A typical redneck weekend in the sixties was unique. Even though we created a bit of a stir at night, we did have a respect for most everyone around the neighborhood. I’m not talking a subdivision. A neighborhood included several square miles of which were mostly farm and pasture land if it wasn’t enveloped by timberland.
Our neighborhood consisted of a “gang” of several of us white teenagers. I’ll name them. There was my brother Danny, then Dwight Williams, Donald Ray and Danny Lee Johnson (brothers). There was Billy Hardy, A.B. and his brother Levi Hardy. The latter two were brothers. Larry and Tommy Hopkins, brothers as well hung with us. Billy Holiday out on the east end of the neighborhood. There was Hal, or H.D. Walker as he was more commonly called. Charles Fulcher, who had a brother named Ted, who didn’t hang with us. He was friends with Tommy Tunstall. Ray and Fay Cratch and Betty Bell Howerin comes to mind as well. At one time we had another of us named Little Bud Leary, but he moved to Washington at some point. The girls around this neighborhood were Katy and Nellie, H.D.’s sisters, Shirley and Brenda Hopkins. Sue and Vickie Cayton, sisters of which I was a steady to the latter. There were others like Gloria Cayton, Diane Tunstall, Bob Cayton. Dickie Walker, Terry and Jimmy Jones. Taffy and Bootsie Hollowell didn’t normally hang with us, but when there was a 4H Club we attended the meeting together. The 4H club usually met at Avonne and Yvonne Walker’s home in the Backwoods. They had a younger sister named Patty Jo. There was also some cousins of mine Linda and Jo Hodges. Al Stilley would congregate with us on occasion from the Edward area. I believe Donald Lewis lived in our neighborhood, but he hung more with Johnny Barnes, Harold Lewis and perhaps Gary Lewis.
I have no intention of leaving anyone out. If you read this and ask what’s wrong with my memory to forget someone don’t fret. Comment on this and I’ll add you. Back in the sixties Small was a bigger place. At least with teens, near teens and older teens.
During those years we rough housed, pulled pranks, ran loud motorcycles and cars, drag raced, played follow the leader at night in our rattle trap cars.
We lost some of our friends during those times due to our need for speed or teenage judgments.
Charles Fulcher died not long after I left for the Army in a car wreck. I understand he was killed when the car he was in hit a bridge rail. Donald Ray was in the car with him, but he was okay. Terry Jones died in a high speed single car wreck after being out all night. Dickie Walker barely survived having to undergo several hours of surgery.
Charles’ mother died in a fire in Aurora at the local Esso Station when the guy delivering gasoline to the station let the underground tank overflow and it ran into the office where she worked. She and Curtis Potter were smokers and a lit cigarette ignited the gasoline and they burned to death. That was a big tragedy. That’s the story as best I know. If you know more or different, please say so.
Our core group of guys would occasionally get together with the black teens in the neighborhood and rough house and do stuff together. Pit or Pik (don’t remember which) Grimes had his own harem of women with enough off-spring to comprise a small army of black teens. We didn’t do a lot together, though, since the KKK was a big thing back then as Civil Rights was coming into the scene. The last year of school segregation was 1968. That’s when the black school, S.W. Snowden and the white school Aurora High School consolidated in 1969 after three years previously as freedom of choice where you could choose which school you could go to.
A Friday night would find most of us core members meeting at Tiny Walker’s store. She was Hobert Walker’s wife. Most of us core guys worked for Hobert in tobacco if our parents didn’t use us on our individual farms. A lot of our tobacco money that didn’t go to school clothes was spent hoopin’ n hollerin’ out at her place. We also had found an old two story house down what is now called Rowe Road not far from the West Road. We were told we could have power put to it as long as we paid the bill, so it became our club house. Danny, Dwight and myself had formed a trio with guitars and drums and we’d play there or at some garage party like Shirley Hopkins home. I perfected playing Wipeout and wore out doing so. It’s pretty much how I learned to play by simply doing.
Saturday nights were pretty much the same. A.B. and Levi’s dad Audrey built a building out behind their house next door to our clubhouse and he put a pool table in there. We’d spend time over there as well shooting pool and playing music. A.B. and Levi had motorcycles. Back then they started with Honda 150’s and then 175’s. Me? I had a sewing machine Honda. All of 90cc’s. Bought it from Gloria Cayton’s dad, Ward, since her brother Ward Jr. wouldn’t ride it much. We’d take the mufflers off and ride those bikes after midnight and wake the neighborhood up. We were hard at it one night when someone came out of their house and fired a shotgun into the air. We went back to the club house and hid away for the rest of the night.
There is actually too much to tell in one story. But this one I will share. We used to go down the West Road to where an old dilapidated building was and pull boards from it. We’d light a fire out of it in the middle of the road. One night we lit a fire and off in the distance back towards Hwy 306 we saw the Sheriff with lights on coming our way. We all jumped into my truck and we took off. I thought I had everyone till we got way on down the road. When I finally stopped someone said we forgot a couple of the guys.
When the coast had cleared we went back and found them. The had jumped into the canal that ran along side the road and clung to the grass to keep from going into neck deep water and snakes. The Sheriff and Deputy pulled up to the still burning fire in the middle of the road, got out and extinguished it, all the while vowing to catch us in the act and punish us in some form or other I will not mention.
This is just an introduction to “The Gang” and redneck weekends. When I started writing I didn’t know where to take this. Now I have too many things to tell, so I’ll have to make it in installments.
Ya’ll come on and let’s go to Small and do stuff. It’s the weekend!