Don't talk to me about being poor..... |
1939-1940 ... I can remember back to about then, even before on some things. We lived in a two-room box house on a farm that Dad and Mom worked for a living on the half. Seven acres and a garden spot. No water, no electricity, no heating or air conditioning. Three miles from the next neighbor and school. I was 6 years old about then and had one brother and a sister on the way. My brother and I slept in a side room, or shed, that Dad had built on with some green cottonwood lumber he got from a sawmill down on the creek. It dried out and shrunk, leaving cracks in the wall a cat could come through. When we would lay down at night,we could count the stars. Sometimes we woke up with snow on the floor.
On May 5, about 11 p.m., Mom gave birth to my sister with no one there but the neighbor lady. My brother and I were in our room. A storm was coming, and Dad had gone to get the doctor on foot. Lightning flashed, and we saw Dad wading the creek with the doctor on his back. The doctor had stepped on a nail and had blood poison in his foot. He couldn't walk, so Dad carried him on his back about two miles from where they got stuck in the doctor's Model A Ford. He came in, looked around, checked Mom and the baby out, and Dad carried him back to his car and got him started on the way home. Now there were five of us.
We hung our milk and butter in the well to keep it cool. We went to town sometimes twice a year for sugar, salt, black pepper and flour. Dad cut our hair, and we bathed in a No. 2 washtub, outside in the summer and inside in the winter.
In 1940, I was almost 7 years old when I started to school. Dad cut a tree down and let it fall across the creek so I could walk it when the creek was up. It was not bad because I hunted the creek with my brother and my .22-caliber rifle all year and was at home in the woods.
I remember Dec. 7, 1941. My teacher,Mrs. Nell Aston, went to the blackboard and wrote the date on it. She told us (about 15 kids in the whole school) to remember this date, as it would be in all of our history books. I also remember when we hung bed sheets over our windows at night because we were under a blackout, We were afraid the Japs would bomb our country if they could see our lights -- like they could see a kerosene lamp very far.
You may wonder why I am telling you all of this. I will turn 70 on Nov. 10, 2004. So far, I have not asked our government, state or anybody for help in any way. Nor did my Dad.
My parents raised five children with work and the will to do better. They gave me the backbone and a seventh-grade education, and I took it from there. Today I am the owner and president of my own corporation and not doing badly, if I do say so. So don't talk to about being poor and having nothing.
I had as little chance to make it as anyone. The opportunity is there for anyone who wants to work at it. Nobody is going to give it to you. People shouldn't sit around crying because someone won't give them a living. They need to get up and earn it the hard way. Work for it. Then, you can be proud of yourself, our country can be proud of you, and you can get mad when some one tells you how poor he is.
H.M. Sartain owns and used to operate H&M Tool and Dye company located in Rockwall, Texas. , but is now retired.