as both a little boy and as a grown man.

Most of all I remember BOTTLE CAPS.  Tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of BOTTLE CAPS paved the parking lot at Carroll-Wall Esso.  There was no asphalt, just BOTTLE CAPS.  If you squint your eyes and look closely, you possibly see them on the ground in the photo.  From the front door, all the way out to the road was a sea of BOTTLE CAPS.

Despite selling enough sodas to pave the parking lot, aunt Louise and uncle Eugene would give up on the place and move on.   My grandfather sold the store and that was the end of his entrepreneurial life.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Early Elections Indicate Voter Enthusiasm


Municipal early elections have come in.  People are really excited about electing their city leaders.  

From a low of 11 voters on October 22 to a high of 65 on November 3, 360 people crowded the polls over 13 days to register their obvious satisfaction with local leaders.

Early elections results cover the cities of Eden, Reidsville, Madison, Mayodan, Stoneville, and Wentworth.

My sympathies go out to the poll workers who manned the voting booths.  It must have been a very boring experience.

Friday, October 27, 2017

GIBBERISH FROM YOUR PRESIDENT


DONALD TRUMP EXPLAINS SOMETHING IN A SPEECH IN SOUTH CAROLINA IN 2016.
“Look, having nuclear — my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart — you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world — it’s true! — but when you’re a conservative Republican they try — oh, do they do a number — that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune — you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged — but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me — it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are — nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right, who would have thought? — but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners — now it used to be three, now it’s four — but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years — but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.”
THIS GIBBERISH WAS SPOKEN BY THE MAN YOU ELECTED TO SERVE AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

11 Days to Acknowledge Wink Hoover



It took the Reidsville Review 11 days to acknowledge the passing of former Couty Commissioner and School Board member Wink Hoover.  Sad.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dubby kicks robber's ass!


Former County Commissioner and Guru of Rockingham County W.L. "Dubby" Pryor threatens to kick my ass for photographing him at a public event.  Many Rockingham County Commissioners have made the same threat. 

Badass Dubby singlehandedly managed to fight off a pistol-packing robber at his Sweepstakes Depot in Ruffin at 4:30 AM Saturday morning in much the same style as he handled me at the Eden Country Club.

Pryor was picking up his daily haul to take home when he was approached by a man with a pistol.  A struggle ensued, Dubby was struck in the head with the gun, and the cowardly bandit made off with most of the loot after Dubby put up a brave defense. 

There were no witnesses, but Dubby reported the robber was a six-feet tall black man, 190 lbs. and was wearing a black hoodie.

Expect an insurance claim to be filed.

Movin' On Up! (to light bulbs and electrical outlets)




Here is a photo of our new home under construction.  My father did much of the work on the house when he wasn't trying to eek out a living on the tobacco farm owned by my maternal grandfather

Sometime between the age of zero to four years old, my family moved north into the much nicer new home.  I can't say exactly when it happened because I was a very young pup at the time.

I say we moved north, but that's not entirely true.  We moved north exactly 50 yards.  It was not much of a move.  My mom, dad, and brother probably carried everything we owned in just a couple of trips.  One of the three likely carried me in their arms.

But at least we moved out of the log shack that had been my home.  Since I wrote the log shack story, I have learned we had a single light bulb dangling on a wire in one room.  There were no electrical outlets.  If you needed to power up something, you replaced the one bulb with a socket and plugged in.  When you were finished powering whatever needed powering, you replaced the socket with the light bulb.

Running water was also available in only one room - the kitchen.  There was no bathroom.

I'm guessing there was no water heater.

The road in front of our house was sandy clay dirt with a few large gravels.  I remember the state occasionally driving large yellow tanker trucks down the road spraying used motor oil.  The oil was to hold down the dust clouds that followed any vehicle that traveled down the road.  I am confident the state no longer sprays dirt roads with used motor oil.  It was not an environmentally sound practice.

It was seriously rural living, very primitive  - much like Jed Clampett's family before they struck black gold when Jed was huntin' for some food with a musket.

I have also learned my grandparents lived in the log shack before building their new home in the 1920s.  Over the years many tenants on my grandfather's farm also lived in the log shack.



Our new house had multiple light bulbs, electrical outlets, and a water heater.  It was luxury living.

My mother reportedly took credit for designing our new home.  It's a nice, sturdy house for the time, but not something I would take credit for designing.  What you are looking at is the front of the house - notice no door.

Another thing it was missing was a bathroom.  That's right - no bathroom.  It had the same facilities as the log shack.  There was space for a bathroom, but it was never finished.  The blank space had a pot you could use or go to the outhouse near the log shack.

