We lived in Asheville for a short time. We left Asheville while I was very young, just a baby. Our father had worked for the railroad and part-time for the telephone company. Just what the telephone company was like at that time or how far it had advanced I do not know. Anyway they hired my father to go to Alabama with the company. We lived in Cullman for how long I do not know. We went to Roanoke, Virginia, for a few months, sent from there to Birmingham, Alabama. In Birmingham he was put on permanent as a foreman. While in Birmingham my sister Dorothy Lorene was born. We lived with my mother's brother Simmie Butner and his wife, Susie, while in Birmingham. Uncle Simmie had a shoe repair shop. A kind, gentle man, he was really gifted working with leather and also carving wood. I loved the wooden chains he made with marbles cut into them. He died many years ago with TB. He and Aunt Susie are buried at Mt. Hope in Franklin. They had no children.
David Simeon "Simmie" Butner in front of his shoe repair shop, Birmingham, Alabama, about 1914.
The first toy I remember playing with was there. A little neighbor boy about my age, Charles Copeland, and I were playing on the front steps of my uncleís house when one of us (I donít know which) found a silver dollar under the steps. I had an empty spool; so, we put the silver dollar on the spool and made a table. I suppose I got my pattern from the round oak table that my daughter Sara has now. I loved my little invention and kept it in my pocket.
Here I am in 1973 with my grandmother's table, which my mother gave to me when I married. It has served not only as our dining table but as a work table, a games table, and, for nine years, as our youngest two children's homeschool desk. It has been in use in our family for nearly one hundred years.
I remember that a little girl that I played with died. Mama was at the funeral and felt terrible because I had bitten the child and the prints of my teeth were on her cheek Mama said I was the best child and the worst child she had. Figure that out. She said I played so well with my toys and was kind; but if you meddled too much, I would bite like a dog. I was afraid of the street cars. A boy riding his bicycle was struck and killed by a street car. I thought they were monsters.
We wore dresses that were called aprons with pockets on them. Mama made most of our clothes. She did beautiful work. She was a pretty woman, with big brown eyes and lovely auburn hair. I can remember when she was very small and wore about a size 8 dress. Daddy was a nice looking man, and I remember well when he would wear a derby hat. And could he ever buck dance! Iíll never forget that.
My mother's parents, Zebulon Beard Gentry and Goldie Gertrude Butner, shortly after their marriage in 1906. Note Zeb's derby hat.