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My Remembers

A Black Sharecropper's Recollections of the Depression

Eddie Stimpson, Jr.

Publication Year: 1999

"I grow up a dirt farmer and retired a dirt farmer. Never got rich and didn't want to be. My childhood stomping ground is now concrete, stores and houses. I remember the good times and bad. It was not the money we made but how to stretch that last dime. It was not the wind, rain or snow. It was about the love that flow. It was not the hot sunshine nor the clouds that hung low. It was the grace of God that help us swang that hoe. I want my grandchildren to understand. My grands, your grands and their grands." In 1929, near Plano, Texas, Eddie Stimpson, Jr., weighing 15-1/2 pounds, was born to a 19-year-old father and a 15-year-old mother. The boy, his two sisters and mother all "grew up together," with the father sharecropping along the old Preston Road, the route used by many freedmen trying to escape Texas after the Civil War. His childhood was void of luxuries, but full of country pleasures. The editors have retained the simplicity of Stimpson's folk speech and spelling patterns, allowing the good-natured humility and wisdom of his personality to shine through the narrative. "Tough time never last," he writes, "but tough people all way do." The details of ordinary family life and community survival include descriptions of cooking, farming, gambling, visiting, playing, doctoring, hunting, bootlegging, and picking cotton, as well as going to school, to church, to funerals, to weddings, to Juneteenth celebrations. This book will be of extraordinary value to folklorists, historians, sociologists, and anyone enjoying a good story. "My spelling is bad, my hand writing is bad, and my language is bad," Stimpson writes. "But my remembers is still in tack."

Published by: University of North Texas Press


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pp. i-ii

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

I first became involved with this project in 1990, when I planned to tape oral interviews with Eddie Stimpson, Jr., (known to me as "Sarge") for a sociological study. One of the chapters which I had researched and written...

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pp. xi-xii

It bother me to even think that I could not or would not be able to send out one of the thing that I have built my life upon and that is to be grateful. I wish to send all my thanks to those who have made this book possible by giving...

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pp. xiii-xxii

On September 28, 1929, in Collin County, ten miles from Plano, Texas, Eddie Stimpson, Jr., weighing fifteen and a half pounds, was born to Eddie Stimpson (age nineteen) and Millie Stimpson (age fifteen). The young mother, the...

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Letter to my grands and your grands and there grands

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pp. 1-3

As you read this book, some of you may think it is not fair or rewarding to print such thing in this day and time. Especial when you look at what some minorities have been through. But remember in my case, in the area I spent my growing up days, it was before black children had the oppitunity...

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My Growing Up Days

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pp. 4-16

The best part of my life were my growing up days. I was born in 1929 in Collin County, Texas, in northwest Plano. If you look north of Spring Creek Parkway before the red light at Preston Road, there is some shade trees there. This...

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Changes on the Farm

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pp. 17-20

As we continue life day in and day out, night after night the years creep by us before we even realize where they have gone. So as you read, let your mind drift back to the thirties and forties, and I will attempt to guide you through one of the most dramatic changes of the times...

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Famley Problum

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pp. 21-22

All that have been said and did, what I have talk about was the good and some bad about my family living on the farm.
Thing did not go to well with Mom and Dad. He was a man that like women. And I think it was from the Stimpson genes. It has been said that the Stimpsons...

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A Vision of What Was

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pp. 23-31

The following is some thing that has been ask, just to jot my remember. By the research and question Ive ask, it help me to fill the remember that I had forgot, but if ask I can remember. As I write, in the back of my mind I ponder the thing I remember before I paint...

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Famley Life

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pp. 32-34

Farnley life during my growing up as a share cropper was not an easy life, and to make things comfortable the famley had to be very close such as knowing one anothers problums. You all sit down and ate together. Each member had their own duties to do and if one had a hard...

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Getting a Wife

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pp. 35-39

One day I got to wondering how my mother and dad come to get married. Of course I no the boys and girls was very much acquainted because they all lived nabor to each other. They got to see each other whin they walk those...

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Come on Kids, Lets Eat!

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pp. 40-43

From about the time I was seven years old I've been cooking. During my early years most of your food were garden raised. Pinto beans, onions, cabbage, carrots, potatoes (Irish and sweet), corn (yellow dent and white), tomatoes, radishes, mustard and turnip greens, asparagus, dill, cucumber, and...

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Keep Clean

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pp. 44-45

During my growing up days at school and at home sanatary was taught. In school we had a class period desenated to health. We learn how to brush our teeth and keep our body clean. You all no that most famley kept clean but there were some that did not keep clean nor...

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Sud Busting Day

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pp. 46-49

I remember whin I was five or six we kid had to get up early on certain days. Wash day was one of those days. At night before wash day Mother would take the tub down to the well and fill the tub with water. And whin Dad come in from the field he had to come down the...

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Recration or Play Time

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pp. 50-53

I suppose all kid think of nothing but playing, and my growing up was the same. As I think back on those days I remember there were known games and there were creative games. I think I enjoy playing most whin mother would play with us....

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pp. 54-58

Doctors and medicine was out of the question in my young days. I only went to the doctor two time before I reach the age of eighteen-once whin I was scalded with hot water, and once whin my leg was broke. My home...