Notice the house in the background.  It was built in the 1920s,  That's where my grandparents lived after moving out of the log shack.  It's also where my wife and I live now.

I am told electric service did not come to anyone's house until around 1940.

It's a long story, but at one point my wife and I moved into the house in the foreground.  Then we moved to Haw River and then Danville and then back into another house a few hundred yards up the road and where we lived when we were first married.  Then we moved into the house in the background.  Like I said, it's a long story with many moves not listed here and I am a bit ashamed of the bizarre nature of our circus-like life.  Maybe I will tell the whole story someday.

I am told my maternal grandfather gave my parents the property where my dad built the new house.  Grandfather Wall also provided all the logs for the lumber and helped finance its construction.

We only stayed in the new house for a few years.  We left the farming life behind.  My father got a job at Western Electric in Burlington, so we moved to Haw River to eliminate the daily commuting.

When I was four years old my parents sold the new house to my grandfather and borrowed money from him to buy a nice middle-class home in Haw River.  I am told my parents bought the Haw River home and 15 acres of land for $11,000.

Haw River is where I lived for 14 years before beginning my college life.  In a short time, my life had gone from living in a log shack with one lightbulb to being a college graduate living nearly 24 hours from home.  My entire life has been strange.



My dad, holding me, stands in front of a log pile.  These logs were milled into the lumber which was used to build our new house.

My brother tells me the logs were cut and milled on another part of my grandfather's farm.  I have always believed the logs were cut from the spot where the house was built.

Whatever the case, nothing explains why my father was so dressed up to stand in front of a log pile.  I have started to believe my father dressed up whenever a camera was present.

Notice dad's log pile hat.  He could pass for a gangster instead of a farmer.



Here my mother holds me while posing with logs for the new house.  Posing with logs seems to have been a Moore specialty photography technique.  I am pleased to know I was always part of the style.


My dad, older brother, and I prepare to load into an unidentified car.  I suspect we were on the way to St. Joseph's of the Hills Catholic Church in Leaksville.  Reidsville's Holy Infant Church did not yet exist.  Leaksville had the sole Catholic enclave in Rockingham County.

I will one day explain how we came to be one of the few Catholic families in Southern Baptist land.  There is a whole story behind our involvement with Catholicism.


Check out these three sporty dudes.  Judging from the background, I believe this photo might have been made in the yard of the log shack rather than at the new house.

I am particularly envious of my older brother's suit.  He was indeed a sharp-dressed dude.  He still is.

Dad looked pretty spiffy too.  Notice the folded handkerchief in his left-hand suit pocket.

I looked pretty good in my white beret and boots.

We were a desperately poor family living in what might be referred to as squalor, but we damn well dressed nicely.


Here's the same shot with my mother holding me.


No suits - apparently, we were caught unprepared for this photo.

The boys are at the new house in the "front yard".  I recognize the "storage house" in the rear.  It still stands and is still used.  It's been painted green and a door and ramp put in to accommodate a riding mower - something we would not own for many, many years after moving to Haw River.

That's my brother's bicycle and my tricycle on the ground.  I doubt I was old enough to ride the tricycle by myself.


It looks like we got off the bicycle and posed on the front steps of the new house.  The "front" door was located on the side of the house and was never used.  We used the "back" door which was indeed logically located on the back of the house.  The back door has since moved to the same side of the house as the front door which is being used quite frequently by the current tenants.


Here I am posing beside my dad's Willys.  Dad was a technical Sargeant in the Army.  He worked on Jeeps.  Jeep made Willys and dad's work experience convinced him Willys was the only car to own.


My mother appears to pass me through a window to my brother.  Notice the window shutters.  The shutters were fake, but an indication that we had moved up the socio-economic ladder when we moved into the new house.  Actually, we had not climbed the ladder. That would come some years later when we moved to Haw River.


I attempt to scale the "front" doorsteps at the new house.


I cling to the fence that isolated the outside basement steps from the hazards of youth.  I have no idea how old I was, but I've obviously grown from the little kid who attempted to climb the "front" steps.


That's my grandmother Wall holding me in what I believe is the yard of our new house.  My grandmother was a good woman.  She would look after me for many, many years, even when I was a grown man.


Here's a modern-day view of our former home.  Notice the asbestos siding has been replaced with vinyl siding.  

The old storage shed can be seen on the right behind a vine-covered utility pole.  It is now painted green.

Six fully-grown beautiful Penn Oak trees now surround the house - three on the property line in the rear, two in the front yard, and one on the side of the house as shown in the photo.

A small addition has been added to the rear of the house.  It's just large enough to hold a freezer and some household items.

