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Different experiences – 1

March 19, 2013

This is an excerpt from my second book, “Memory Harvest of a Sharecropper’s Son,” which is now available in Amazon Kindle format and in printed format. This story is about some of my different experiences.

Some people have had a variety of life experiences, while others have lived very sedate, quiet lives. Some people lived in one place all of their lives. Others have lived many places. I never felt like my life was different from others until some people told me that my life experiences were more varied than theirs.

I was born a sharecropper’s son. After he had a heart attack, Dad left the farm when I was three. For the next few years, we lived within a block of my grandparents, two sets of great-grandparents and an uncle/aunt and several cousins in a small town. Five houses within a block’s distance were all relatives.

I grew up living in 22 different houses before I left home at age 17. We actually moved 26 times, but four times we moved back to a house we had previously lived in.

I attended school in 13 different school buildings, but changed schools 18 times in 11 years of public schooling. Texas schools changed from an 11-year system to a 12-year system the year after I started. I attended three separate schools in the first grade, but changed schools a total of five times that year. I attended three different schools my senior year.

I began delivering the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper to a customer base of about 100 when I was 11 years old. I spent most summers on the farm working with cousins, chopping cotton or working other crops. In the fall, we picked cotton. By the time I was about eight, Dad sent me to one of his siblings on their farm for much of the summer. I think working alongside my cousins in the fields instilled a work ethic in me that I had the rest of my life.

I obtained my hardship Texas Driving permit when I was 14 because of Mom’s health. Dad was working away from home, so I had to be able to drive to take Mom to the hospital or doctor, if necessary during the last months of her pregnancy with baby sister, Jackie..

My junior year in high school, Dad was overseas. I became the agent for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, morning and Sunday newspaper in a little town about a three hours drive west of Fort Worth. I delivered the morning paper before daylight each morning. My grandfather was assistant postmaster and arranged for me to deliver special delivery letters, which I did before school, during lunch time and after school. I caddied at the local golf course during the summer months. I also worked at night at the local drive-in theater and picked cotton during the fall.

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