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School Day

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pp. 59-64

I were the smart one with the dumb idea.
I don't really know if the kids these day are any diffrent than the days I were growing up. Probly the oppitunity are better now than they were whin I grew up. Studying habits are the same. Parents still have to make...

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After School Trouble

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pp. 65-67

I suppose there is times whin people take thing for granted, even my self, but down through the years I learned that obidiance payoff. Here is some things I have thought about for years and more as I get older and this is what it is. There must be one of the strongest ties in the...

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Hussling for Survival

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pp. 68-74

As far back as I can remember work was part of my famleys every day living. Starting back whin, I was told that my Dad had work all his life. Whin his family move to Plano from the country, he move in with his uncle and family. There he work for room and board. He did as all other...

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Sending Messages without a Phone

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pp. 75-77

Most message as I remember were carried or transport by the boss man or woman of the farm you stay on, and that made every body no what every body no, so it was hard to keep any secret. There were cars, telephone, horse back. The...

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Domestic Animals

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pp. 78-83

Horses, mule, cows, hog, goats, sheep, chicken, turkey, duck, goose, pigeon. There may be many other, but these are the animals I my self is most familiar with. Each animal has a distinction of it own....

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Hunting Wild Animals

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pp. 84-86

Mother would ask which way are you going? Don't go off and stay till dark, and stay out of them thick woods.
This brought up the question of where I was to go hunting. They ask me had I ever been hunting in the wooded bottom west of the Shepton School and Church. I tell...

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Dust Storms and Blue Whislers

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pp. 87-91

Whin the dust storms roared across the north of us in Collin County we were face with another problum. The time would usual be late fall whin the last of the cotton was being scrap pick by the old women and children, while...

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pp. 92-96

One of the most beautiful thing I love about the farming was just about every part of the world I visit during the late forties and fifties, even some part of the world I saw in the sixties, the peoples were still using...

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Fear of Failure

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pp. 97-101

Reader, if you recall, I've told you that we move from Ray Haggard farm to Allen, and after about a year and a half we move back....

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What Kept Us Going

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pp. 102-104

It strange to look back in the past whin work were all sweat and muscles. Every job were strait from the body muscles. Some of the work strain every vein in your body. Even tears roll out of one eyes. I can remember men and women say, She or he work ther poor soul to death....

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Run for Cover

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pp. 105-114

I don't remember the exact way to make home brew, which is a beer. The only ingredients I remember were yeast, mash, and water. Put in a crock and let it set for a number of days before you bottle and cap it. The longer...

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Jack Rabbit

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pp. 115-116

There are diffrent kind of rabbit-cotton tail and swamp rabbit, which is a bit bigger than a cotton tail and live close to the water and wet swamp area, and are very tricky....

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Fill Up on the Holy Spirit

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pp. 117-122

We were taught the Bible at home. Just about every day or night we had time to study the scripture with Mother. My dad did not read. We had to read and learn certain scripture of the Bible and one thing for sure, Bessie Lee...

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Praise God

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pp. 123-124

I think it would be very misleading to compare any religion service of today with a service during my growing up days or those year before my time. I hate to think about people of today that don't realize what a church service, funral...

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Funral Service

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pp. 125-127

While I was growing up I never got to go to but three funral service. That was my grandfather, Miss Charity, and Aunt Emma....

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Troubled Famley Down on the Farm

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pp. 128-130

If you remember I talk about our family problum, especial between my father and my mother. I mention my visit to Sherman to visit my grandmother, Pearl Birks. That my mothers mother. At first it was maby...

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Good Time and Bad Time

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pp. 131-133

If you all way had a bad time you don't no how to appreciate good time, and if you all way had a good time you certain won't be able to handle a bad time. I can remember very well the good whin I was growing up. And...

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A Lonely Mother with the Blues

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pp. 134

It strange what people do and say whin the bad times come. I can remember whin my mother would get depress about no money, not much food, and my dad would not come home till late. She would start reading a while, walking...

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Caring for Your Nabor

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pp. 135-137

It hard to see why people do not look in on ther sick nabor. This day and time I've seen situation where Death in a famley next door to you in the city, and you won't no it....

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pp. 138-145

During my growing up my mother taught us about friends. Even whin a stranger come to your house, treat them as a friend. She would all way say, Never tum down a friend or tum away a stranger. The one you tum away may be one of God angels....

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Bonnie and Clyde

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pp. 146-148

As I look back at the first little house I was born in, I remember it was located down behind trees and along a creek, hid from the outside world. Whin I was about three or four we got word from Ray Haggard that...

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Millie and Ed Diner

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pp. 149-151

Whin I began to write this story, I was thinking and often wonder, Would anyone or any body be interest in what really happen to black famleys during the 1930s whin the Depression and dust bole? I thought my grand...

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Just a Thought

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pp. 152-154

One of the thing people offen over look is yesterday years. If one would only stop to think how did myoId fore father and mother make it. You must remember all this concrete, fine home and shopping mall was once all dirt field, stream...

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Closing letter to my grands and your grands and there grands

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pp. 155-156

Now that you have read my letter I truly hope that you have some light about how your fore family lived. Try to learn some thing from your fore parents lives....

Appendix A: Family Tree

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pp. 157-158

Appendix B: Stimpson and Drake Histories

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pp. 159-162


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pp. 163-167

E-ISBN-13: 9781574414899
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574410679

Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 18 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 1999