My grandfather, G.M.C. Massey’s memoirs continue, as edited by my mom into the section she titled “Pappa’s Childhood.”
All our family had had a siege of the mumps and it had skipped me entirely. It hurt me for I wanted to get out of work as I had noticed that whoever had them were excused from their duties. I did not know what to do about it as it seemed that I was left out. But just at this time, one of our neighbors with a couple of girls came over to spend the night, although one of the girls was coming down with the mumps. My mother said that that was all right as all of us had had the mumps but me and I was not afraid of them any more. That night, while we were playing in the yard, I ran this girl down and told her that she just had to give me the mumps, and I held her and kissed her over and over, and then over and over again and again. Then, in about 10 days, I had the mumps and I’ll tell you over and over again that I very well remember that I had the mumps. Yes, I had the mumps.
Before I came down with the mumps, we boys had agreed to save enough eggs for a bog Easter egg roast. To cap the stack, while I was nursing the mumps, there came a March snow and it very well covered up all the showings of spring. While the snow had everything covered up, we were not getting any eggs, and that was just what I wanted. So I remembered that I had about a dozen and a half hidden out for the egg roast. I wrapped up unbeknownst to Mother and went out to that fence corner where I had them buried. I dug up a half dozen of them and brought them in so I could have the eggs that I so much desired. I had a time getting around the fact that I had exposed myself so much for the sake of getting the eggs. However, it was always easy for me to get around Mother, as she was just that way. When she would catch me to whip me for some of my meanness, I could grab her and go to telling her how much I loved her. By kissing her and loving her that way, I could get out of most of the punishment.
About the egg roast, we began early enough that we could get a few along and not create any suspicion. When the day arrived, it was surely a norther as well as Easter. When we got started, we went by another of the community roughs, and they had not saved up any eggs, but one of the boys said that he could get as many as a dozen right away. They did, so we made a break for birds-creek crossing where there was plenty of wood as well as water. We arranged right away for the cooking of the eggs. We had mother’s 3 gallon pot metal kettle and about 6 dozen eggs. We put all of the eggs in that kettle and built up a big fire about the kettle. When they were well done, we teamed all the water out. There was a light sheet of ice on the water and we knew the eggs would soon be cool enough to peel. We began to banter about going in swimming. One would say, I’ll back you out, and of course, nobody would be backed out. I do not yet know what it was in us that caused it, but there was not a one that did not pull off all the clothes that we had on and we swam that creek. One that could not swim had to wade out as far as he could and wade back again. Now let me tell you that we had a big fire burning, and that looked better than the feast did. We were soon getting on our clothes and warming up by the fine fire. You know that there was not a one that was sick from that. We ourselves wondered about it for some time before we would tell it. When we got our clothes on, we started for our feast. We had abundance of salt, black pepper, and biscuits. We were about through when someone found a chicken nearly ready to hatch. That knocked out some of the boys, but not me. If I got one with a chick, I just throwed it away and got me another. We all had all we wanted without the ones that had chickens. That last boy had confessed that he broke up an old setting hen, so most of us just laughed it off and went on and had a good time.
We lived in Yantis till in 1894 when my father sold out the home, and in part payment he took title to 50 acres of unimproved land near Coke. And about as near Pleasant Grove on the other side from Coke. I was old enough that I was trusted with the team to carry a load down there and Father didn’t have to go. After we were moved except the corn, my father traded corn with the man near us that was moving to the place that we had just vacated. I had been moving the corn from his place to ours and got taken in by the girl that was in the other family. I helped them to get moved. I had arrangements made with the girl to ride with me, but the girl told me that I was going to have to ask her father to let her ride with me. That was not trouble for me. It was okay with him so we had a very good time on the way and it was a very full day, too. Time and distance at that age was a consuming fire that burned out when there was no fuel added.
We children had to start to school at a new place to us. All the pupils were new to us, and I never liked it a bit. I was shy and hard to get acquainted with. That caused me to have a lot of fights. Being alone so to speak, I became cowed and discouraged. There was at that school a very overbearing set of boys of my age and above. It seemed to me that a barrier that kept me on the outside. I didn’t ever get myself adjusted to them and their way of life. I was not very well broken off from my old associates in Yantis. I was going back to the old stomping ground for fellowship and association for awhile. Six years later, I went back up to Yantis and secured my first school. Then, one year after that I went back and got my wife. That was the center around which my life was built.