This photo was made from our carport (former home of my grandparents and mother).


This is my dad on a mule in front of a cornfield.  Believe it or not, he was born in the city in New Jersey, just across the river from New York City. Despite appearances, his life was not meant for farming.

I am told dad was teased mercilessly by grandpa's family for his lack of farming skills.  Dad's decision to move to Haw River and work for Western Electric changed everyone's life.  I will tell some of that story in later editions.






Friday, October 13, 2017

A LEGEND HAS PASSED ON


I was sure he was immortal.
He was a former Rockingham County School Board member and a County Commissioner.
He once voted to remove the children's book "I Want to Keep My Baby" from the school libraries because the book annoyed an evangelical minister
He once threatened to beat my ass (I forget why) and threatened to sue me when I jokingly told him I had filled out a political questionnaire and signed his name to it.
His daughter was convicted of stealing more than $20,000 from the school system.
He was a terrible Commissioner and School Board member, but the people loved him and he served for decades.
Wink Hoover has died.

Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone




Fifty years ago the Star Trek TV series launched onto our screens.  The series lasted from 1967 through 1969.

I don't remember watching the original series, but I do recall watching the program in syndication many years later.  Every day Star Trek was re-aired we would all rush to the TV room in Albright-Benton dormitory at Western Carolina University to catch the latest episode.

We loved it,  We thought it was a marvelous thing.  Of course, we were all "smoked up", but I'm sure that had nothing to do with our enthusiasm.

Since then I've seen all the original Star Trek movies.  I think there were six of them.  The movies were vastly different from the TV series.  The movies had budgets, but the TV series was produced on a shoestring.

On September 16, 2016 BBCA (the British Broadcasting Corporation of America) began re-running the original series.   For reasons I don't understand, the re-runs began with season 3 and then went on to seasons 1 and 2.  It took about four months for the BBCA to re-broadcast all the original 79 episodes.

I recorded all 79 episodes.

Here we are a full year later and I have to admit I have not watched all the episodes.  I think I have about six episodes from season 2 that have not been watched.

Frankly, I am amazed I've gotten through as many episodes as I have.  Fifty years later the show is awful, regardless of what I've smoked.

The script writing was terrible.  Somebody should vaporize with a Phaser all Star Trek scriptwriters who are still living.

Every episode was a copy of the episode from the previous week - the Enterprise explores a new planet, Dr. McCoy argues with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, and Scotty the Engineer promises to repair the Enterprise's engine in the nick of time.

And the big feature of every episode?....Captain Kirk wins a fight with a space alien and a space babe falls for the charms of Kirk.  Kirk spent more time kicking ass and grabbing ass than Donald Trump.

I don't know if I'll ever get around to watching the last six episodes.  It's too painful.  Watching the final six episodes may have to be my "final frontier".



Friday, September 15, 2017

Does anybody really care?


Will anybody at the Reidsville Review even notice there's a problem?

I doubt it.

Go here to see the mess.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Humble Beginning Home



This is my house.   This is where I was born.  Actually, I was born in Annie Penn Hospital, but this is where I lived for maybe my first couple of years.  My maternal grandfather owned the house for many years.  I don't know if he or his family ever lived in the house.

It's obviously a humble place.  You are looking at the good view.  The other side the house was a total wreck when this photo was made.  I wish I had made a photo of the other side before the house was torn down.

The front part of the house (to the right) was a farm equipment shed that was added many years after the house was abandoned.

The white area on the ground in the photo is snow.

I don't know whether the house had electricity or running water when I lived there.  It certainly had neither by the time I came into possession of it.

I don't know any of the history of the house, other than it's where I lived.  I'm sure my family was not the first occupants of the house.  The house has to be at least 100 years old.

I recall being told a story about my mother cooking a pot of tomatoes in the house and being so enraged at something that my father had (or had not) done that she threw the entire pot of near boiling tomatoes at a wall in the house.  My mother was not an entirely stable woman.

I now regret giving permission for the house to be torn down, except for the front shed part.  It would have eventually fallen down, but it would have stood beyond my lifetime.  I should have let my heirs deal with it.



This is an interesting partial photo of the backside of the house.  It's a double, or possibly a triple exposure.  The woman in the hat, who is my tomato-slinging mother, is not standing in an inflatable swimming pool with my older brother and my paternal grandfather (William Moore) is not mowing the water.  I'm not sure any of the three were even anywhere near the house.

Notice the clothesline in the background.  This is a good indication that there was not an electric dryer in the house.

I like the steps that led out the back of the house.  They give a genuine rural feeling to the premises.  It was indeed a very rural home.

