Categorized | Opinion

Lotta’ Totin’

By Otis Griffin

Otis Griffin poseI was so proud.  I couldn’t believe I finally got to do it.  I had waited all my life and now the wonderful day was here.  The older boys in the small community of Rosemark had warned me that I wouldn’t enjoy my new life changing slowly approaching.  We gully jumpers had schemes of how was it was going to be, regardless of the bad predictions.  Jackie, Herbert, J. W and Herman Ray forecast, “well it’ll be ‘are-right’ for a couple of days, but it won’t be long ’til this will become drudgery.”  They is wrong!
I finally made it to the first grade at Rosemark, but I was too young to understand all the rules and regulations but Momma knew everything.  I liked the good parts such as buying some new clothes as cutoff shorts and barefootsies weren’t allowed in schools.
Many years later on our front porch talks, Momma reminded me how excited I was for weeks.  Supplies included ‘number two lead’ pencils and a writing tablet with the alphabet printed on top of each page.  Can you remember the big capital ‘A’, the small ‘a’ and the wide blue lines?  A small eraser took care of many mistakes occasionally caused by our eight count box of different colored crayons.
With a number of supplies I gonna’ get smart because I’ll have a bunch of readin’ books for some studying every night as Momma warned.  The question came up concerning carrying these materials unless in a to’ (tote) sack?”  The problem was solved on a Saturday shopping excursion to Mr. Harrold’s emporium in Millington.  I was rewarded with a solid dark blue, bright red trimmed book satchel just like the big boys.  This was my own personal, treasured, real pretty book toter.  She said the first few nights I fell asleep arm hugging my new friend.
Neighbor this small suitcase had two leather straps that fit perfect in two buckles that folded the top over so items wouldn’t fall out on the blacktop.  Sewn in front was a small compartment for a green and yellow box of my own personal coloring crayons. The deluxe carrying case had a partition where each book fit perfect or so I initially planned.
Friends, there was enough room for a ‘recess’ snack which usually consisted of melted marshmallows on saltines or maybe cold fried bacon on one of Momma’s famous cathead biscuits. Remember how we would protect our book toter from crumbs as Momma would wrap my morsels in strong crinkly wax paper folded over real, real tight?
However we may have invented world international trade embargos by swapping recess snacks.  Of course maybe a little bartering would flare up and the swap out could entail who got to bat first, play shortstop or possibly be first in the lunch line.
The book satchel was valuable and in a few days additional necessary school supplies casually showed up. Yep, a single or double forked slingshot fit perfectly right beside a ball glove.  A sack of marbles quietly wadded in a corner provided some high powered shooting behind the coal pile.  A two bladed Case allowed for a ‘mumble-peg’ contest!
Can you recollect how there was a long strap that went over your head and rested on your left shoulder?  That prepared us for later pulling a nine foot tar bottom with a boll twisted in the corner down the cotton middles.  The brown handle on the satchel allowed us to hang on tightly in case we might overload.  I’m ready for some learnin’!
The Old Timey Book Satchel Held All Our Books And Many Memories…GLORY!
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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