My maternal grandfather lived in a much nicer house not more than 50 yards away.  The nicer house, though not refined, is where I now live.  Yes, that's right...I live only 50 yards from where I was born.

On the surface, it seems I've lived a sheltered life.  I've only moved 50 yards.  But there's been a lot of life crammed into those 50 yards.


This is another shot at the rear of the house.  I assume it was made at the same time as the first photo or my mother never changed clothes.  Either option is a possibility.

When I was in high school, I remember wearing the same pair of rubber boots that she is wearing.  Besides being somewhat unstable when it came to cooking tomatoes, my mother was a very frugal woman.  I can tell you some tales about her frugality that will make you shutter.

I also remember wearing the same pith helmet she is wearing.  I was never told the story of the pith helmet, but I suspect it is associated with the time my father served in the military in India.

The building in the distant background still stands.  It is much larger than it appears in this photo.  It was used by my maternal grandfather to store tobacco that had been dried and other farming odds and ends.

The small building to the right is an outhouse.  There was no bathroom in the shack or in the next house that my family moved into after leaving the shack.    I was too young to care whether we had a bathroom with running water.  Most of the time I just shit in my pants and let someone else worry about it.

I will show you the second house in a later story.

Between my mother and the outhouse, you will see what looks like an abandoned truck.  I would not bet that it was abandoned.  It may have well been our family car.

I am amazed that mother appears to be mowing the lawn with a gasoline-powered mower.  It's definitely an old mower, but a gas-powered mower seems particularly extravagant for my family.

If you've been paying attention, you probably noticed the clothesline has disappeared.  That's either magic or the result of the multiple exposures.

When I was four years old, my father made a decision that would change our lives.  I will tell you about that decision at a later date.

Hopefully, my older brother can contribute something to this story.  I have no memory of living in the shack, but I am sure he does.

I thank the Reidsville.Review for publishing these stories about my family.






Monday, September 4, 2017

Grandpa's Gas Pump




This is my Grandfather's gas pump.  Well, it's actually our gas pump now.  Grandpa passed away in 1969. 

The pump stands beside the driveway that leads to our house.  Spokesmodel Debbie stands a tad over five feet, so I'm guessing the pump is about eight feet tall.

Again I'm guessing, but I'd estimate the pump is 75+ years old.  The farmhouse was built in the 1920s, but I doubt the pump was put in when the house was built.  Grandpa ran the farm on mule-power.  He originally had no need for gasoline.


Here's a close up of the pump nozzle.  It's still  in pretty good shape.


I've removed the nozzle from it's holder on the side of the pump and placed it with the pump handle.

To pump gas from the underground storage tank you pushed the pump handle back and forth and filled the glass container at the top of the pump.

The black rubber-like hose that connects the nozzle to the glass container is also still in good shape.  That has to be some tough-ass hose to have withstood 75 years of weathering.


Because the pump is much older than I am, I'm again guessing the "CONTAINS LEAD" warning was added well after the pump had been installed.  

That's "TETRAETHYL" at the bottom of the warning label.  I have no idea what "TETRAETHYL" is, but I know it was introduced in the 1920s as an aid to engine compression.  

The U.S. government didn't become concerned about lead in gasoline until the 1970s.  I don't remember whether the warning label was on the pump when I was a little boy.

There is another identical warning label on the opposite side of the pump.


I'm going to take another guess with this pipe on the side of the pump.  I believe it was opened to allow air to enter the underground tank as the gasoline was pumped into the glass gas container.  The pipe prevented a vacuum from being created in the underground tank.

I suppose it could have also been used to pump excess gas back into the underground tank.

If you know more than I do about old-fashioned gasoline pumps, please speak up.  I could be wrong.

All I remember is pulling the tractor up to the pump, cranking the handle, filling the glass container, and then draining the gasoline into the tractor.  It was a helluva thrill for a young kid.

Obviously rust has started to attack some parts of the pump.  I'm hoping my son will remove the rust and restore the pump to it's original Pure Oil blue color. 

Some people, who rented the house for a short period of time, painted the pump green.  They also did some really dumb things to the interior of the house.


This is a close-up of the pipe.  That's a lock in my hand to prevent the pipe from being opened to breathe into the underground tank.


This is a view of the glass gas container.  It's numbered from the top down with 1-9, which represents gallons.  I know it filled from the bottom up.  The reverse numbering makes no sense to me.  

 

Debbie has her foot planted beside the steel fill cap to the underground tank.  You can't see it very well, but the fill cap is on a concrete square near the pump.  I have to be careful not to mow over the cap.

I've been offered several thousand dollars for the pump, but so far I've resisted the money.  It's my heritage that keeps the old pump in my front yard.